BENEFITING: Arthritis Foundation
ORGANIZER: Arthritis Foundation
On April 1, 2004 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Despite no family history of arthritis, I had the disease in every joint of my body. Following the diagnosis, it was an arduous process to find the right combination of medicine to settle the arthritis and minimize my pain. Two years later, after finally finding a medication that worked, it was taken off the market. I was now in the 6th grade, unable to walk in the morning, unable to do my hair, and unable to be kid. I started every Tuesday and Thursday with my mom carrying me to the car to go to physical therapy where I was wrapped in heating blanket. After trial and error with different medications (and methods of tricking me into taking pills), including accidentally cooking the medicine in waffles, I overcame my fear of needles and started on Enbrel.
On Enbrel I was able to start playing sports again. I picked up tennis in 8th grade and lacrosse in 9th grace and eventually made both high school varsity teams. Despite my mildly successful high school athletic career I was never much of a runner. I was last to finish the team runs and dreaded the timed miles. Because of my arthritis, I didn’t grow up running around like other kids and always used that as my excuse of why I was not a good runner.
One day during my sophomore year in college, when I had a lot of time to kill, I decided to go on a run/walk. I mainly just wanted to be outside to get tan but figured an added workout couldn’t hurt. That day I surprised myself and “jogged” 4 miles. I thought to myself, “If I can run 4 miles I wonder if I can run 4.5 miles.” This patterned continued until I ran 6 miles. On a whim, I signed up for my first half marathon. I had never run more than 6 miles in my life, but knew I had the determination and grit to train. In October 2014, I completed my first half marathon with my mom, brother, and friend.
Since then I’ve completed a total of 6 half marathons. Arthritis is a crippling disease that leaves most people unable to walk pain-free let alone run. I feel extremely fortunate to have a family who provides the medical and emotional support I need to continue to beat arthritis and push the limits of what doctors told me would be too difficult for someone in my position. I hope to inspire not just people with arthritis, but anyone who feels like they aren’t a born runner.
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it”
About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Arthritis Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The needs of families living with juvenile arthritis (JA) are unique and urgent. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 children have JA or other rheumatic conditions. Multiply that by their parents, siblings, extended family and others, and the number of people affected is astronomical. For almost seven decades, the Arthritis Foundation has upheld our unwavering promise to assist them and their caregivers. We’re boldly leading the JA fight, ensuring easy access to life-changing resources, community and care.