BENEFITING: Arthritis Foundation
ORGANIZER: Arthritis Foundation
I was never someone who thought about limitations; it is not until you are faced with them that you begin to discover what you are capable of. Seven years ago I was faced with a challenge that would become the most driving force of positive change in my life.
In 2010 while at work, I bent down to pick up a paper and heard my knee “pop”. Throughout the course of the week my knee began hurting and I was unable to bend it due to the swelling. I went to see the doctor who confirmed I had torn my meniscus. After routine arthroscopic surgery, the doctor gave me surprising news. He detected arthritis in my knee. He felt it would not be problematic and I began physical therapy. During my rehabilitation, the therapist became alarmed at my knee’s regression. After merely a week, my other knee, ankles, wrists, and fingers started to swell. Eventually my hips and jaw began locking up. Simple tasks like getting out of bed, getting dressed, and even eating I found excruciating. The amount of pain I was in was tremendous, and I remember thinking “Why is my body turning on me at 23 years old?” I went to an emergency Rheumatologist appointment after which I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto-immune disease in which trauma, like a surgery, can trigger the immune system to begin attacking the joints causing them to swell. My first course of intervention was an aggressive regiment similar to chemotherapy. After one year of treatment, two medications, and a multitude of terrible side effects I started to feel some relief.
Four years later life was seemingly back to normal. I began dating a running enthusiast named Matt. Matt would often share his race stories, but the world of running was foreign to me. At one point, Matt suggested running a 5K together. For those who live with Rheumatoid Arthritis, exercise is recommended to keep joint inflammation down. Completing that first 5K was like crossing into a new beginning. Legs I felt betrayed by years earlier were now taking me on a journey. In one year’s time that 5K turned into a Half Marathon, and within two years I crossed the finish line of a Full Marathon. Each sore muscle was a celebration of the strength I continue to build.
Today my Rheumatoid Arthritis is in remission. Through running, I found both physical and mental perseverance that pushed me through doubt and discomfort and took me to a place of resilience. I am living proof there is life after Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I was recently accepted to run on the 2017 Arthritis Foundation’s New York City Marathon Team; I have committed to raising $3,000 to help others conquer arthritis, but I need your help. For those who donate, I will be printing your name on the back of my race-day shirt in appreciation of you having my back!
Thank you for your generosity. I will see you November 5th as I race through the streets of New York City!