Calgary Health Foundation

Celebrate Arthritis Awareness Month

For the past 42 years Karen has faced questions such as: Will I meet my friends for coffee today or need help buttoning my shirt? Will I be able to walk or will the pain be too much to get out of bed?  Will it be worse today than yesterday? 

From the age of three Karen has lived with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the joints and leaves a detrimental effect on the rest of the body. Throughout her childhood she watched her classmates play sports and participate in gym class from the bench, often on crutches or in a wheelchair.  By age 16 she had severe deformation of her joints. Although only 45 years old, Karen has suffered through a total of 50 surgeries, many to fuse her joints together. 

Karen has a team of specialized surgeons and clinicians that work together. She credits them with improving her quality of life.  "Despite what I have faced, I have a pretty rich life with kind and beautiful people in it," she says. "I shouldn't be able to walk, but I can," she explains.

With over 100 types of arthritis, all affecting the mind and body, it is a disease that does not discriminate. You likely know someone affected by arthritis or maybe even have it yourself. It affects young and old from all walks of life. Currently there is no cure.

But, we are privileged in Calgary because there is incredible research being done in prevention and early detection.  We can now use specialized equipment to analyze a drop of blood and detect early predictors of arthritis and rheumatologic disorders.  With early detection and treatment, there is more that can be done to lessen the long term effects of the disease, including reducing the number of total hip and knee replacements needing to be done.

This technology is available thanks to the generous support of donors like you.