November 4, 2017

When I was diagnosed with PsA in 2014, I had no idea what I was going to do. At this point, my first therapy, plaquenil, failed and I was looking at the possibility of subcutaneous methotrexate. I was so scared of giving myself injections and cried so much every time I had to do it. But, I learned and quickly fell into a routine with my medications.

By the summer, I wanted to help others go their journey and meet people that shared a similar story to mine. I got in contact with the local Arthritis Foundation and they put me in touch with a new hire in my area. We met about a month later and, I knew right away that this girl would be a good friend and so much fun to work with! I loved her energy and her knowledge of AF! My first task was working the Jingle Bell Run. It was a lot of work and so much fun. I was instantly hooked.
The following year, I chaired JBR and the next year, I chaired the Bone Bash. Both events were a LOT of work but it was rewarding work. I was not only having too much fun and working with a now very close friend but, I was helping to find a cure for arthritis. AF had given me a meaning at what was a very difficult and challenging time in my life.
The year I chaired the JBR, I meet our youth honoree. She is a beautiful girl with golden curls and a bright smile. She and I talked about her medication and how it hurts her tummy (metho). What struck me is that even though she was on medication that most adults couldn’t tolerate, she still wanted to be a kid and play with the dogs and other kids. I knew that no matter how tiring the events can be, I had to continue to fight. The fight wasn’t about me anymore, it was bigger than that.
Last year, I took a small part time job at a local art gallery. The building is beautiful and in a revitalized part of downtown. It is exciting and fun to work there. I took the job, in addition to helping my father’s company, to help supplement my health insurance. However, a few weeks ago, my friend at the Arthritis Foundation told me about a part-time job in the area. It would be talking to doctors and JIA families, about the mission of the organization and what services we offer. I interviewed with a lovely woman and found out that I had been selected for the job!
Today is my last day at the art gallery. I am forever grateful to the beautiful and wonderful people that I have worked with. I met so many amazing people and learned so much! This isn’t goodbye but, see you soon!  However, I am leaving to pursue a fire that has been burning for me since 2014. When I get tired, all I have to remember is the JBR youth honoree and I am renewed. The Arthritis Foundation has given me so much and now, it is my turn to help give back. I am grateful to everyone that has lead me to this path. There is so much excitement to enter into a new journey! To all of those that are struggling in their diagnosis, medications, disease management and daily struggles, know that there are those out there fighting to help.
Lots of health and love.
~A