This weekend, April 13, there’s a walk happening here in Austin to raise money to fight arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the U.S. There are 100 different types of arthritis and it impacts people of all ages. These issues are wide ranging, meaning there’s a lot of different ways you could be impacted because arthritis isn’t just about your joints. Depending on which type you have, you can have pain in your hips, knees, ankles, even spine. Some of those affected have to give up certain physical activities, others even have trouble getting out of bed and many face misunderstandings about what they are dealing with.
Joe Kelly is a seven year old who likes to spend time outside with his friends, but running around hasn’t always been easy. Joe was around four years old when his parents noticed something going on with his leg. After several trips to many doctors, his parents found out he had juvenile arthritis. It came on pretty quickly and his parents were pretty surprised to learn that even kids to get arthritis. His parents though, don’t hold him back from living life like a normal kid. Since he has a hard time riding a normal bike, he competitively dirt bikes, determined not to let arthritis slow him down! The Kelly’s aren’t the only ones impacted by arthritis.
Kevin Bozic, MD, orthopedic surgeon and Executive Director of UT Health Austin’s Musculoskeletal Institute explains that one myth people often believe is that only older more frail people are affected by arthritis. When really, it’s becoming much more common in younger, more active people. Dr. Bozic has actually dealt with arthritis in his knee himself. He explains that arthritis simply means degradation and deterioration of the cartilage in the joint which can affect people of all ages.
Anne Marie McComb and both of her siblings have rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that first presented symptoms by affecting her skin. She says that a lot of people tend to be surprised that someone her age, 25, has it. She’s had procedures, and takes medication to help, just like Joe. She is an adult advocate for arthritis and wants to spread awareness that it can affect just about anyone.
The Arthritis Foundation of Central Texas will be hosting the annual Walk to Cure Arthritis this weekend, Saturday April 13 at Concordia University in effort to raise money to find a cure for everyone impacted by this disease. If you are interested in joining the walk or donating to help find a cure, click here for more information.