Thursday, April 14, 2011

April Is Spondylitis Awareness Month!!

I realized that we're half way through April and I haven't officially celebrated "Spondylitis Awareness Month!" That's right, there's a whole month devoted to spreading awareness about this disease that affects more than 2.4 million people in the United States; a figure that more than the populations of San Francisco, Detroit, and Boston combined! It's also important to note that May 7, 2011 is World AS Day! Click here to see the Spondylitis Association of America's (SAA) press release about these initiatives, including some awesome videos and a unique way to get involved.

Although this is a special month for the Spondylitis community, I try to use Loving With Chronic Illness to spread awareness, offer information to arthritis patients and their loved ones, and celebrate people living with chronic illness. If there is something more that I could be doing or something you'd like to see here, please feel free to offer your input! Help me make this blog stronger!
To kick things off, I'd like to share an amazing new website designed specifically for kids with Juvenile Arthritis...

This website is called Kids Get Arthritis Too. When I was diagnosed at age 15, the news was not only upsetting and confusing, but I felt like the odd man out. This site aims to connect young people going through similar experiences and highlight inspiring stories. To top it off, the site is divided into 3 categories: Kids (ages 6-9), Tweens (ages 10-13), and Teens (ages 14-18).

I'd also like to point you back to some previous posts relating to Spondylitis (my personal story, volunteer opportunities, fundraising initiatives, etc)...

"The Beginning" (March 15, 2010)
This was my very first blog post where I introduced my story and the events leading up to my diagnosis (which took nearly 10 years to receive).

I wrote this post right around this time last year. It includes some great videos created by Spondylitis patients a list of ways to help raise awareness and/or money for  the Spondylitis Association of America. Please look it over and consider contributing in your own way - no amount is too small!

Read about SAA's campaign aimed at spreading awareness and reaching thousands of undiagnosed sufferers (on 400+ Television stations and even here in the middle of Times Square!). A central element of this campaign is this comprehensive and free questionnaire developed by physicians to help uncover undiagnosed cases of Spondylitis. It's quick, simple and requires no personal information.

The next two posts are about two amazing women in my life who are living with Spondylitis...

(January 15, 2011)
This post talked about an important survey created by SAA. The information collected will be used by medical professionals as they work toward understanding this complex disease and developing a cure. It takes 10 minutes tops to fill out. 

Walking For Arthritis & For Myself (January 27, 2011)
In this post I announced that on May 15, 2011 I'd be participating in a 5K Arthritis Walk to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. This day is fast approaching, so any donation at all goes a long way in showing your support for me and my awesome team ("The NYC Sick Chick Club"). I want to thank everyone who has already donated to my personal page! I'll be walking with you all in mind. 

Read about a children's book created by a phenomenal father-daughter team! They are donating the proceeds to these various non-profit organizations - the Spondylitis Association of America being one of them! Click HERE to visit the Henri & the Bee's official website.

 I'll end today's post with 101 Interesting Facts About Arthritis, including:

1 in 5 adults living in the United States reports having doctor-diagnosed arthritis

* There are over 100 different types of arthritis, each differing widely in progression, cause, symptoms and method of treatment.  The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, affecting an estimated 21 million people.

*Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among Americans over age 15.

More than half of those affected with arthritis are under the age of 65.

Arthritis affects animals, too.  One in every five adult dogs in the United States has arthritis.

Thanks for reading!


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