Economic impact of arthritis estimated to be $33 billion annually
TORONTO, June 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Siena Pacheco is five years old, and enjoys swimming and riding her bike. Sheila Stone has a few years on Siena, but she also enjoys swimming and cycling, and the kindergarten teacher insists she still has the spirit of a five-year-old.
The two share one other thing in common: they both have arthritis.
Siena, Sheila and close to 8,000 other Canadians turned out today in 30 communities across Canada to raise funds for The Arthritis Society in the 4th Annual Walk to Fight Arthritis presented by the makers of TYLENOL®.
Today's Walk saw participants from Paradise, NL to Victoria, BC raise almost $1.7 million to fund breakthroughs in arthritis research, as well as providing innovative education and services to help the over 4.6 million Canadians already living with arthritis. Over the past four years, the Walk has raised $5.6 million to support The Arthritis Society's mission.
Contributions are still being accepted at www.walktofightarthritis.ca.
Janet Yale, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society lauded the dedication of the many participants and volunteers who made the event possible. "We're walking today to highlight the importance of movement in helping to manage arthritis. Using the same drive, commitment and generosity on display across the country today, I know we can change lives today while creating hope for a future free from arthritis."
Little Siena, who was just three years old when she was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), takes an advanced form of medication called a "biologic" to help control the pain and inflammation of her arthritis. Siena was joined at the Toronto walk with her father Pablo, her mother Maria Perez, and her siblings Bianca and Cristian. "It's given back her childhood," explains Maria. "We had to get involved to show our support for the work of the Society, and so we can look forward to a day in Siena's lifetime when nobody - adult or child - has to live with arthritis."
Stone lived with severe osteoarthritis in her knees for a decade before it became so bad that she could no longer walk up and down the stairs. A double knee replacement and extensive physiotherapy has given back her mobility and her enthusiasm for life. She gives back by volunteering her time with the Society to help put on the Walk: "When you've come through it yourself and seen first-hand the difference that the Society's support makes for so many people struggling with this disease, you realize you have to do your part."
Arthritis is estimated to cost $33 billion annually to the Canadian economy according to a report from the Arthritis Alliance of Canada.
ABOUT THE ARTHRITIS SOCIETY
The Arthritis Society is dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis. It is Canada's principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis and their loved ones. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non-government funder of arthritis research in Canada by investing more than $180 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. For more information, visit www.arthritis.ca.
Image with caption: "Thousands across Canada took part in today's Walk to Fight Arthritis, raising funds for research, education and programs to help people live well with arthritis. (CNW Group/Arthritis Society)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130609_C6601_PHOTO_EN_27796.jpg
SOURCE: Arthritis Society
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