This week is Arthritis Care Awareness Week so Jane Spence, Media Relations Manager at Arthritis Care, has written aguest blog. This should give Sarah’s followers a better understanding of her motivations for the row and the invaluable work the charity do in order to improve the lives of people with the disease.
Today is the beginning of Arthritis Care Awareness Week across the UK – but, half a world away, Arthritis Care Awareness Week is also making waves in the Indian Ocean where Sarah is carrying our message down under! As Dippers plunges onwards and the rollers slosh over the Arthritis Care logo proudly emblazoned on the boat, everyone here at Arthritis Care is a stowaway in spirit, delighted that Sarah’s epic coincides with Arthritis Care Awareness Week.
As Sarah explains in her latest Podcast, she picked us as her charity because she grew up alongside rheumatoid arthritis. Whilst everyone’s favourite mariner didn’t have the painful and disabling condition herself, her late father Derek grappled with the disease for most of Sarah’s young life. She explains:
“I have dedicated my row to the memory of my Dad, Derek Outen. He died very suddenly and unexpectedly in 2006 having suffered appalling ill health due to rheumatoid arthritis for nearly 20 years. It is a horrible, devastating disease and affects folk of all ages, in various manifestations. Anyone that has seen a relative suffering chronic pain and illness knows the draining, sickening, gut wrenching feeling of seeing someone they love degenerating, weakened by a seemingly unstoppable force”.
So that’s why Sarah’s supporting Arthritis Care – because this organisation exists solely to speak up for and support people like Derek as they work to prevent arthritis taking over their lives. Knowledge is power and Arthritis Care is here to offer the information, training, and support many people with arthritis need to come to terms with their diagnosis, to understand their condition, to manage it better, and to work with their doctors, nurses and physios in living life as fully and actively as possible. That’s why this year’s Arthritis Care Awareness Week message is ‘Take control of pain’ because, as anyone with arthritis knows, doing this can help reclaim great tracts of your life. One of the things we’ll be doing for Arthritis Care Awareness Week is offering our free ‘Challenging Pain’ course around the UK.
Pain, fatigue, mobility problems, and isolation are four major consequences of arthritis – a blanket term for some 200 conditions which involve inflammation of joints, tendons, or ligaments, often leading to irreversible joint damage. Around nine million people in the UK have arthritis, and it’s the country’s biggest single cause of physical disability. Including the family and loved ones involved in the vicious circle of physical and psychological effects, arthritis actually affects about 35 million people.
Such a common condition remains misunderstood by the general public. Most of us think that arthritis is nothing more than wear-and-tear associated with ageing. But it can affect babies, children, teens, as well as young men and women. In severe cases, it can kill if not properly treated. Thankfully, most forms are can be helped by drugs, surgery, and physiotherapy – or even by lifestyle changes like shedding excess weight or taking suitable exercise to strengthen muscles around damaged joints. We don’t know what causes arthritis, and there’s still no cure, but there’s always something you can do to soften its impact.
That’s where Arthritis Care comes in. Arthritis Care is the UK’s largest organisation working with and for people who have any form of the disease. A one-stop-shop for all your arthritis needs, Arthritis Care is proudly ‘user led’, meaning people with arthritis form our membership, are involved in all of our activities, and direct what we do.
We help people to help themselves – and we’ve been doing it since 1947, before there was an NHS, so we know something about it. We provide services like free Helplines, free-to-user courses like Challenging Pain where people can learn to ‘live smarter’ with arthritis and be more confident in managing their condition when the surgery door is closed.
So that’s what we do and why we do it. Sarah is supporting us in a journey where pain, sleeplessness, fatigue and isolation comprise a fitting metaphor for life with arthritis where a positive attitude, the right support and training, and a determination to challenge is at the heart of the Arthritis Care message.
As Sarah says, please help her to help us by visiting her Justgiving page and….. just giving! And spread the message to anyone you know with arthritis that we’re here for them – call the free UK helpline on 0808 800 4050 or visit the website www.arthritiscare.org.uk for information or free forums.