These past few weeks have been a whirlwind for me with moving to Baltimore, deep-diving right into a wonderful new position, with new friends and co-workers, and in my personal life, welcoming an adorable nephew into the world 7 weeks early. With all of the new things that life has thrown at me lately, the most prominent of them all is the people I have encountered with fight in them. Now I’m not talking about a bad kind of fight. I’m talking about the fight for a cause that puts a passion fire in you, that drives you to fight hard for what you believe in and for ……a cure and awareness. In this case, that passion fire I’m referring to just happens to be arthritis. And not just rheumatoid arthritis either-the over 100 different kinds of arthritis in kids and adults alike.
I am a workout nut, so anyone who takes their passion fire and fight to the world of exercise and moving, gets a bit of excitement going out of me. David Shuey and Patrick McGlade are two people, who after hearing their fighting stories, literally, left me speechless. Last year, David, who lost his mother to the crippling effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis, celebrated is 60th birthday-and it wasn’t with a big party! David decided to take his fight to the road, from one coast to another-4,005 miles-, on a bike and finish the trek on his 60th! David has osteo-arthritis and spinal stenosis, so he knows the effect arthritis can have on the body, but I can only imagine that the pace of the road, his passion for spreading awareness about the number 1 disabling disease in America and the thought of his mother in the back of his mind, kept him going across the many miles.
Patrick McGlade also took his fight and passion fire to the road and is currently still battling it out, but he took another route-by foot. Patrick is currently in the middle of a running a marathon a day to spread awareness for Juvenile Arthritis. He started out in Huntingdon Beach, CA on January 2 and is scheduled to complete his journey on April 23 in Tybee Island, Georgia. Along the way, he has stopped at many schools to teach the kids about Juvenile Arthritis and spread awareness about arthritis.
It’s pretty amazing what David and Patrick are accomplishing by spreading the word about arthritis and just to take their fight across the US, hopefully pulling more people to the fight with their passions. Sometimes it’s not easy to take a stand for your passions. And sometimes, fights like arthritis that cost the economy billions of dollars are uncomfortable for people who are not surrounded by it everyday of their lives to hear about and talk about-but the uncomfortable stories of fight, hope and struggle are the stories that people need to hear to get their passion fire started.
So I urge you in this time of Health Care Reform, to take a stand on what you’re passionate for. We here at the Arthritis Foundation are for Health Care Reform, because we hear the stories of teens who have Juvenile Arthritis, who are asking,”How will I afford $10,000-$40,000 a month in treating my arthritis if I decide to go to college and the unwanted happens, and I go into a flare, have to become a part time student, and my parents insurance will no longer allow me to be on their plan because I’m not full-time?” We hear from professionals who want to be working and are established in their careers but have gone into medical bankruptcy because of the cost of their treatments, but without their treatments can no longer work. We hear from retired citizens who because of high deductibles on their insurance, have to stop their treatments all together and on top of that, are being cut-off from wellness programs that used to be covered by their insurance that helped keep their arthritis at bay, because moving helps keep them healthy and their joints happy.
You see where I’m going with this, and there are tons of people out there living these stories in similar ways, and behind those stories are passion fires. We all have one hidden deep-down, inside somewhere. So tell me, what’s yours???