On June 7, 2015, thousands of people took to the streets across Canada in the annual Walk to End Arthritis. A leading cause of disability, arthritis costs the Canadian economy $33 billion (CAN) a year in health care costs and lost productivity.
The walk began six years ago as a way to elevate awareness and raise funds to help ease the suffering of those who are affected by this debilitating disease and take place in 25 Canadian cities.
“It’s time to speak openly about the pain of arthritis,” says Janet Yale, president and CEO of the Arthritis Society. “People with arthritis have suffered in silence for too long. Coming together on a single day in communities across the country allows us to show our support for those living with the disease and to demonstrate the importance of mobility to one’s quality of life. It also allows us to raise much-needed funds to ensure a pain-free future.”
Christy Dunn, a Charlettetown resident explained that arthritis is experienced differently by each person. She has been living with with ankylosing spondylitis (one of over 100 different forms of arthritis). This is the second year she participated in the Walk. She says it allows her to connect with people who are living with arthritis in a way that is both empowering and positive.
Ed Kowal of Toronto walked with his dogs and the rest of his team. His daughter, Aida, 6, lives with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. “When Aida was first diagnosed we felt powerless, but through The Arthritis Society of Canada we met other families who are facing these challenges, and we’ve learned that you can take control of the disease so it doesn’t control you.”
To date, community support has helped the Walk to Fight Arthritis raise over $6.8 million (CAN) to support The Arthritis Society’s research and education initiatives.
For more information, visit www.walktofightarthritis.ca.