Arthritis Walk

Sorry, I’ve been without a computer for a week thanks to some soy sauce damage (it decided to die a week after the incident). You would think that since I live with a software engineer and our bedroom looks like a server room that I would have access to a computer, right? No, not really. Truth be told, only one of four desktop computers is functional at the moment, and that’s the one he uses. Last night I managed to steal a power cord from my mother’s house and got my old Dell up and running, so here we are. Thankfully, I’m picking up my new Macbook Pro tonight. I’m so excited that I can get back to writing my novels again (I don’t have a PC version of my writing software).

Anyway, this past Sunday was the Arthritis Walk in Teaneck, NJ, and I wanted to talk about it. If you have RA or any other type of arthritis, I totally encourage you to participate. While I was expecting it to be a long walk, it was only ten minutes, which was kind of a bummer. That’s the only thing I would change-make the walk longer. Maybe it was just this specific event that was like this; I don’t know for certain. Anyway, besides the point. Yes, I had to get up at 6:30 in the morning to get there. Yes, I had to hear my boyfriend complain about how early it was and listen to him mumble about how I managed to talk him into going. And yea, I was in pain and feeling really stiff. But it was worth it emotionally.

For starters, the volunteers there treat all of the participants with arthritis like superheros. They even had special gifts for us. Lots of different vendors and sponsors had booths with information on new products that could help us feel better. During the opening ceremony, the honorees for this year’s event were invited up to speak about their experiences with the disease. All of them had RA. I found myself tearing up when a 14 year old boy started talking about how awful he felt when he was first diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) but how he is now able to feel normal because of his medication. I was inspired by the fact that a 4 year-old who was diagnosed with JRA at 18 months can now run around happily like any other little girl, and how she thinks that having JRA makes her special. If these kids can live normally and accept their disease, then so could I. I gushed to Avi all day about how excited I was to be around others like me. I’m sure he secretly wanted to tape my mouth shut, but he didn’t say anything about it.

I didn’t collect as much money as I would have liked, but in general the participants raised over $50,000 for Arthritis research and programs to help patients. But, it’s really not just about the money. I don’t deny that it’s important, but on an individual level, it’s not the most important. The realization that you are not alone in the world is. I needed to hear from complete strangers that things would get better for me. I formed a bond with them without knowing a single thing about them. That moral support is more precious to me than anything else about the walk. I will definitely be participating next year. Seriously, you should too. You owe it to yourself. http://lmt.arthritis.org/

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