LiveWell Louisiana

Spotlight on Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation seeks to raise awareness about the debilitating disease.
January 5th, 2016 by: Misty Miloto

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in four adults in Louisiana have been diagnosed with arthritis, while the national average is lower at one in five. It’s the country’s top cause of disability, and it affects people of all ages — including nearly 300,000 children living with Juvenile Arthritis in the United States. 

The Arthritis Foundation recently held its annual meeting at the InterContinental New Orleans, with attendance by 325 experts, leaders, staff and volunteers from around the country. The event included sessions on mission impact and scientific discovery; volunteer-led workshops; and the Recognizing our Champions Lunch, in which the foundation acknowledged top fundraising event leadership, community impact and promising partnerships. Also as part of the event, the Evening of Honors reception recognized those who made a significant impact toward a cure by fundraising, advocating and serving as an inspiration for those with arthritis. 

“For those living with arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation is committed to providing personalized help and support, when and where people with arthritis need us,” says Ann M. Palmer, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “Some of these tools include our Better Living Toolkit designed to help you keep track of your health and learn more about your specific type of arthritis; our newly launched Arthritis Resource Finder, so that you can find local service providers; and Your Exercise Solution — an online tool that creates customized fitness recommendations for people living with arthritis. Additionally … we offer JA Power Packs filled with useful information and tools for newly diagnosed children or teens and their families nationwide.” One such local family that is facing JA is that of Baton Rouge resident, Sara Morthland, whose daughter Ellery was diagnosed with the disease at 19 months. “We live in Baton Rouge, but, luckily for us, there were two pediatric rheumatologists at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans,” Morthland says. “Once we knew it was arthritis, we contacted the Arthritis Foundation, and they sent one of their children’s JA Power Packs to our family. This was a backpack filled with books and brochures about JA, and even a teddy bear that children can use like a heating pad when their joints are aching. Ellery still keeps this bear on her bed.”

In order to increase awareness of arthritis and JA in Louisiana, Morthland has decided to work with the Arthritis Foundation to chair the first Walk to Cure Arthritis in our state’s history. It’s scheduled for May 14 in Baton Rouge.,