I want to thank you for volunteering to be an E-Advocate with the Arthritis Foundation.  Even though what you do as an e-advocate may not feel like much, it really is.  When we take action on an email request to send a letter, all of our voices combined make a difference.  After all, there are 50 million adults and 300,000 children living in the US with arthritis, so together our voices can be very loud indeed!

Why is this cause so important to me?  I admit that it is for selfish reasons.  I have been living with rheumatoid arthritis for over 20 years, and as a result of medication developed through research funded by the Arthritis Foundation and the federal government, I am able to walk today and not confined to a wheelchair.  But that is not enough.  Continued research is needed to develop more effective medications, and eventually, a CURE!

For several years I have had the incredible opportunity to attend the Arthritis Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC.  During this yearly event, arthritis advocates from across the country come together to let Congress know ignoring arthritis is not acceptable!   Along with others from Ohio, I was able to meet with staffers from the offices of Senators Brown & Portman.  I also met 1-1 with the senior Health assistant to my newly elected representative in the House, David Joyce.  Each person I met emphasized how important it is for ordinary constituents like us to let them know what is important to us, what we need them to focus on, what we need them to fund. 

Each of us has our own story.  Perhaps it is a personal story, or the story of a child, or a parent, or a friend.  Sharing that story with others, especially our elected officials, puts a face on this disease and emphasizes the message that continuing to ignore arthritis is unacceptable! 

Carol, Great Lakes Region Representative to the Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

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