Daniel's Story

Nothing holds Daniel Ortman back. Not the arthritis that has challenged him for two decades. Not the major brain surgery he endured nine years ago. Nor any of the other obstacles he and his family have faced along the way.

In 2018, Dan vowed to cross the finish line of his Ellicott City, Maryland, Jingle Bell Run for the very first time. And he made it! “It was surreal,” reflects Daniel. “I was starting to tire out after the first mile. But I said, ‘I’m going to keep going and get to the other side.’ And when I got to the end, I said, ‘I’m not disabled anymore. I can do anything!’”

Daniel was diagnosed with arthritis at age 11, at first with ankylosing spondylitis and later with psoriatic arthritis. His arthritis was very aggressive. Finding and keeping an effective treatment proved difficult and took a heavy toll on his body. He had to use a wheelchair or walker for long periods and required assistance with many of the things most people take for granted. Daniel’s worst arthritis flare occurred after the biologic he was on failed, causing excruciating pain that prevented him from enjoying something as simple as sitting down for a family dinner.

In 2011, the last time Daniel was physically able to participate in the Jingle Bell Run, he got halfway through the 5K course, but couldn’t keep going and had to be helped to an awaiting car. Now 30, Daniel believes his sister, Theresa, who passed away unexpectedly a year ago, helped him make it over the finish line last year. “Theresa inspired me and so many others, so I dedicated my fundraising campaign in her memory.” Daniel and “Dan’s Fans” set their goal at $20,000 and brought in more than twice that amount, thanks to a matching gift.

At the Arthritis Foundation’s Conference of Champions in November, Daniel had the pleasure of seeing his father, Michael Ortman, receive the organization’s highest honor, the Charles B. Harding Award for Distinguished Service. Michael has been thoroughly engaged with our cause ever since Daniel was first diagnosed, including two years serving as the Foundation’s board of directors chair.

Today, things are looking up for Daniel. He’s pursuing his career in brain training, working to help others with disabilities, both mentally and physically, covering a wide range of disorders. He also works with those struggling with rehabilitation from arthritis. In addition, he’s got an active social life. “I get to go out and socialize with people,” he says. “There are a lot of pleasures all around me. I enjoy all my waking hours and have fun.”

Daniel says he considers arthritis a gift and a chance to see the world differently. “You’re only disabled if you let yourself be disabled,” he maintains. “Arthritis is an opportunity to live an awesome life. You have to just take on the world and go with the good stuff.”

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  • Donate

    Donate

    Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life.

  • Volunteer

    Volunteer

    Join us and become a Champion of Yes. There are many volunteer opportunities available.

  • Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Live Yes! INSIGHTS

    Take part to be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis.

  • Partner

    Partner

    Proud Partners of the Arthritis Foundation make an annual commitment to directly support the Foundation’s mission.

Donate


Ways to Give

Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life. Whether it is supporting cutting-edge research, 24/7 access to one-on-one support, resources and tools for daily living, and more, your gift will be life-changing.

Make a Donation

Help millions of people live with less pain and fund groundbreaking research to discover a cure for this devastating disease. Please, make your urgently-needed donation to the Arthritis Foundation now!

Become a Member

Become an Arthritis Foundation member today for just $20. You'll receive a year's worth of Arthritis Today magazine, access to helpful tools, resources, and more.

Make a Honor or Memorial Gift

Honor a loved one with a meaningful donation to the Arthritis Foundation. We'll send a handwritten card to the honoree or their family notifying them of your thoughtful gift.

Gift Planning

I want information on ways to remember the AF in my will, trust or other financial planning vehicles.
 

Volunteer


Volunteer Opportunities

The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community. We can only achieve these goals with your help. Strong, outspoken and engaged volunteers will help us conquer arthritis. By getting involved, you become a leader in our organization and help make a difference in the lives of millions. Join us and become a Champion of Yes.


More About Volunteering

Live Yes! INSIGHTS


Give Just 10 Minutes.

Tell us what matters most to you. Change the future of arthritis.

By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

Your shared experiences will help:

- Lead to more effective treatments and outcomes
- Develop programs to meet the needs of you and your community
- Shape a powerful agenda that fights for you

Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 

How are you changing the future?

By sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

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Partner


Meet Our Partners

As a partner, you will help the Arthritis Foundation provide life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections for people with arthritis, the nations leading cause of disability. Join us today and help lead the way as a Champion of Yes.

Trailblazer

Our Trailblazers are committed partners ready to lead the way, take action and fight for everyday victories. They contribute $2,000,000 to $2,749,000

Visionary

Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.

Pioneer

Our Pioneers are always ready to explore and find new weapons in the fight against arthritis. They contribute $1,000,000 to $1,499,999.

Pacesetter

Our Pacesetters ensure that we can chart the course for a cure for those who live with arthritis. They contribute $500,000 to $999,000.

Signature

Our Signature partners make their mark by helping us identify new and meaningful resources for people with arthritis. They contribute $250,000 to $499,999.

Supporting

Our Supporting partners are active champions who provide encouragement and assistance to the arthritis community. They contribute $100,000 to $249,999.