When Joanna Lee describes the feelings and effects of rheumatoid arthritis, she thinks of a war.
“Basically, your body decides that your joints and organs are its enemy and goes to war,” she said. “It’s more of a chemical war than a hand-to-hand combat, so it’s like having acid poured on your joints and organs.”
Lee was diagnosed with autoimmune disease RA in September 2004. RA is a type of inflammatory arthritis and an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune system becomes confused and begins to “attack” the body. In RA, the target of the attack is tissue in the lining of the joints and sometimes in other internal organs, like the eyes, lungs or heart.
There are over 100 different kinds of arthritis, which is a leading cause of disability in Canada. About one in every 100 Canadians has RA, which affects women three times more often than men.
Lee said not only is there pain, but fatigue, fever and flu-like symptoms.
“The pain you learn to live with and can push through it to do your day-to-day stuff, but the fatigue is the one that can really knock you down. This is a fatigue like none you have ever felt,” said the Dundas resident.
On June 10, the Arthritis Society will reach out to 23 Canadian communities to create awareness and raise funds for arthritis research and programs. Locally, the third annual Walk to Fight Arthritis takes place at the Royal Botanical Gardens.
The walk raises funds for vital research and programs to benefit nearly 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis.
The one and five kilometre walks at the RBG start at 10:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina and two girls who have been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.
Event day registration begins at 9 a.m. Participants may also register online at www.walktofightarthritis.ca or call event co-ordinator Heather Pickles at 905-632-9390, Ext. 1312.
Joanna Lee will be among those participating in the Walk to Fight Arthritis, June 10 at the Royal Botanical Gardens.