Thursday, November 12, 2009

Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Program Identifies Universal Accessibility of Consumer Products and Packaging

Today’s tamper-resistant packaging, child-proof bottles and unwieldy kitchen tools may leave people wondering why companies make “unfriendly” products. All of these products serve a purpose, but many people – especially the 46 million Americans with arthritis – yearn to find easy-to-open medications and household or office supplies that simply make daily tasks less painful and more manageable. The Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use program encourages manufacturers to design user-friendly products and packing, and nearly 100 products carry the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation logo.

As the nation’s most common cause of disability, arthritis is an extremely debilitating disease that can affect every aspect of everyday tasks. One in five Americans live each day with the aches and pains of arthritis, which makes even the simplest aspects of life difficult. Arthritis is a disease that affects 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children. Arthritis is a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes, resulting in more than 19 million people with activity limitations each year.

Products endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendation Program are universally accessible, which means that the products don’t have to be specially designed for people with a disability, but they should be designed in way that all consumers can use them. Through its Ease-of-Use Program, the Arthritis Foundation recognizes products that meet strict criteria and prove to be easy-to-use.

“Arthritis is a debilitating disease that impacts the lives of millions of Americans,” said Pat Gottfried, president of the Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter. “The Arthritis Foundation wants those facing these conditions to understand that there are solutions to help.”

All Ease-of-Use products must pass a rigorous evaluation process by experts in universal design at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI). The scientists conduct tests to determine if the products are easy-to-use for someone with arthritis. In addition, this evaluation includes testing by people living with arthritis.

While the testing process for the commendation involves hands-on testing by people with arthritis, all consumers should find the products easier to use. This universal accessibility is the goal of the Ease-of-Use Program.

Once a product receives a passing evaluation, it then becomes eligible for the program. To date, several products have received the Ease-of-Use Commendation and have been approved to carry the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation logo.

To learn more about the Ease-of-Use Program or for a complete list of products, visit the Arthritis Foundation Web site at

Friday, November 6, 2009

Economy and Challenges

Recently, I was talking with some local college students about the economy and the challenges that we see in raising financial support for the Arthritis Foundation. The discussion moved to the shift in people's priorities due to the current downturns. In the back of my mind, I had an internal dialogue going about how these fiscal changes might benefit non-profit organizations in the future. It might be wishful thinking to say it out loud, but my hope is that the shift in people's priorities about their own lives can extend to the priorities of their corporate roles in the community. Businesses are made up of giving people, and giving people give to other people and so on. We are pleased to work with some great corporate partners each year and thank them for their generosity. Without the support of these generous stewards, our mission delivery would be greatly challenged. In the future, my dream is to see more companies invest in the valuable work of community organizations and grow a stronger “economy” of caring services for those in need. We always welcome your suggestions and referrals to build new partnerships. Feel free to contact Todd McPherson, Director of Corporate Development, ( or (303)756-8622 x245) with your ideas.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Arthritis Isn’t Scary

This weekend families who are affected by Juvenile Arthritis (JA) came together to network with each other and to celebrate Halloween with “Arthritis Isn’t Scary.” Many of the 6,000 kids in Colorado and 300,000 in the US, who have been diagnosed with some form of JA are unable to enjoy activities like trick-or treating due to their disease and the pain it causes them. The Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter holds “Arthritis Isn’t Scary” so that kids with JA can be kids by enjoying the games, haunted house and trick-or-treating at the event. Thank you to the 27 volunteers who made this event possible and to all the families who helped make this year’s “Arthritis Isn’t Scary” so much fun!

If you are interested in learning more about the Juvenile Arthritis Program at the Arthritis Foundation, please contact Isabelle Stohler at

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bones aren’t only a Halloween decoration!

October can be such a beautiful time in Southern Colorado. The leaves are changing and the colors are so vibrant. October is also a time for health fairs and lectures.

Making the Connection, A Bone & Joint Event
Saturday, Oct. 24th, 7am to 1PM in Canon City at
St. Thomas More Hospital, Community Education Room
Please join us for a series of informative lectures on bone and joint
health, courtesy of St. Thomas More Hospital and the Arthritis
Foundation Rocky Mountain Chapter, Southern Colorado Office.
Topics discussed will be Better Nutrition for Bone & Joint Health, Joint replacement-before and after surgery; Inflammatory vs. Non-inflammatory Arthritis. Osteoporosis screenings will also be available. For more information, call (719) 285-2100 or (719) 520-5711.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Goals and Challenges

It seems that no matter where I am when I mention that I work for the Arthritis Foundation the comment is always “I have arthritis” or “I know someone who has arthritis”. Arthritis truly touches everyone. I think that is what makes working here so interesting. The need is so great; the work is truly important. We work through highs and lows, but we keep working. Some days the feeling is that we can meet this challenge – we can obtain our goals. Other days the question of success arises – can we really do this – does it really make a difference. Thankfully, those days are in the minority. We know that we will meet these challenges. We know that someday research will find the solution for these problems. In the meantime we are committed to making every penny count. We continue to give our energy, time and talents to raise funds for research and programs; to provide information; to raise awareness of arthritis; and to help enrich the lives and encourage those we serve. It truly is a rewarding time and place to be.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What is the message?

There are some days when the job I have, and the work I do, becomes even more meaningful than the day before…

I try to talk with my mom every evening – she’s lives near Washington, D.C. and I usually only see her at the holiday’s. We almost lost her last year due to a serious infection and connecting with her has become a really important part of my day. She started seeing a rheumatologist late last year (after lots of nagging from me!) and has been getting what she feels to be good treatment, advice and support for her osteoarthritis. She’s got a pretty aggressive form of OA, so aggressive that other doctors she sees (cardiologist was the latest) question whether she really has OA or RA. She’s been tested for RA two different times, but each time it came back negative. She was pretty uncomfortable and worn out last night from just her regular, daily activities, and it made me think: what if she really DOES have RA, and we just don’t know it yet? The disease is so complicated and different for different people, is it possible that she’s received two false negatives? And if not, what other treatments are available for her OA so that she doesn’t have to deal with so much pain and fatigue? I’m comforted by and convinced that there are a lot of smart people out there conducting important research on how to prevent – control – and cure – arthritis.

There are a lot of people out there who aren’t aware of the impact of arthritis, the number of people affected, and the work that remains to be done. My job is to give them that message. Time to get back to work…

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall is coming

Summer moving into fall – getting ready for all growing things to slow down. This does not pertain to us humans who are still growing, We need to keep moving our muscles and bones on a daily basis. Things at the Arthritis Foundation are continuing to grow with new programs and new opportunities to help all of us who have any tie to arthritis or any of its affects. I just built a storage shed, which will force me to look at all the items currently in the garage to see what really needs to be kept and what can be recycled. This will be a great project to complete before winter gets here. Keep focused on what is ahead and we will do the same at our office also.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jingle Bells...

Come Jingle With Us this December as we host our annual Jingle Bell Run in Denver and Northern Colorado. The Jingle Bell Run is an annual traditional for many of our constituents and we hope that you’ll join us for this festive 5-k USA Track & Field certified running race and Bolder Boulder qualifier! We’ll be jingling first in Ft. Collins on Saturday, December 5, 2009 at CSU’s Oval Drive and in Denver the following weekend on Sunday,, December 13, 2009 in Denver’s Beautiful Washington Park! Register online for the Ft. Collins event or for the Denver event and begin fundraising today! Every dollar raised helps the Arthritis Foundation Rocky Mountain Chapter continue our work to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. Contact Tara Roesener, Director of Event Development for the Rocky Mountain Chapter with any questions, ideas or great fundraising stories!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Juvenile Arthritis Family Day Survey Results

This past weekend we hosted our 3rd Annual JA Family Day at National Jewish Hospital. We asked the kids what they thought of the day of events, and these were their responses:

1) Did you meet anyone new today?

Yes= 12 no=3 maybe=1

2) Did you learn anything new about arthritis?

yes=11 no=5

"it causes soreness"

"there are different types and different medicines"

"It's dangerous because it can make your ankle hurt and then you can fall down"

"Different kids get it"

3) Would you come again next year?

yes=14 maybe=2

"If it's OK with my mom and dad"

4) How can we make it better next year?

"Make the pool less hot"

"Have a different theme"

"Do more activities, more fun things"

"more crafts--just like this year"

"cake and ice cream"

"Have another theme. The future: robots and laser guns. The pointer would look like a laser gun, but really it

would be a pointer."

"Have music"

"More time in the pool."

Overall, a GREAT event. Can’t wait till next year!

Isabelle Stohler
Programs Manager, Rocky Mountain Chapter

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Annual Meeting

The Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter held its annual membership meeting on Tuesday, August 18. The theme for the evening was “Thanking our Communities.”
The evening started with a social reception and great hors d’voeures and refreshments. Dr. Leonard Dragone from National Jewish Hospital updated the audience of almost 100 with the latest research on arthritis. We added four new board members as well as welcomed the return of two board members for another three year term. Sixteen emeritus board members were inducted for a one year term.

Accolades were abundant for the service of our board members and support of our volunteers. The Dorothy Bigos award, our new award for recognition of outstanding achievement as an instructor in our Life Improvement Series, was presented to Karen Valdez. The Ludlow-Griffith Foundation received the Ruth Vincent Cunningham award, our highest honor for outstanding service given to the Arthritis Foundation by an individual, family or corporation.

It was good to see so many of our members and friends help celebrate the accomplishments of the last year and make plans for the future

Eileen Martin
Executive Adminstrative Assistant

Monday, August 3, 2009

Times…They are a Change’ in

We are in the midst of an interesting time (to put it modestly). The world is a buzz… but hasn’t it always been that way. There is instant camaraderie as we seek to support each other in our time of need. Many call this period of challenge “The Great Reset” or an opportunity to look at where we are as a community and how we can focus on the things that really matter most to us. This is the time to be most grateful for where we have been and to focus on what new directions we will go in the future. We all have needed to make changes in the way we operate and hopefully we will be better for it. The Arthritis Foundation has a sixty year record of moving forward and adapting in the midst of challenging times. Our mission has stayed consistent and we will continue to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control, and cure of arthritis and related diseases. Please help us keep focused on our goal to touch the 1.3 million people in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana living with arthritis. No matter how our political, social, or economic times ebb and flow, there will be an increasing need to advocate for arthritis diseases and their effects on the well-being of people closest to us. If the Arthritis Foundation can be of assistance in any way, please let us know how we can help you and your family or friends. We would also like to connect with you about ways that you can make a difference in our organization. If you know of resources that can assist the Foundation, we welcome your support. Like the old adage states, “There is no better time than the present”. Together we can emerge stronger through our shared experiences.

Kickin' It Old School

Multiple studies have shown that exercise can decrease pain and increase range of motion and flexibility in individuals with arthritis. We at the Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter are embracing that idea and running into left field with it, so to speak. On Saturday, October 10 at the City of Cuernavaca Park we are holding “Kickin’ It Old School,” a kickball tournament fundraiser.

Many of you may remember kickball from your recess days but it is making a comeback among 20- and 30-year-olds across the United States. With this tournament the Arthritis Foundation will not only be raising funds but focusing on raising awareness about our mission and the disease in a demographic that we, as an organization, often miss.

So, dust off those tennis shoes and join us for “Kickin’ It Old School.” You can sign up as team or individually by going to

Monday, July 13, 2009

I’ve had the opportunity to meet people across the state of Montana over the past few months, from Helena to Billings, and Butte to the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning and many places in between. I’ve been very inspired by the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard. I listened to a woman from Helena who told me that the Arthritis Foundation’s exercise class is a big reason why she is still able to walk in her early 90’s; I talked to a Rheumatologist who talked about how beneficial the Arthritis Foundation’s support groups have been for his patients; A woman in Butte talked about her brother and how his local chapter had given them both information about nutrition that made a huge difference in his life.

All of theses stories and more really solidify the good work the Arthritis Foundation does for people with arthritis as well as for family members of people with arthritis. I’m excited to continue this work here in Montana and work on expanding the number of people we can reach and help. I look forward to expanding our Exercise and Aquatic classes to more communities across this big state and being a resource for people around the state. I encourage folks here in Montana to give me a call at 406.461.8368 to talk about ways the Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter can help serve your needs.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Healthcare reform is a very hot topic now all across the country. The Arthritis Foundation recently released a position statement (see below) that lists priorities to be included in any new legislation. As I reviewed these, I thought about all of the people who contact us looking for help with prescriptions, medical equipment, insurance premiums and many other medical costs and how we wish there were more resources for all of these important needs. This is a good time to let your legislators know about some of the issues that you face as a person with arthritis or as a family member or caregiver for someone with arthritis. It really does matter when people call or email their representative and tell their personal story. The Arthritis Foundation has an easy way for people to become involved in advocacy efforts. You can become an e-advocate by only dedicating an hour or less a month. An Arthritis Ambassador commits to two hours a month of advocacy efforts and might do things like write a letter to their newspaper or try to meet in person with a legislator. You can join a network of thousands of people across the country who do make a difference. There is power in numbers! For more information about how to join these efforts go to: www.arthritis/org/inside-advocacy.php or call me, Kathy Jensen, at 303-756-8622 ext. 229.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Vacations are great! They give us an opportunity to relax, refresh, and recharge. Last week I visited the beach for the first time in many, many years.

One day while I sat on the beach watching children and “adult children” running into and away from the waves I noticed a small boy building a sand castle. He had been very careful to make sure the waves would not reach it. He began with a small mound of sand and slowly added to it. As his brothers ran by him into the waves, he smiled and waved but kept at his work. Slowly he completed his castle. Then he started on another small mound. His mother came to sit beside him and commented on his lovely house. But he told her he wasn’t finished, he wanted to build a city before he left the beach. After watching him for a while she began helping him, then his brothers joined them, and then other people stopped by to lend a hand. Slowly and carefully his city was completed. When he and his family were leaving I heard them talking together and he remarked that he could have built the whole thing alone but it was so much bigger and better and a lot more fun when everyone helped.

And that is the picture of the work of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. We have some big goals and some good plans. We can and will accomplish those goals when we work steadily and get more and more people involved. It is a worthwhile challenge.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Time

It is officially summer here at the Rocky Mountain Chapter and the temps have spurred outdoor fun and activities both in our work and personal lives.

We start off the summer with a HUGE thank you to our volunteers. We are holding a BBQ and picnic on the evening of June 24th to recognize and to thank the many people who support and assist us with our governance, programs and special events. We have had the pleasure of working with many terrific volunteers. They are passionate about the mission! We also manage to have some fun along the way.

Other significant summer events include our Juvenile Arthritis Camp in Estes Park the week of July 19th and our Annual Membership Meeting the evening of August 18th. We are also putting together a kick-ball tourney for the young AND older adults out there in Denver. Come join us for one or all. Information is posted on the website.

Here’s hoping we will see you soon and that you have a safe and fun-filled summer.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

May is over

Hard to believe that May has already come and gone. What a fantastic month for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the AF! Our two walks featured so many wonderful people out to raise money for a great cause, including the many who braved the chill, rain and sleet in Colorado Springs on May 2. The Denver walk on May 17 saw over 1,000 people in attendance – a definite record! Both events were preceded by the Evening of Honors Gala, a great night during which we honored some very worthwhile individuals and treated the hundreds of people in the audience to a night of joyous celebration and entertainment, featuring sports icon Roy Firestone. It is humbling to witness the many individuals who, despite the challenges of the economy, continue to give and support our very important mission. The need continues unabated, and though we sometimes struggle to make everything work, we know we do it all for a good cause – the 46 million people living with the challenges of arthritis. Great things await us this year, and we remain optimistic that we will continue to be able to serve the people of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana who so desperately need our programs, research and support.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


At last the time of year when rain and sunshine helps to get everything outside turning green and growing. This also makes it better to get out and exercise those limbs and muscles. If any question on how much and what type of exercise, the Arthritis Foundation can provide some information to help you. Listen to you body on what you can actually do and should not do. I try to make the best use of my time during the summer to get some sunshine and exercise (Golf, yard work, walking) are some of things that I am looking forward to.

It has been very rewarding to me over the past few months to listen to people talk in an upbeat and positive way about how they are handling their arthritis. We are having a picnic for all the great volunteers that help us in the office and at all of our events on Wednesday June 24th. I and the staff look forward to this time to say thanks and visit with everyone that can share this time with us.

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Experiences!

Every day life brings us new challenges to conquer and those living with arthritis are no exception. On Saturday, June 6th the Southern Colorado Office of the Arthritis Foundation will present an Arthritis Answers Education Day. Our goal is to help you conquer those challenges. There are three speakers, each addressing a different health challenges from eating well and healing ourselves from the inside out to an OA update while discussing arthritis of the foot and ankle as it relates to gout. Our host for this event is The Palisades at Broadmoor Court.

The Southern Colorado office moved this week and you can find us now located within ViewPointe Retirement Community. The address is 555 S. Rockrimmon Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80919. Challenges were conquered! The staff and residents have been wonderful to us in getting settled in our new home. As you enter, you will probably be greeted by their 4- legged ambassador, Tucker, while classical music plays. A very sweet group of retirees playing bridge or sitting by the fire. A charming place to be. New friends!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Arthritis Foundation launches Virtual Walk in tough economy!

A Virtual Walk has been launched for Montana and the surrounding region! Participating is simple – visit us online by clicking the, Virtual Walk link. Register, begin fundraising and “take a walk”. Virtual Walk event participants walk (or run) in their own neighborhood, or anywhere you choose. Just commit to walking at least 5K once before Friday, August 28th and you will have participated in the Rocky Mountain Region’s Virtual Walk pilot event! All Virtual Event participants will receive an official race T-shirt and a completion/participation certificate following the close of the Virtual Event. Map out your 5K route on Map My Run by pointing and clicking where you want to walk (or run). After you map out your planned course, you can share the map with friends, or even upload it to your personal data device(s). Let the FUNdraising Begin!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sponsors :)

Arthritis can make you STRONGER!

Thank you to everyone who makes the Arthritis Foundation a strong organization. Your strength keeps us going throughout the year. In just two short weeks, you have helped us through two successful Let’s Move Together Arthritis Walks in Colorado and celebrated with us as we honored four distinguished gentleman during our annual Evening of Honors Gala. Where ever we turn there are people that have overcome many of the obstacles associated with arthritis and gained a strength that is awe inspiring. All around us there are individuals that take their silent struggles with arthritis diseases and help form a new lease on life for others. Take the time to hear the many stories that have molded arthritis patients into powerful people, while bringing hope to others. They are proof that arthritis can make you stronger.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 Evening of Honors Gala

It's not too late to register for our 2009 Evening of Honors Gala tomorrow night. This is a great event for us to help support the community and honor several people who have made a difference this past year.

The Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter is hosting its Annual Evening of Honors Tribute Dinner Friday, May 8, 2009 at the Denver Marriott City Center starting at 6:00 p.m.

The evening will be emceed by 9News Anchor Gregg Moss and will include dinner, drinks, live and silent auction and featured entertainer Roy Firestone.
Honorees for the evening are Jay Davidson, Chairman and CEO of First American State Bank; Murphy Huston, KOSI 101.1 morning host; Mort Marks, freelancer for The Villager Newspaper; and Dick Saunders, found of Saunders Construction.

Tickets are per $250person. Special discounts apply for young professionals. Tickets can be purchased at event code AF/09 or by calling the Arthritis Foundation at (303) 756-8622.
n sponsorship opportunities.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Our Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program (AFAP) and Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (AFEP) have been a huge success since they were first introduced in 1983. Many of you have been participating in these classes for 25 years, or maybe you just started. But hopefully all of you have seen improvements in your daily activities. The Arthritis Foundation continues to review this program to see what needs fixing to keep it as up-to-date as possible.

As if May 1st, we’d like to introduce our new and improved AFAP and AFEP classes! We are starting to recertify current instructors, and train new instructors, in these programs. New exercises have been added, new educational materials have been introduced and much more! Controlling your arthritis is our goal, and with these new programs we hope that you can achieve this. The best thing to remember? Keep moving, even when it hurts! And don’t forget to attend one of our Arthritis Walks in May near you to keep moving, spread the word, and fight for a cure!


Come join us on May 2nd or May 17th to help support the Arthritis Foundation on our annual Arthritis Walks. The money helps to benefit those struggling with arthritis and helps to benefit research for the foundation.

There will be a "Show us your Moves" booth...come check that out and maybe you'll be featured on our webpage or on our national webpage. It's for a great cause!

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Thank You!

Serving as the Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator at the Arthritis Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter, I am humbled each day by the generosity of others through donation of their time and talents. One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to know volunteers as individuals. I get to hear about their family and friends, backgrounds, jobs, likes and dislikes, favorite memories and so much more! Together, our volunteers make up a beautiful and diverse patchwork of people.

As April is National Volunteer Month, it is fitting to take a moment to recognize the achievements of our over 300 chapter volunteers. In the last 10 days alone, volunteers represented the Arthritis Foundation at 45, 9Health Fair sites, allowing us to bring help and hope to so many people affected by arthritis.

There are so many reasons that bring volunteers to the Arthritis Foundation, some come because they have arthritis or a friend or family member is affected; it’s an :underdog” non-profit in comparison to the American Heart Association or American Cancer Society; and they just want to give something back in whatever way they can. One volunteer’s motivation to volunteer is that, “It gives all of my emotions toward arthritis and the way it affects my son action. It is one way (if the only way) I feel that I can have control over this disease and make all of [his] struggles not in vain.”

No matter what inspires you to volunteer, I thank you for everything!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Southern Colorado Events!

Colorado Springs is moving and shaking with several projects in the works, especially the 5th annual Walk scheduled for Saturday, May 2nd at America the Beautiful Park. We are actively recruiting teams and volunteers. Visit our website and register your team today and let’s walk together.

Several health fairs are scheduled during the month of April and the 2nd annual Arthritis Foundation Education day is scheduled for Saturday, June 6th at the Palisades at Broadmoor Park. As usual, this education is free and open to the public. Reservations will be required as seating will be limited. Space, food and beverage has been generously donated by the Palisades at Broadmoor Park.

Not only are we gearing up for upcoming “happenings in Colorado Springs” we successfully hosted our inaugural Commitment to a Cure luncheon on March 12th. It was exciting and inspiring at the same time to hear from those we service in our community and know that although we are still in search for a cure, the Arthritis Foundation is a resource for the millions who live with some type of Arthritis.

The Arthritis Foundation will celebrate its 17th annual Jewels of the Vine Wine Tasting on Saturday, September 26th at the Antlers Hilton Colorado Springs. This wine tasting is our signature fundraising event for Southern Colorado and continues to be a night of fun with live music and dancing, great items to bid on in both our live and silent auctions, and please let’s not forget the wonderful food and wine. Contact Cary Bement-Kelly or Paula Humber at 719-520-5711 for more details.

Live life and have a healthy day!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Thank you!

I consider myself to be extremely lucky to have a job at the Arthritis Foundation. As the Vice President of Programs I am able to see how the Chapter tries to deliver our mission through our public health programs, public policy and advocacy efforts, and research awards. I wear many hats in my position but something that is very dear to me is the opportunity to facilitate the monthly RA support group. This group has been meeting for about a year now and we have welcomed a variety of people every month. Ages have ranged from 17 all the way up to 80+. Although mostly women come, we also have some men who attend regularly. Sometimes we have speakers but we also have a lot of time for people to bring up their own issues. People say they come because they want to meet other people and get some ideas about how other people manage their medications, their diets, their families, or their jobs. There have been some tears but mostly I see people nodding their heads while others talk. They know what someone with RA is experiencing when they mention they had a bad flare last month or had to change their treatment again or are feeling really good and planning to go back to school or work. We celebrate the victories and we offer positive feedback when things are not so great. I hope that people who have RA and are looking for some extra support and information will come to our next group meeting on April 14 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. But I also encourage people with RA who are doing really well and think they don’t need this kind of group to come and encourage others. Call me if you have any questions at 303-756-8622 ext. 229. Thanks for listening.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I have just celebrated an anniversary this week – four years with the Rocky Mountain Chapter. These have been four years of learning, changes, and growth. When I came to the Arthritis Foundation I didn’t know very much about Arthritis. I knew what I had heard all my life – the myths – but had no personal experience with arthritis. So after I learned how to work the computer, the telephone system, the accounting program, and the security system, I turned my attention to the people. I started to watch, listen, and learn. I watched and listened to those living daily with arthritis. I learned about the many programs that are available to improve daily lives and about the many research projects that are on going. I learned the part our chapter plays and how each member of our staff contributes. I just didn’t realize how personal it would become.

On Monday I received a very tearful telephone call from my dearest, life-long friend – yes, in Texas. Through her tears she told me she has been diagnosed with OA. She is naturally very frightened about this. It has been very sudden and very painful. However, she is fortunate to live in an area where there is a Rheumatologist and was able to see this doctor very quickly. I was so thankful that I could direct her to our website for information and was able to give her encouragement and understanding. Together we have faced all life experiences – grade school, high school, college, marriages, births, two battles with cancer, and even deaths. Arthritis has suddenly become very personal!

As I look back over these past four years, I know there have been many changes– changes in the staff, in the way we do things, in programs – but the one thing that remains constant is the importance of our mission and our determination to stay true to that mission. Here’s to many more good years!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Capitol Hill here we come...

The Rocky Mountain Chapter was very well represented on the “Hill” on March 3rd and 4th during the Arthritis Foundation Advocacy Summit in Washington, DC. After a half day of advocacy training, 8 year old Mason and mom Annmarie Merager, Dr. Stuart Kassan, Chapter Chair and Jill Lysengen, Chapter Volunteer Coordinator joined me in visiting our elected officials in the Senate and House of Representatives.

For first timers, it can be a bit intimidating walking the hallowed halls and talking to congressional aides. (Or if you are lucky, you have an appointment with an actual Congressman or Congresswoman!) From the outside the four buildings housing the congressional offices look the same aside from small nameplates. Inside, it gets even more confusing if you are using the connecting tunnels between all the buildings. We pulled out our maps several times to get our bearings. Staffers walking the tunnels were always cordial and helpful while pointing you in the right direction to your next meeting.

We asked our legislators for three things:

1.) Co-sponsor the Arthritis, Prevention, Control and Cure Act

2.) Increase funding to CDC to $23 million for arthritis prevention

3.) Approve $500 million for NIH (research)

We will be staying in touch with everyone we had an appointment with. And, we remain hopeful that the arthritis requests will be brought to (and remain) at the forefront of the healthcare dialogue that is now taking place.

On a personal note, spending time with Mason and all the young children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that were at the Summit reaffirmed my thinking and passion for demanding “action” from our legislators. To give Mason and other kids suffering with juvenile arthritis anything less than a cure, is not acceptable.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's that time...

People are still giving. It’s amazing to me how many people are still able to find ways to support the important work of our organization, despite the challenges of the economy. The national financial news seems to get worse each day, but every day long-time friends, past supporters, and new donors find ways to contribute to the Arthritis Foundation. So many people are getting involved in the upcoming walk as well, forming teams and reaching out to friends, family and neighbors for donations. Though the big gifts are harder to come by, the number of people willing and able to give smaller gifts continues to stay strong. The May 17 walk at Washington Park will be a wonderful example of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people joining together and pooling their resources to prevent, control and cure arthritis. It’s great to see the mission alive and well!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Warmer Weather

I am in great anticipation for the warmer weather to come in the few months. Being able to get outside more often to collect the sun’s rays will be a welcome feeling. Moving the arms and legs in walking, running, biking, tennis, golf (my favorite) and any other excuse to be outside will help to keep the effects of Arthritis at bay.

Our two Cocker Spaniels, at least one has Arthritis, is also chomping at the bit, per say to walk around and smell all that the outdoors has to offer. The upcoming “Arthritis Walk” events are a nice committed way to show support to all that have Arthritis. Please join me at a walk (Arthritis Foundation signature event) this spring. I am lucky so far not to have any major issues that restrict my activities.

During this time of being careful of how we all spend our money, look at all the parks and paths that we have available to us that provide a variety of things to do at no cost. Yea, I do like some of the cheaper entertainment options and save my money for other important treats.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Commitment to a Cure

The Southern Colorado Office of the Arthritis Foundation Rocky Mountain Chapter is only a few weeks away from our First Annual Commitment to a Cure Luncheon. This year’s lunch is being held at the Crowne Plaza – Colorado Springs on Thursday, March 12 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm. We are anticipating over 150 attendees who will hopefully be inspired to give and help move the Arthritis Foundation mission forward.

This year’s lunch will feature Dr. Ron Royce from Front Range Orthopaedics speaking about how to manage your arthritis and how to know when it might be time for surgery. Also, guests of this event will hear from Kris Harty, a woman living with Arthritis, who likes to tell people despite what she was told growing up after her diagnosis; “she did it anyway.” And last but not least, the group will hear from Kara Gramlich. Kara is a senior at Lewis Palmer High School in Monument, Colorado; she was diagnosed with arthritis when she 10 years old. Her diagnosis did not stop her, but inspired her to move more and reach out to others with Arthritis.

If you have more questions or would like to attend, please contact Cary Bement-Kelly at 719-520-5711 or

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Springing into Motion

The Arthritis Foundation has launched its movement initiative in tandem with our fundraising Walk-a-Thons nationwide – entitled, Let’s Move Together. Move. Physical. Progressive. Forward. Let’s Move Together. Join us as we launch our first annual Virtual Walk in Bozeman, MT. The first of its kind in the Rocky Mountain Region, the Arthritis Foundation’s Rocky Mountain Chapter has listened to our constituents and is responding to the economic crisis impacting each of us by creating a cost-effective fundraiser in place of it’s more traditional 5k walk. The Bozeman Virtual Walk will open on May 1, 2009 as the nation kicks off National Arthritis Awareness Month.

Participants in the Bozeman (and region) area will simply need to register (as they have done in the past) at, create their personal fundraising page and begin utilizing the plethora of social media outlets to begin raising much needed money to continue our work to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. Contact Tara Roesener, Director of Event Development for the Rocky Mountain Chapter with any questions, ideas or great fundraising stories!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How is your pain tolerance?

I was diagnosed with a cervical vertebrae that basically has lost all the fluid, deterioration of the bone, and pressing into the spinal cord. I found that analgesics were just not cutting the mustard! I had a flare-up with the injury which led to excruciating pain. I phoned the Neurosurgeon’s office and they in turn prescribed prednisone and a muscle relaxer. Well, try functioning on those two drugs! Ha.. However, the medications worked well enough for me to return to work within a couple of days. I’ve realized from the experience that I really want to be able to function without the use of pain medication and that moist heat and long walks do help the anxiety, which in turn reduces the pain.

I also decided to try an alternative mode of relief. I visited an acupuncturist and let me tell you; I slept ten hours after the treatment and felt like a new person the next day free of pain. I know I will continue to see the acupuncturist as this was the best I’d felt in over a month.

There are so many alternatives to reducing arthritic pain. I think that what works best for one person does not always work for another. I feel that in today’s vast array of medical treatments that sometimes the “old school” of treatment works best.

Plenty of rest, exercise, water, moist heat and perhaps trying an alternative form of treatment as I did could work for you too.

Let me know what your thoughts are and please share with me your experiences.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


At the Arthritis Foundation’s Commitment to a Cure luncheon in November 2008 my daughters, Norma and Julie, and I presented how arthritis affected our lives. In December, the three of us volunteered at the Denver Jingle Bell Run. We had a great time working at the incentive booth, giving awards for extra donations. Although it was very cold, we met a lot of people who braved the weather and turned out to walk or run to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. Norma’s RA continues to be under control. Julie’s fractured kneecap is healing, although surgery to repair a torn meniscus is still questionable.

We are well into 2009 now and like everyone else I have committed to making changes to better my health. I am concentrating on a healthy eating program. I was successful in avoiding most of the goodies in front of me through the holidays. With my daughter Norma, I have gone back to the water aerobics class twice a week. I could really feel the difference in my knee and hip when not utilizing the warm water exercise for two weeks, proof that the exercise promoted by the Arthritis Foundation works!!!

This is going to be a challenging year for the Arthritis Foundation. I know that our dedicated staff and wonderful volunteers will make it a successful year.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Join the Movement!

Come check out and take a minute to sign-up. It's free and it's a great start to a healthier you in 2009. Come see what that movements all about! :)

Or if you just want to try something new...come check out one of our walks this spring!

The Arthritis Walk is the Arthritis Foundation's nationwide walk event that raises awareness and funds to fight arthritis, the nation's most common cause of disability. The event takes place during the month of May in conjunction with National Arthritis Month.

May 2, 2009 at Bozeman Ponds in Bozeman Montana starting at 11am.
May 2, 2009 at America The Beautiful Park in Colorado Springs starting at 11am.
May 17, 2009 at Washington Park in Denver starting at 11am.

You can sign-up at So come show your support and walk to a healthier you.

Don’t close the book…a New chapter has just begun!

This week marks the beginning of a chapter in the history of the world as our nation reaches out to one another to build a positive and optimistic future. New partnerships will be formed as people work together for a common goal…a goal that seeks to strengthen family, friends, neighbors, and the whole community. The Arthritis Foundation finds pride in serving the nation, as we touch people’s lives locally. For nearly sixty years and twelve sitting presidents, the Rocky Mountain Chapter has formed partnerships that seek to bring comfort, knowledge, and guidance to those living with arthritis. With out the support of people like you, we would fall short of our mission to “improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases”. Investing in the Foundation is an investment in people around you. Can you help us grow as a nation and as a community? Do you have some time, talents, or resources that you would like to share? Let us know if you would like to assist in building a more positive and optimistic future. We have many more chapters to turn together. Talk to you soon partner!

Friday, January 16, 2009

What's Your Dream?

On Monday, January 19, 2009 the country will be celebrating the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Since 1994 this holiday has been a national Day of Service. This year there will be thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds joining together to strengthen communities, empower individuals and bridge barriers in our country.

Thousands of people with one goal, to willingly give of their time to bring about a positive change for someone or something else. Think of the possibilities if this wasn’t just one day a year but instead, once a month or once a week. We have an incredible opportunity to be a catalyst for change. It’s an opportunity that could truly change our communities and the country. I’d love to hear how you’ll be recognizing this day, you can email your plans to volunteer, donate funds or help someone carry their groceries to

Friday, January 9, 2009

Becoming A Member

Interested in becoming a member? Well, it's only 20$ a year and we will send you our quarterly newsletter and send you up to date information on our events. All of the money goes to Arthritis Research and the more support we get the better our chances are for finding a cure. It's for a great cause! So please take a minute to help show your support.

Or if you would just like some information then please feel free to visit our website or call us direct.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thank you,
The Arthritis Foundation-Rocky Mountain Chapter

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009 A New Year

New Years is my favorite part of the year because it’s a time full of hope and optimism. As I continue planning for 2009, I get excited to see where new physical activity trainings will be, and how to reach under served communities. Last night, we had a meeting with our JA Workgroup and their passion to help other families is contagious. This year we will have a panel discussion in February, an event for transitioning teens in April, and of course our annual JA Day on August 15th. Along with lectures, education days and more, 2009 will be better than ever…