Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Arthritis and The Needs of Humankind

I've seen variety of memes on the Internet that have a picture of a cute kid and the words: "We need a cure!"
It may be referencing cancer, diabetes, or migraines. I've used that same phrase about arthritis. When amazing people are suffering from awful diseases, it seems pretty obvious that they deserve better. They deserve to be well, and they need a cure. 

But you know what, I'm over that way of thinking. Sure, I'd like a cure for my autoimmune thyroid disorder, but I don't deserve one. I'd love a cure for my girl's autoimmune arthritis, but I don't expect one. I don't think she is entitled to a cure just because she happens to be the most incredible, most beautiful, and bravest daughter I ever had. 

I'm not holding out hope for a cure. It's not realistic, and believing in fairy tales is not what I need. Do you know what I really do need? What I think all people need, maybe even more than hope for cures?
 Community. Support. Love. 

Since Emma's diagnosis of Juvenile Arthritis, my family has participated in a yearly arthritis walk put on by the Arthritis Foundation. The walk itself is a big fundraising event, but raising money has never been my priority. My goal is always to have a HUGE team of friends and family walking together. I need people there to show support for my daughter's struggle and to raise awareness of JA. Last year, a fundraiser fell into my lap and I embraced it because the money we earned helped fund programs, camps, and support for a community of arthritis sufferers. It is through the Arthritis Foundation that I have found my community of fellow JA Moms. The support of these women has filled a need in my life, so when I do raise money, it is with that purpose in mind. 

A don't raise money for a cure.  I don't expect cures for any autoimmune diseases in Emma's lifetime. I expect that she will live her entire life with this disease. I suspect medications will improve, as they have already over the years, and she will likely experience many of them. She will have good days and bad days, and she will be braver and stronger than me for the trials that she will have to face. 

Rather than focus on the hope of a cure that may never come, I focus on what I know she can have, what I know she needs: community, support, and love. These will serve as sources of strength to help her through her hard days. 

Hoping for a better future is important, so hope for a cure if you want. For me, recognizing the good that we can do in each other's lives now, today, is the most effective way of making a brighter future for all of us. 

Want to build up my community and share in some support and love? Plan to walk with us, for free, on Saturday, May 14th at 10am in Livermore. Go to Emma's page here: TEAM EMMA & MADELYN, then click the button that says "Join My Team."