JAM 2012 – tomorrow!

March 2, 2012

JAM team members, Bloomington, MN 2011

Tomorrow morning the Arthritis Foundation, Upper Midwest Region chapter, will be hosting its annual JAM (Juvenile Arthritis March) fundraising walk at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. I will be arriving at the event at an insanely early hour to get ready to take photos of the walk. This will be my third year photographing JAM and I’m looking forward to it, of course! It’s always so wonderful to see all of the families and kids who participate to raise money to find a cure for arthritis. Coming together as a group for an important cause really is an inspiration (maybe sappy, but true). I’ll post some of the photos of the walk soon – hope I get some good ones!

For more information about JAM and how to get involved, click here:

2012 Juvenile Arthritis March: Mall of America 

Arthritis Advocacy Summit

February 17, 2012

Ok, I did it. I registered today.

I’M GOING TO D.C. IN APRIL!!! Whooo!!!

2012 Advocacy Summit in D.C.

February 16, 2012

So…should I go? I signed up last year and then canceled because I was going through a weird time of having anxiety attacks (see older posts for more info on that). I’ve been wanting to go to this summit for a few years now and I keep finding reasons (excuses) to not go. Well, the main reason is that I can’t really afford it. Right now I’m trying so hard to pay off bills and to get out of debt. Yet here come the expensive medical bills once again. It’s a never-ending cycle.

Anyway! I’m also bummed out that I missed the chance to apply for two different travel grants/scholarships offered by the Arthritis Foundation for the summit. I’m always missing deadlines, dammit! But, you know, my instinct keeps telling me to just go for it. I would love to be able to meet with members of Congress to urge them to support funding for arthritis research and other arthritis and health care issues. It’s something that I’m very passionate about and I want to get more involved with the political side of advocacy.

Here’s more info online about the summit:

The 2012 Advocacy Summit

 

Margo’s Story

September 28, 2011

This video is really good! I found it on the Arthritis Foundation’s Facebook page.

I gave up playing the piano (I had taken lessons for nine years) 14 years ago when I was diagnosed with RA. This girl is amazing – maybe there’s hope I can play again too?

Arthritis Walk 2011

September 27, 2011

The Arthritis Walk 2011, Edina, MN

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while but I’ve been busy working at a new temp job for the last month and doing a million other things - doctor’s appointments, photography stuff, volunteer work, passing out on the couch, etc. Last weekend was a busy one, but it was pretty good. The Arthritis Foundation’s annual Arthritis Walk was held at a lovely park in Edina last Saturday morning. I volunteered to take photos again for my local chapter, The Upper Midwest Region. Luckily it was a perfect, beautiful day for the walk and a lot of people participated in the event, raising money for the Arthritis Foundation. Also exciting, a few of my photos were shown on the local news broadcast later that night (KARE 11 News/NBC) and I was credited for them (this did not happen last year)!  As soon as I get a chance I’ll upload the photos to the MN chapter’s Shutterfly site:

http://arthritisfoundation.shutterfly.com

The Arthritis Walk, Sept. 24, 2011

Dear President Obama

August 12, 2011

Just saw this posted on Facebook by The Arthritis Foundation! Good stuff.

Casino Night

June 16, 2011

Sunday night I took photos at Justin Morneau’s Casino Night which has become an annual fundraising event put on by the Arthritis Foundation’s North Central chapter. Justin Morneau is the first baseman for the Minnesota Twins baseball team and started the event in 2009 to raise funds and create awareness about arthritis. He became involved with the Arthritis Foundation after his niece was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at age two. This was the second year I took photographs at the event as a volunteer, and I think I managed to get some good shots (I hope).

Casino Night sold out this year with over 400 people attending the event. The guests were excited to have the chance to socialize and “gamble” with Twins players while raising money to go toward funding research and services for people suffering from arthritis. Taking photos at Casino Night was a lot of fun, but it was also an added bonus to be able to talk with friends I’ve made through volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation for the last 11 years. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long. I’ve been lucky to meet some very kind, supportive, inspiring and fantastic people while doing volunteer work. I can’t recommend it enough.

If you would like to see some of the photos from Casino Night, check out the Arthritis Foundation’s Shutterfly site:  http://arthritisfoundation.shutterfly.com

JAM 2011

March 28, 2011

All of the kids wearing black t-shirts have arthritis

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post about JAM, but I’ve been dealing with a particularly painful flare-up for the last few weeks.  My right wrist was especially bad, which made typing difficult. GOOD NEWS – the flare-up is much better!  And, I didn’t have to go back on prednisone.  I just kept trying to eat healthy, stayed off caffeine, took fish oil capsules consistently, and tried to get more sleep.  With this mysterious disease, who knows really why the flare-up occurred and/or why it’s now better.  I wish I had some answers instead of guesses.  I’m so happy to not be in such pain anymore though – I hope it lasts.

Here are a few photos that I took at the Juvenile Arthritis March (JAM) at the Mall of America March 5th.  It was my second year photographing JAM for the Arthritis Foundation and it proved once again to be an excellent event.  My only complaint is that I feel I maybe got better photos last year.  For some reason, the Arthritis Foundation had TWO additional people taking photos.  These two girls really got on my nerves by the end of the walk because they kept jumping in front of me “stealing” my shots.  I don’t know why three people were needed to take candid shots.  But anyway, it was a great experience again and really inspiring to see all of the people who participated in the walk and who raised money for the Arthritis Foundation.

If you’re interested, you can see more photos on the Arthritis Foundation’s Shutterfly site:  http://arthritisfoundation.shutterfly.com

The kids loved watching the band Koo Koo Kangaroo perform onstage

JAM

February 28, 2011

JAM 2010, Mall of America

This Saturday is the annual Juvenile Arthritis March (JAM) which is held at the Mall of America in Bloomington.  It’s a pretty big event with families walking together in order to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation.  I took photos at JAM last year for the first time which was also the beginning of my volunteer work photographing other Arthritis Foundation events.  I’m really looking forward to helping out again (despite needing to arrive there at 6:30 AM).  It’s inspiring to see so many people coming together to work hard for such a personal cause.  All of the kids (and adults) wearing blue T-shirts last year were people who had some form of arthritis.  I was 18 years old when I was diagnosed with RA, which is very young, but it’s nothing compared to the courageous little kids who are forced to deal with this debilitating disease at such young ages.  Suddenly having the intense physical and emotional pain of RA thrust upon me at age 18 was incredibly devastating, yet I’m very grateful I was able to have a normal pain-free childhood. Many of the kids who participate in JAM each year will most likely never be able to experience that.  Finding a cure for arthritis is important for everyone who suffers from the disease – but especially for the little ones.  No child should have to suffer from constant pain.

The Art of Finding A Cure

December 9, 2010

Northeast Minneapolis, 2010

A lot of things have been going on lately related to my arthritis.  Some good, some bad, some incredibly frustrating.  “The Art of Finding A Cure” was an extremely good “arthritis thing” I participated in last Saturday night.  The event was organized by The Arthritis Foundation and included an excellent presentation by nationally renowned rheumatologist Dr. James Louie, who  profiled the life and works of famous artists who had varying forms of arthritis, including Pierre Auguste Renoir, Raoul Dufy, John Outterbridge and Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec.

Pierre Auguste Renoir, "On the Terrace," 1881, Oil on canvas

In addition to Dr. Louie’s presentation, and a nice dinner, there was also an exhibition of artwork made by children and young adults who have arthritis.  The artwork was bid on and auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Arthritis Foundation.  I had two of my own photographs in the exhibition/auction which are included in this post (black & white smoke stack photo and a photo of the construction of the new Lowry Bridge in NE Minneapolis).  I was happily surprised to see that both of my photos were bid on and sold!

Construction of the Lowry Bridge, NE Minneapolis, 2010

It was a great night and I’m really glad I went to and participated in the event.  Seeing the creativity and care put into the artwork made by the kids and young adults as well as learning more about other great artists who suffered immensely due to arthritis was quite an inspiration.  It’s wonderful to see people fighting for their passions in life and not letting arthritis or other diseases stop them from doing what they love.  I need to remind myself of the importance of this more often.

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