No one survives life’s toughest challenges alone. Sometimes we have our family, friends and medical professionals by our side to help us. And sometimes, the most important thing we can do is learn from other stories of survival. When we meet people who have not only experienced something similar but actually came through it better and stronger, it provides hope and inspiration. We invite you to Share Your Story of “Surviving & Thriving.” Your words could be just the thing someone needs to keep moving forward. Share the gift of hope.
As told by Stephanie Aleite:
Most days I wake up stiff and in pain. It’s been like that almost as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 5. Now I am 23 years old. I have difficulty zipping up my pants, pulling a brush through my hair and turning door handles.
People often ask me what a young person is doing with what is traditionally thought of as an older person’s disease. I’m LIVING! After experiencing years of frustration, anger and wondering “why me?,” I’ve turned my life around. I strut with my cane rather than stuffing it away in a closet along with my pride.
Academically ahead of her age, Stephanie began college at the age of 16, but due to the progression of her disease, Stephanie ended up leaving school and refocusing her life on helping other “20-something” RA sufferers. She began a blog to reach out to others just like her and is constantly on the search for new ways to better manage this disease. “Technology can be super-empowering.” She wants others to know that they too can feel empowered to do something. “There are a lot of us (young RA sufferers) out there,” she says. “I feel that by talking to them through social media and other public avenues, I can encourage them to take control too.”
Stephanie and her doctor want all sufferers, no matter how young or old, to understand what is available to them in their fight with RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is a degenerative, very painful autoimmune disease that attacks the joints and can cause severe disability. 1.5 million Americans have RA. Follow Stephanie’s blog at http://www.theyoungfaceofarthritis.com/.