“You don’t realise how much you need to use your hands until they are affected by arthritis.”

Emma is one of over 100,000 New Zealanders with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a diagnosis she received at age 21.

Emma Ward

“I was sitting an exam at university,” she says, “I could barely hold my pen and was in extraordinary pain for the entire exam.”

RA is an autoimmune condition, believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Emma has both an aunt and an uncle with the same diagnosis.

Her day-to-day life now involves frequent flare-ups of pain, mainly in her hands and wrists, and it’s because her body’s immune system is attacking her joints and inflaming them.

“You don’t realise how much you need to use your hands until they are affected! I’ve had trouble opening jars, brushing hair, reaching for things on shelves. Once, I had to get help from my flatmate in washing my hair
because of a bad shoulder flare-up. It felt really humiliating.”

Emma sums up the pain of living with arthritis quite simply: Having a chronic condition with no cure can be very isolating and depressing. Emma has a positive mindset, but sometimes she gets down when thinking about the fact that her condition will only get worse in her lifetime.

Arthritis means constant flare-ups of pain, difficulties with simple tasks, the feeling of isolation… when support isn’t available to people in these situations, the pain can take over.

How can you help people like Emma?

By donating to Arthritis New Zealand you are helping to provide to people with arthritis, at no cost to them:

An 0800 helpline with direct access to trained, professional arthritis educators, ready to provide advice on living well with arthritis.

Access to seminars, webinars and other online support channels where people with arthritis can ask questions, find out useful information, and share experiences and tips with others.

An annual camp for young children with arthritis. This is set up exclusively as a fun environment where they, and a parent, can learn all about how to manage the condition.

National advocacy on behalf of all people with arthritis. Everyday things such as food and beverage packaging can be challenging for people with arthritis to deal with. Your gift will help fund the ongoing campaign
to make packaging more accessible to people with arthritis.


If you have arthritis – call us. We’ll help! (0800 663 463)
If you know someone with arthritis – support us. You’ll help!


To help us to provide information and advice to people with arthritis, please consider making a donation

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