It’s a common enough reaction – so what? Isn’t it just old people that get arthritis?
There are some quick and devastating counters to this:
So what about the fact that half the people with arthritis in New Zealand are of working age?
So what about the children and teens who have arthritis? Many people are not aware that arthritis affects all age groups
So what that by 2040 one million people of all ages will have arthritis?
So what that an injury in your 20s can lead to arthritis in your 40s?
So what that arthritis is a leading form of disability in New Zealand. It causes chronic pain, is linked with mental illness and social isolation and can lead to early retirement and loss of earning capacity.
So what that New Zealand has more gout arthritis per capita than any other country in the world and that gout arthritis disproportionately affects Māori and Pacific
In fact arthritis is a huge deal in this country and in the next week people with arthritis will share their stories to help counter the myths and get people to stop saying so what?
The stories show that arthritis affects all ages. The stories show that people with arthritis are fed up of being told to “get on with it, it’s just arthritis” or “come back in 6 months when the pain is worse”. Some stories are from people who spent up to a decade or two trying to get a diagnosis. Some stories come from people cut down in their prime and reduced to pain and mental health issues because of arthritis. The stories come from people who have had enough of “so what?”
Often people assume that the work of Arthritis New Zealand is funded by government when in fact we receive only 19% of our funding from government contracts. The rest comes from community fundraising.
That’s why this week you will see people out collecting for Arthritis New Zealand.