Robyn Young, age 60, from Pukerau in Gore was diagnosed with aggressive rheumatoid arthritis, first noticed April 2018, and diagnosed by a Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist in May 2018. Robyn is a recreational walker and takes part in Duathlons, doing both the biking and the walking.

Robyn was in education administration for more than 20 years, the last 10 in the careers area, and is now retired.

“Arthritis attacked me very quickly. I went from winning a 10km walking race one month, to barely walking a month later. It progressed from my feet to ankles, knees, wrists, then fingers in just days. No time for adjusting or accepting. Couldn’t open toothpaste, jars, hold socks to put them on.”

Robyn’s chose to pay the price to see a specialist as soon as possible – no matter where she needed to travel. “I was not prepared to wait three months. In hindsight if that had been the case I would not have been able to be treated so successfully,” she says.

Robyn’s family, friends and colleagues have all been incredibly supportive and were in shock and disbelief at the speed of the onset. “I do feel fatigued and get brain fog, but I have accepted that it is what it is, I can’t change it. Professionals are treating me, and I am far more comfortable and more mobile than a lot of others suffering from the same condition.”

Robyn fit and is sad that arthritis has inhibited her stamina for power walking; however, she still walks as much as she can.

Robyn follows the Arthritis New Zealand Facebook page for tips and advice and attended Arthritis New Zealand’s workshops in Gore.

Together with another woman, they began a support group in Gore, which has now been thriving for over a year.

Arthritis can affect anyone at any age, and new figures released in 2018 reveal that more than 670,000 people in New Zealand have a form of arthritis (osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and more than 140 other types), 48% of which are of working age.

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