Arthritis news from Manitoba

September 1, 2016

Living Well With Arthritis – A Free Public Forum

September is Arthritis Awareness Month. It’s also the time to settle back into fall routines – returning to work or school, and regularly scheduled activities. 

If you, or a loved one, are one of the 200,000+ Manitobans living with arthritis, it can be time-consuming to find the answers you need to live well with the disease. 

You may be trying to balance your arthritis, work, and family, like Contessa Benson of Winnipeg.

“I was 40 and the difficulties in mobility were overwhelming. I was physically and emotionally drained because of the pain. 

At work with typing, getting up and down from my chair. At home with grabbing, twisting and holding things. I needed help from my husband and my four-year-old son. Help pouring milk, cutting my food and eating because my jaws were difficult to open. 

After trial and errors in medications and visits to the doctor for nine months, I found The Arthritis Society.”

On Saturday, September 17 at the downtown Radisson Winnipeg, you can find us and get your arthritis questions answered at no cost. 

The program will feature rheumatologist Dr. Annaliese Tisseverasinghe. From 9:30am to 1:30pm, a panel of arthritis healthcare professionals will present and lead discussions about medications, the benefits of movement, how to protect your joints, what foods are best to eat, and more.

Register today! All are welcome.

Advance registration required by September 14. A nutritious lunch is included. Please let us know about any dietary requirements and any accommodation/accessibility needs.

Amileah’s First Family Day

Is your family impacted by juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)? You are not alone. More than 600 kids in Manitoba live with JIA.  

Join us Sunday, October 2 at Dakota Community Centre for Family Day. Connect with other families dealing with JIA like Amileah Cook and her grandmother Genevie. 

Amileah is 10 years old. Genevie first noticed symptoms when Amileah was a toddler. “Amileah would be hot, then cold, from one extreme to the other over and over again. Her knees buckled up and she kept falling, too.” 

Genevie took Amileah to the doctor for x-rays and blood work. Then came a positive diagnosis for JRA.

Immediately, Amileah had two steroid injections in one knee, giving ease of movement, but one leg grew a couple centimetres longer than the other.

Despite everything, Amileah has been in dancing lessons for three years, swims once a week, and loves rollerskating. She was the #2 Youth Fundraiser for the 2016 Wawanesa Insurance Walk to Fight Arthritis and won a national prize.

Amileah and Genevie look forward to their first Family Day. “Thank you for thinking of us,” says Genevie. “We can’t wait to attend. Amileah’s great-grandmother is coming too.”

The program will feature pediatric rheumatologist Dr. Kerstin Gerhold. Topics will include: medications, coping with difficult emotions, exercise, and the latest treatments for JIA. The Teen Support Program will be launched, and Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre will give an interactive presentation just for kids. 

Financial support is available for families living outside of Winnipeg. Get all the details here and register online  today!

Welcoming and training new volunteers: Victoria Gratton’s story

Welcome volunteers training on September 7 to lead the Chronic Pain Management Workshop

Victoria Gratton is entering her 4th year of Exercise Science at The University of Winnipeg. She first joined as a  Wawanesa Insurance Walk to Fight Arthritis volunteer. Her story:

Q. Volunteering inspiration?

A. I found out about opportunities through my Kinesiology Student Association. I always promised myself that I would volunteer somewhere while in university. The Society offered a range of activities that would challenge me and improve my understanding of arthritis. 

Q. Favourite Walk moment?

A. When I handed out coloured stickers that represented the different types of arthritis [Colours of Pain]. This showed me that arthritis is more prevalent that I thought. I was surprised to learn how many types there are, that it is possible to have more than one and to see the number of people it actually affects, directly or indirectly.

Q. Why deliver arthritis education?

A. Because it will allow me to help educate individuals about their disease, and teach them how to effectively manage it. I can potentially use this information in Exercise Physiology. 

Q. Your message to potential volunteers?

A. This is a great opportunity to help make others’ lives better, as well as your own. You meet new people and contribute to a good cause. You learn about yourself and your interests, while making a positive impact.

Thanks so much Victoria! It’s never too late to sign up and join us! 

Click here to apply online or contact Allison Kirkland, Education & Services Coordinator by e-mail at, or by phone at 204.942.4892, toll-free 1.800.321.1433.