“It’s amazing that in my own lifetime I’ve seen such dramatic changes in how arthritis is treated. People are now treated proactively rather than reactively and I know that it’s because of research. I also know that research can’t happen without funding.”
Those are the words of Anna Marie Frediani, a long-time champion and supporter of The Arthritis Society. Anna Marie was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1985 and later learned that she had two additional forms of inflammatory arthritis (IA). Her life became one of pain, disfigurement and further complications that eventually led to hospitalization and the loss of a job she loved. At the time, she said, she felt helpless with nowhere to turn.
It was only when she heard about The Arthritis Society and their programs that she acquired the tools that would help her get through her days. She found a reliable source of information and support groups and enrolled in the Arthritis Self-Management Program. “They taught me how to live with this disease. Now whenever anyone asks me how to live after diagnosis, I tell them they need to contact The Arthritis Society.”
To Anna Marie, living with arthritis means acceptance and understanding of the reality but it doesn’t mean passivity. Since making her first donation to The Society in 1989, she has done all she can to make sure that those who are diagnosed with arthritis today never have to face the same challenges she did. In 2009, she took her commitment to a whole new level and created the Anna Marie Frediani Research Fund. To date, she has contributed over $200,000 to research. Through this Fund, Anna Marie is able to direct her donation to one of the many research projects that have been approved by The Arthritis Society. In her experience, this has helped the research become more tangible for her. She has seen for herself how research makes life better, noting how the “miraculous” new treatments over the past 15 years have vastly improved outcomes for people with IA. And she knows that the future of arthritis research is even more promising.
Today, Anna Marie Frediani continues to be a dedicated and respected supporter of The Arthritis Society. Her story is just one of many that can be found throughout The Society’s family of patients, donors, researchers and employees. It is a story of giving back that reflects the symbiotic circle of helping that is a part of the journey towards a cure and a better life for all people living with arthritis.
(Photo caption: Anna Marie (far right), with The Society’s President & CEO Janet Yale and distinguished researcher Dr. Jeff Dixon. Anna Marie has contributed over $200,000 to research to date.)