Impact Newsletter - February 2018

National Highlights


More funding pledged towards Stop Childhood Arthritis

The Arthritis Society announced earlier this month our position as contributing partner in Genome Canada’s announcement of $10 million in new funding to accelerate research into personalized medicine for childhood arthritis.

Genome Canada is providing $5 million of the total commitment. The Arthritis Society – the only charity contributing to this initiative – will provide $1 million, while the remainder will come from Ontario Genomics, Genome Alberta, SickKids and Alberta Children’s Hospital. The funding is part of a blockbuster $255 million commitment announced by the federal government to support genomic research.

Our involvement represents the next important phase of Stop Childhood Arthritis, the five-year, $5-million investment we announced last year that is funding research into personalized medicine aimed at stopping childhood arthritis in its tracks.

The goal of this work is to allow doctors to tailor treatment to the profile of the individual child. Simply put, personalized medicine means delivering the right treatment, at the right time, to the right person.

Childhood arthritis is a group of rare conditions affecting three in every 1,000 Canadian children. These aggressive diseases can strike infants, children and teens, and can devastate lives: some of these children have literally never known a day without pain. We are close to delivering answers, and we owe it to these most vulnerable members of our community to see that work through to completion, because no child should live with unnecessary pain.

For more information, or to donate in support our childhood arthritis initiatives, please visit


Walk for Arthritis – A new name and a new look!

Arthritis Society - Walk for ArthritisLate last year we announced a new brand identity for the Arthritis Society. Along with this, we have a new website and a new logo, so we felt it was the right time to give the Walk a new look and feel. Our new name, the Walk for Arthritis, embodies our new brand as well as a shortened name for clear and decisive messaging.

The Walk for Arthritis is now entering its ninth year, having raised $10 million since its inception. This has contributed to the funding of cutting-edge research, but it is not enough. More is needed to fund researchers that are providing innovative solutions for those affected with arthritis. We need your help.

As the prevalence of arthritis increases, so does the demand for research. Let’s make 2018 a record breaking year, allowing the Arthritis Society to fund even more research! The Walk for Arthritis is your chance to help in a community based setting and make a difference in the lives of those who are impacted most by this disease.

Registration is now open! Please visit our NEW Walk website at:


Arthritis in the Workplace - Have your Say!

Arthritis affects individuals in many aspects of their lives including the ability to work and contribute in the workplace. One of our partner organizations, the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance , has developed a survey to help better understand the workplace challenges faced by people with arthritis, the type and effectiveness of personal and workplace accommodations and the effectiveness of available resources.

We would appreciate if you could please take 10-15 minutes to complete this survey so we can better understand the issues facing people with arthritis. Your input will guide the development of workplace tools and advocacy activities to improve the lives of Canadians with arthritis. Have your say and take the survey now!


Cura Health donates portion of Revlex™ Arthritis Pain Relief sales

revlexWe would like to welcome Canadian company Cura Health as a new partner of the Arthritis Society. As the makers of Revlex™ brand medication, Cura Health will donate 50 cents* from the sale of each bottle of Revlex™ Arthritis Pain Relief to the Arthritis Society.

To learn more about Revlex™, purchase online or to find a retailer nearest you, please visit their website.

We thank Cura Health for their continued support towards arthritis research and programs in Canada.

* There are no min/max conditions.


eTreatMD named as “National Digital Health Innovation Champion” by the Arthritis Society

We are proud to name eTreatMD as our National Digital Health Champion in recognition of their spirit of innovation on behalf of people with arthritis.

eTreatMD is a mobility health (mHealth) app and software developer focused on providing solutions for managing chronic conditions. eTreatMD developed LiveWith Arthritis, an arthritis app that enables users to measure, monitor and manage their arthritis. LiveWith Arthritis is now approved by Health Canada as a Class II medical device. While most arthritis apps can only record symptoms, LiveWith Arthritis can measure physical changes and help people living with arthritis see exactly how their pain connects to factors like weather, activity and treatment. The app empowers people with meaningful information that they can use to help better manage their condition, prevent painful flare-ups, and determine the most effective ways to relieve their pain. With input from the Arthritis Society, LiveWith Arthritis has been expanded from a pilot version that focused on arthritis of the hand, to the current version that now allows the user to track and monitor arthritis in other joints.

The app not only tracks treatments over time, but also evaluates the impact of treatments as they relate to changes in symptoms. It automatically pulls and assesses data from environmental conditions like weather and location, and lets users easily monitor arthritis flare-ups and what they may be related to. The app complies with important health privacy requirements in the US and Canada, providing reliable information while ensuring privacy in how user information is stored.



Arthritis Webcast Forum to reach thousands

One of the most ambitious arthritis education events to ever take place in Western Canada is coming in March.

The Arthritis Society Prairie Region presents a unique Webcast Forum entitled Arthritis Access to Care, a live and online event originating in Edmonton and simulcast theatre-style to eager audiences in Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina and online.

Learn the importance of an early diagnosis and understanding your type of arthritis along with tests and questions to ask your doctor and how to access the right care for arthritis. Guest speakers include rheumatologist, primary care physician and first-hand account from one of our patient advocates.

Audience members, live and online, will have ample opportunity to ask questions of the presenters.

“After the success of a similar education event in Quebec last year, we felt it was time to leverage technology and present this very comprehensive forum in a way that will appeal to a mass audience,” says Arthritis Society Executive Director Shirley Philips.

“Many people who are anxious to get more information about arthritis prefer to attend live forums where they can listen to the speakers and interact with them in person. They like to be with like-minded people with similar interests and challenges,” she explains. “Others are completely tuned into the online world and get their information from the Internet. That particular audience can watch online. This Webcast Forum has the potential to help thousands of people deal more effectively with their arthritis.”

This free event runs 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm MT on Thursday, March 22, 2018 live from the Lister Centre, U of A in Edmonton and on the big screen at the Cardel Theatre in Calgary, plus the Cosmo Civic Centre in Saskatoon and the Eden Care Health Centre in Regina, beginning at 7:30 pm CT.

Pre-registration for live and online viewing is required by visiting the Arthritis Society website.

Thank you to event sponsors CELGENE and ALBERTA BLUE CROSS.



Parents Encouraged to Join Family Match Program in Saskatchewan

Benjamin YankoWhen a child is diagnosed with arthritis, parents run the gamut of emotions. Despair, sorrow, confusion and occasionally, joy. Who better to understand than other parents going through the same thing.

Introducing families newly coping with startling arthritis diagnosis to other families further down the road of experience is the mission of the Arthritis Society’s Family Match Program. The program was developed several years ago in Alberta, a province with the second-highest incidence of Childhood Arthritis in Canada. In Saskatchewan, families will be encouraged to join the Match Program during Childhood Arthritis Family Day on March 17 in Saskatoon.

“Parents of children newly diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis often have difficulty navigating the healthcare system and have questions as they start to manage the disease and care for their child,” says Liz Kehler, Manager of Education and Services for the Arthritis Society, Prairie Region.

“The Family Match program gives families some additional guidance. They feel more supported and less isolated.”

Last fall, volunteers attended training in Saskatoon to help them facilitate successful connections between families. One of those volunteers was Janine Rozon of Regina, whose son Benjamin has very rare Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Many of the hospital nurses hadn’t even heard of it when the family received the diagnosis in 2016.

“It would have been great to have somebody to bounce ideas off, and to know what the course of treatments might be."

Janine said she is anxious to be part of the Family Match Program so other parents will know that they’re not alone on their journey.

The Family Match program will be launched on Family Day, March 17 at the Cosmo Civic Centre in Saskatoon, organized by the Arthritis Society Saskatchewan Division and generously funded by Access Communications Children’s Fund, the Saskatoon Community Foundation, Community Initiatives Fund and SaskTel TelCare.

Family Day Registration is open on the Arthritis Society’s website.



Meet the Faces of Childhood Arthritis March 9 in Winnipeg

The 4th Annual Faces of Childhood Arthritis Luncheon takes place Friday, March 9, 2018, at The Met in Winnipeg. To date, this event has raised over $60,000 to help children and families living with Childhood Arthritis (CA). This disease affects 4 out of 1,300 children - more children than any other chronic disease.

Arthritis Society Regional Manager Donna Wills expects 230 people to attend the fundraising lunch which she says has a very special focus this year.

“We are pleased to announce that for the first time ever, the Arthritis Society will host a Summer Camp in July for kids aged 8 to 17 years with Childhood Arthritis at BB Camp on Lake of the Woods,” Wills explains. “All proceeds from the Faces Luncheon will help send kids to camp by subsidizing the registration fee, making summer camp affordable for all of our families.”

She says it’s difficult for children with arthritis to attend traditional camps, which often don’t have the facilities, medical staff or the modified activities they require. At the Arthritis Society’s camp, kids can be kids, making friends and feeling that they are not alone in battling their disease.

During the lunch, guests will meet a roster of Childhood Arthritis ambassadors who will share what it is like to live with arthritis and their excitement at the prospect of a special camp made just for them.

One of this year’s participating families is the Stipanovics of Winnipeg. As a returning Ambassador, Matthew Stipanovic says he enjoys coming to the Faces of Childhood Arthritis Luncheon.

“It’s nice to meet other kids with arthritis, listen to their stories, and share my story,” he notes.

His mother, Ana Stipanovic, is looking forward to July’s camp.

“Camp is important because it helps kids develop connections with others who live with arthritis. They can enjoy the camp experience without having to be singled out as being “different”, she explains.

“It also gives parents some peace of mind knowing that medical needs will be addressed as necessary.”

Radio host Phil Aubrey of Power 97 will MC this year’s noon hour event. Aubrey has a personal interest in the cause, as his young son Jack was diagnosed with Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis more than a year ago. He says that he is “beyond honoured to participate in this event.”

Winnipeg Pediatric Rheumatologist Dr. Kerstin Gerhold made Jack’s diagnosis and is also the keynote speaker at the March 9 luncheon.

Corporate tables are available for $1,000 and individual tickets are $75 available through the Arthritis Society’s website.


A special visit on Giving Tuesday

A special visit on Giving TuesdayThe highlight of the holiday season in the Arthritis Society’s Winnipeg office was a special visit from the Manitoba Premier’s wife, Mrs. Esther Pallister, who arrived with gift in hand.

As part of her Winnipeg rounds on Giving Tuesday in late November, Mrs. Pallister dropped in to the Buffalo Place office with a generous donation, which she made in honour of several family members.

Mrs. Pallister chatted with staff members and explained that she and her husband, Brian Pallister, had first-hand experience with the disease. “Through Brian’s mom and my dad, we saw the pain and triumph of arthritis. We wish to extend our support and encouragement to the individuals and families affected by the disease.”

“We were delighted to have a personal visit from Mrs. Pallister,” said Lynne McCarthy, Chair of the Manitoba Division Advisory Board who was on hand to receive the cheque. “We experienced the Pallister’s generosity and their genuine interest in the difference the Arthritis Society is making in the lives of Manitobans living with arthritis.”

Giving Tuesday has become a global movement, following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and is now regarded as the opening of the giving season. This year, Giving Tuesday will fall on Nov 27.

(Photo left to right: Donna Wills, Regional Manager, Manitoba Division; Lynne McCarthy, Division Advisory Board Chair, Manitoba Division; Mrs. Esther Pallister; Mia Dunn, Fund Development Manager, Manitoba Division)



Camp Cambria Registration Opens!

As the holiday season is all wrapped up, children are directing their excitement to the Summer season and all the fun activities in the sun. For most Canadian children, summer camp is a quintessential rite of passage. Unfortunately, not all children have this opportunity, and that is especially the case for kids with Juvenile Arthritis. Traditional Summer camps do not have the proper medical staff and facilities, or a curriculum with modified games and activities that children with Arthritis require.

Arthritis presents itself in different ways that exhibit different symptoms. This makes is it difficult for other people to see and understand what children with arthritis are going through. Often a child with arthritis is challenged with day-to-day tasks such as eating and dressing. This makes it very hard for a young child to live their life and enjoy their childhood. Kids should have the opportunity to go to camp and have fun in an environment tailored to kids with their disease, where they are comfortable and able to be themselves. They should be able to play, build friendships, and make memories just like any other child.

Camp Cambria is a solution for children living with arthritis in Ontario. Camp Cambria is a six-day overnight retreat for Ontario children and youth ages 8-17* who are living with arthritis or related conditions.

This experience features many exciting amenities and activities for the campers to enjoy. Kids have an opportunity to take on fun challenges like canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and waterskiing in a safe and controlled environment. They can also take part in other familiar camp activities such as fishing, swimming, and arts and crafts. Camp Cambria allows for children affected by a difficult disease to experience the fun and excitement of summer camp, just like every kid.

The camp will be held August 20 to 25, 2018 at Camp Kodiak, north of Parry Sound in the heart of Ontario cottage country. Registration is now open! For more information or to register, visit the Camp Cambria website,



Mark your calendar

Quebec Forum on ArthritisThe Quebec Forum on Arthritis is returning to Montreal! The 5th edition of this one-of-a-kind event will be held on Saturday, November 10, 2018 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal. Our team at the Arthritis Society is planning an exciting event with 30 seminars and workshops, including webcasts, satellite events and of course a trade show. Follow us on Facebook or keep an eye on our e-newsletter for registration information! (Photo credit: Frédéric Lavoie, photograph)

Bon gout à l'oeuvreLe Bon goût à l’œuvre will take place on March 22, 2018 at Hôtel Château Laurier Québec. This prestigious champagne-tasting event is not only an Arthritis Society fundraiser, it’s also a great opportunity to network with businesspeople from across the region. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here. (Photo credit: Frédéric Lavoie, photograph)


Hand in Hand offered in Montreal

Hand in HandHand in Hand, a support and information program, is finally being offered in Montreal through the CHU Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Children's Hospital. The program provides patients and families with information on childhood arthritis and support services. It also includes peer-support services, seminars and informal social activities to help people build a supportive network and learn to live more comfortably with the disease. For more information, contact Rébécca Larose, Program Coordinator, at 514.846.8840, extension 2438 or


A study on complementary treatments for arthritis

Complementary treatments for arthritisWith the support of its partners, the Arthritis Society – Quebec Division has commissioned a study with the aim of taking concrete steps towards access to complementary care for Quebeckers living with inflammatory arthritis. Primary care in Quebec is universal, but access to additional health care services – like physical therapy, occupational therapy, kinesiotherapy, nutrition and psychotherapy – varies widely depending on insurance coverage and each patient’s financial situation. This injustice limits the capacity of people living with arthritis to access these forms of care. We believe that this situation needs to be addressed to improve the odds of people living with arthritis in terms of rehabilitation, patient adherence, ability to work, and a possibility to live better with the disease.

You too would like to take action? Contact us at


Ask a pharmacist

Question pour un pharmacien (Ask a Pharmacist) is an app that allows users to get reliable answers about health issues or medications within 24 hours, thanks to a network of 142 pharmacists from across Quebec. It’s available in French only, but questions can be asked in English. Why not give it a try? The service is both confidential and free! Here’s an example:

Question: Woman, age 50, 2 months ago

I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and Crohn’s disease. I am currently taking methotrexate and cortisone, and soon I will start taking a bit of Cimzia. Could I benefit from a product such as Genacol Optimum?


Genacol Optimum contains glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen, which are helpful for osteoarthritis (non-inflammatory joint pain). Since the conditions you describe in your question are mainly related to inflammation, it’s unlikely that Genacol would help you. That said, you may be experiencing a bit of osteoarthritis, despite your young age. You can try Genacol for 23 months to see if it helps, even though it’s not likely. For your information, Genacol does not interact with the medications you listed in your question. Best regards, Alexandre Chagnon, pharmacist.


Thank you for your prompt reply.



New Brunswick

Camp JoinTogether Registration is open!

Camp JoinTogether - The Arthritis SocietyThe Arthritis Society is proud to offer Camp JoinTogether, a week-long overnight camp, to Maritime children living with childhood arthritis or similar conditions. Through amazing fundraising that happens all year long, the Society was thrilled to offer the largest camp to date in 2017 – welcoming 94 children to spend a week at Camp JoinTogether, where the fun lasts forever.

Registration has opened at and will close June 15, 2018.

Those looking for more information are encouraged to contact Jone Mitchell at 902.429.7025.

Running the Bluenose Marathon in May?

Join our Scotiabank Challenge team and run for a good cause! If you are running/walking the 5km, 10km, ½ marathon or full marathon and would like to join the Arthritis Society’s Team and raise funds, please contact Joni Mitchell at 902.429.7025 ext 8232 or Nicole Barron at 902.429.7025 ext 8225.

The first 10 people will receive free registration.


Prince Edward Island


Making ‘Rheum’ for Arthritis: A Family Effort in Summerside and Charlottetown

No one plans to live with the pain, stiffness, and swelling of arthritis, and the effects of the disease can be devastating to all those that arthritis effects.

The Arthritis Society’s Making ‘Rheum’ for Arthritis, funded by United Way of PEI, welcomes community members living with arthritis, their family, friends, and caregivers to meet and learn from each other while welcoming guest speakers to share information on how to make ‘rheum’ for arthritis in the lives the disease effects.

The Arthritis Society is thrilled to offer the program in Charlottetown and Summerside, and those interested in the program are encouraged to contact the Arthritis Society office at 902.628.2288 or to register or for more information.


Upcoming Programs

Making ‘Rheum’ for Arthritis: A Family Effort: Join the Arthritis Society and others in your community to learn how to manage arthritis, and make ‘rheum’ for the disease in your life. We are thrilled to welcome a local Tai Chi group who will show a demonstration and talk about the benefits of Tai Chi. To register call 902-628.2288 or online at

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 1-3pm at the Summerside Inspire Learning Centre.

8-week Mobility Works Program: Learn more about arthritis, how to exercise safely using a resistance band, and why physical activity is an essential part of managing your disease and chronic pain. To register call 902-628-2288 or online at

  • Wednesdays, February 7 – March 28, at 10am at Sobeys on Babineau St.

Overcoming Sleep and Fatigue: Knowledge is power! Attend this one hour program to get a better understanding of what arthritis is, how it affects your body and what techniques you can try to manage fatigue and live a more active life. To register call 902-628-2288 or online at

  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018 1-2pm Confederation Public Library in Charlottetown

** Be sure to keep your eye out for the upcoming 6-week Senior Lifestyle Makeover Challenge coming back to PEI! After the success of the program in 2015, the Arthritis Society is pleased to welcome the program back with the help of the Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for Islanders living with the pain, stiffness, and swelling of arthritis. Join this 6-week program featuring various members of your health team to gain knowledge, skills, and confidence to take control of your disease.

  • Bluenose Marathon May 18-20

Join our Scotiabank Challenge team and run for a good cause! If you are running/walking the 5km, 10km, ½ marathon or full marathon and would like to join the Arthritis Society’s Team and raise funds, please contact Joni Mitchell at 902.429.7025 ext 8232 or Nicole Barron at 902.429.7025 ext 8225. The first 10 people will receive free registration.


Camp JoinTogether Registration is open!

Camp JoinTogether - The Arthritis SocietyThe Arthritis Society is proud to offer Camp JoinTogether, a week-long overnight camp, to Maritime children living with childhood arthritis or similar conditions. Through amazing fundraising that happens all year long, the Society was thrilled to offer the largest camp to date in 2017 – welcoming 94 children to spend a week at Camp JoinTogether, where the fun lasts forever.

Registration has opened at and will close June 15, 2018.

Those looking for more information are encouraged to contact Jone Mitchell at 902.429.7025.


Nova Scotia

Jim Spatz to be honoured at the Arthritis Society’s 2018 Celebrity Roast

The Celebrity Roast has raised an incredible $2.7 million in its history and looks forward to honouring a local celebrity at the 26th annual event.

The evening of Wednesday March 21st, 2018 The RBC Celebrity Roast presented by Stewart McKelvey in support of the Arthritis Society will honour Jim Spatz, Chairman and CEO of Southwest Properties Limited, as the 26th “roastee”. Mayor Mike Savage will host the evening as Emcee welcoming Halifax’s business community to the Cunard Centre, to raise funds and awareness of the Arthritis Society and its vision to live in a world where people are free from the devastating effects that arthritis has on lives.

Jim Spatz, along with his late father, Simon, has been inducted into the Nova Scotia Business Hall of Fame, received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for his significant community contributions and achievements, and in 2015 was named Atlantic Business Magazine’s CEO of the Year for Atlantic Canada.

“Jim’s active and significant involvement in a number of community groups make him the ideal honouree for the Celebrity Roast,” explains Jennifer LaPlante, Chair of the Arthritis Society Divisional Advisory Board. “We are delighted to shine the spotlight on Jim as we honour his success March 21st in a meaningful way.”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of an event that supports such an important cause,” said Spatz. “And I’m looking forward to all the good-natured abuse that will be thrown my way by the people I love, at least prior to hearing their speeches! I hope the event raises significant funds for the Arthritis Society and our community.”

Spatz joins an impressive list of past roastees, including most recently Michael Donovan of DHX Media as well as John Risley, Dale Godsoe, the Late Paul O’Regan, Paul Sobey, Rob Steele, Kim Mason,Colin and Mickey MacDonald and Stephen Plummer.

Each year, the Celebrity Roast honours not only an outstanding business and/or community leader but also an Arthritis Hero – someone personally connected to arthritis who can speak to the important work the Society undertakes. This year, the Society proudly welcomes Nik Harris who was diagnosed with arthritis as a toddler. Living with arthritis has galvanized Nik to be not only a passionate volunteer but social researcher who knows intimately the benefits and importance of Camp JoinTogether, a summer camp for Maritime children with arthritis.

“Nova Scotia has the highest prevalence of arthritis in the country,” said LaPlante. “The Arthritis Society’s education programs, advocacy work, research funding, and Camp JoinTogether make a real difference in the lives of Nova Scotians. The Celebrity Roast fundraising event is a great event for the community and our family, friends, and neighbours living with the devastating effects of this disease.” For more information or to purchase your ticket visit


FREE PUBLIC FORUM: Changing Behaviour, Changing Lives

Monday, February 12, 2018
9:30am – 12:30pm
Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library
5440 Spring Garden Rd.

Are you ready to take control of your health? Are you ready for change?

Changing your lifestyle and developing the long-term commitment to do so does not happen overnight – it takes a change in behaviour! Join the Arthritis Society and Dr. Michael Vallis, Health Psychologist and Professor active in research on motivation, behavioural change, and adaptation to chronic disease, to learn how you can change your behaviour to change your life!

This forum will share practical tips and techniques on:

  • Establishing realistic expectations
  • Promoting health and happiness
  • Developing a healthy lifestyle

Register Today! 902.429.7025 |


Aging Well

The Arthritis Society has been overwhelmed with positive feedback and support for Aging Well, a partnership with Eastlink TV that brings specialists to the television sets of Nova Scotians and Atlantic Canadians living with arthritis, or looking to learn to age well.

Tune in to Eastlink TV Sunday-Friday at 2pm on channels 610 & 10 this winter and spring and learn from specialists who will discuss orthopedics, pain management, fall prevention, nutrition, exercise as medicine, positive thinking, physiotherapy, medication, rheumatology and more!

Episodes have been picked up to play on rotation until the summer months, so start your year off right and tune in to learn practical tips and gain important knowledge on aging well with arthritis!

Proudly supported by: 



Camp JoinTogether Registration is open!

Camp JoinTogether - The Arthritis SocietyThe Arthritis Society is proud to offer Camp JoinTogether, a week-long overnight camp, to Maritime children living with childhood arthritis or similar conditions. Through amazing fundraising that happens all year long, the Society was thrilled to offer the largest camp to date in 2017 – welcoming 94 children to spend a week at Camp JoinTogether, where the fun lasts forever.

Registration has opened at and will close June 15, 2018.

Those looking for more information are encouraged to contact Jone Mitchell at 902.429.7025.


Running the Bluenose Marathon in May?

Join our Scotiabank Challenge team and run for a good cause! If you are running/walking the 5km, 10km, ½ marathon or full marathon and would like to join the Arthritis Society’s Team and raise funds, please contact Joni Mitchell at 902.429.7025 ext 8232 or Nicole Barron at 902.429.7025 ext 8225.

The first 10 people will receive free registration.


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