In the 1940s, concern for the devastating affects of rheumatic disease was raised by our founders, Dr. J. Wallace Graham and Mary Pack, who were each personally and professionally incensed by the disease. Due in part to their tireless efforts, arthritis became a national conversation that spread across the country following the Second World War, generating considerable political interest and a passionate, volunteer-driven grassroots movement.
In 1948, the Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society or CARS was created, (renamed The Arthritis Society in 1977, and Arthritis Society Canada in 2022) with significant government financial support. It was a mighty victory for those determined to establish a national charity dedicated to arthritis.
Today, that same passion and fierce determination is still Arthritis Society Canada’s rallying cry. With a network that extends to communities across the country, we continue to uphold the resilient spirit of those living with arthritis.
Through the generosity of our supporters, Arthritis Society Canada has:
- Proudly led the establishment of the practice of rheumatology by ensuring all teaching hospitals were funded to provide the specialty practice to physicians in the 1940 and 50s
- Founded and financially support Arthritis Centres which provide expert care in hospitals across Canada
- Provided advanced on-site physiotherapy and occupational care for arthritis patients through Ontario Government funding
- Established a strong network to facilitate federal and provincial advocacy. (For example, we championed the life-altering introduction of biologics in the late ‘80s, and most recently, the need for research and adequate legislation including access to treatment for medical cannabis as a viable pain solution)
- Helped to fund extensive education programs at the professional level for physicians, nurse practitioners, physical and occupational therapists
- Supported a proactive focus for facilitating self-management of the disease, with advanced online learning modules, webinars and in-person learning forums and national conferences
- Established Family Days and Children’s Camps across the country, giving children who have arthritis – and their parents – a sense of community, as well as a backpack program to help school-aged children adjust to everyday challenges
- Raised awareness and community engagement with an annual fundraising walk in more than 40 communities across Canada