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Joan Fidler Burrows is grateful every day

Joan BurrowsJoan Fidler Burrows is grateful every day

Joan Fidler Burrows was the inspiring subject of an article in a 2012 Arthritis Society newsletter. She graciously allowed us to check back in to see how life has been treating her over the past nine years.

Juvenile arthritis at 10

Joan is quick to acknowledge that she feels fortunate and grateful, regardless of her almost lifelong experience with arthritis. At the age of 10, Joan was bedridden for five months with juvenile arthritis, a time during which she did school work and indulged in her love of reading.

When Joan developed rheumatoid arthritis in her 40s, she took advantage of the services offered at the Mary Pack Centre in Vancouver, which has a strong connection to the Arthritis Society. Looking back, Joan notes that the lessons she learned from the self-management program — covering diet, exercise and body awareness — were very new ideas at the time. Those lessons informed her life and became routine, so that today, Joan is very active and grateful for her good health.

An “invisible” disease

Not surprisingly, Joan is a regular donor to the Arthritis Society, and strongly supports our mission to increase awareness of this debilitating disease. Joan knows what it’s like to live with an “invisible” disease, and how easy it is for the public to ignore what they can’t see and don’t understand. Joan strongly believes physiotherapists, doctors and nurses need to be more educated about arthritis and is counting on the Arthritis Society to take up that challenge.

Awareness and education

“I believe the Arthritis Society has a role in educating the public and funding research. I can’t emphasize that enough.” In fact, Joan is currently participating in a clinical trial evaluating the immune response and the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in people living with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Not slowing down much!

These days Joan says she feels no more than the occasional stiffness or bit of pain brought on by bad weather. It doesn’t slow her down much! At 85, Joan is very active, enjoying long walks in the woods, continuing her active interest in grandmothers and women, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and keeping up with her three grown daughters and their families via Zoom calls. 

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