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Spotlight on Volunteering

Volunteer profiles

VolunteerThe contributions of volunteers are essential to the success of the Arthritis Society. And the ways that volunteers can help serve people affected by arthritis are as diverse as their own stories. Explore a few of our volunteers’ stories here.

  • Rachael Kimola – British Columbia

    Photo of Rachael Kimola“My name is Rachael Kimola, I'm 38. Was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when I was about a year and a half old. I've had more than a dozen joint replacement surgeries, including bi-lateral hip and knee replacements when I was 18. 

    I started volunteering with the Arthritis Society about 10 years ago because I wanted to connect with other people my age with arthritis. When I was told there was no support group for young adults with arthritis in the Okanagan, I started one. YAWA - The Young Adults with Arthritis has been providing support for its members for about 8 years now. Every year our team participates in the Walk for Arthritis, we have been the top fundraising team in Kelowna every year since we started.   

    I also help run some of the educational workshops in Kelowna for people who recently have been diagnosed with arthritis. I really enjoy being able to help people who are new to living with arthritis.” 

  • Sladjana Pastar - Prairies

    Photo of Sladjana Pastar“I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2013.  Ever since then my life has changed dramatically.  After realizing the severity of the disease and how many people including early age children who are affected, I decided I needed to be a voice for this disease and participate in voluntary work as much in the office and some Health Fairs.  

    This is a very misunderstood disease…People call it invisible...But it is not. It is visible in the struggles of people around you that you may not understand. I have tried to be a voice for the unheard, presenting Arthritis 101 and trying to educate people. One in every 5 Canadians suffers from this disease. There is no cure. However, I think everyone deserves to know how to manage this pain and live a productive life. I currently have two part time jobs, continue studying for my professional designation CFP and I am still a proactive member in society.   

    My involvement in this cause is so important because I want other people to know that this is possible and that there is life with arthritis. My greatest memories are being a part of the Walk for Arthritis. It is a march of solidarity and very much a community. I encourage everyone to be a part of this Walk every year… for you, your family, friends and loved ones. Quality of life matters.”  

  • Bob Connolly - Ontario

    Photo of Bob Connolly“After nearly 40 years of teaching mathematics and computer science at high school and college levels in Ottawa, I was looking for a post-retirement way to give back to the community.

    My wife has arthritis, as did my mother, her sisters, and my maternal grandmother. It seemed like a perfect match to volunteer with the Arthritis Society.

    As a teacher, I have been involved in camps for kids during my career, so the prospect of being a “transporter” at Camp Cambria looked like a fun possibility. I never dreamed that the amazing camp staff and kids could give me so much more than I was able to give to them.

    Seeing young people coping daily with juvenile arthritis was an eye-opener for me and to be given the opportunity to be part of their “just regular kids at camp” experience was the highlight of MY camp experience.

    I am lucky to be able to return to Camp Cambria for a second year. I get to feel like a kid again at Camp.”

  • Ricardo DePani – Quebec

    Photo of Ricardo DePani“For many years, I volunteered with various professional causes. When the Arthritis Society crossed my path in 2006, I was ready for a new kind of commitment. I was instantly touched by how little is known about arthritis, and how discreet the millions of people living with it are. My volunteering mostly consists in bringing my creative vision and management experience to the Quebec City team to improve the services provided. Seeing these efforts put to action with the Hand in Hand program certainly is the best source of motivation.”

  • Allyson Evans – Atlantic

    “I am currently completing my fourth year of a medical sciences degree at Dalhousie University. I am from a small town in rural Nova Scotia and prior to attending Dalhousie I had never heard about the Arthritis Society but was very familiar with arthritis as many of my family members have some form, including my brother, who was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis when we were in elementary school.  

    My interest in volunteering for the Arthritis Society peaked when I saw their display set up at a university volunteer fair. I remember thinking what a great way to get involved in the community and to support an organization that has a close link to my family. I began volunteering with at the Virtual Everest fundraising event and quickly learned that this was a good fit for me. The staff and other volunteers were so kind and dedicated and willing to teach so many skills and life lessons. At this point I chose to stick around and contributed to some other fundraising initiatives. This year I have taken on a different role by providing support in the office in Halifax for a few hours a week between my classes, as well as helping at events. I have learned so much am so thankful for the opportunity to work with such a great group of supportive, inspiring, and dedicated staff.”  

Inspired? Fill out our online volunteer application to get started.