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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.

  • Evelyn Ruiz

    Photography  of Evelyn RuizI started volunteering with the Arthritis Society a couple of years ago while recuperating from a very exhausting and severe flare up from my condition. I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune condition at 35. It is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting muscles and tissue, which can be extremely painful and debilitating.  

    I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of team members from the Arthritis Society while doing physiotherapy and saw firsthand the great work they do. Their enthusiasm, professionalism, kindness and dedication inspired me to join this great cause. It gives me immense satisfaction to be a part of this great group of individuals who are working tirelessly towards the same goal. It also gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment, a reason to keep hopeful for a cure one day very soon.

    The positive interactions with everyone at the Arthritis Society made me feel valued and respected. My experience inspired my daughter Kayla (2020 Juno winner with the Ottawa Bach Choir) to also participate and volunteer by singing at the Arthritis Society walks and most recently at a virtual session with Camp Sunrise for childhood arthritis. It's a wonderful feeling to play even a small part with such a great cause!

    My greatest experience has been when calling our donors through the COVID-19 pandemic to say, "Thank you for your continuous support” and making sure they're staying safe and well and hearing back from them, “Thank you for what you do too!” It's very humbling but also empowering and it gives me great joy to keep going.

  • Roxana Comsa

    Photography  of Roxana ComsaI began volunteering for the Arthritis Society in July 2016. I started because I wanted to reach out to people in my community, and beyond, and assist them in any way I could with the resources they need to help address some of their concerns and help them navigate their condition. That human connection and interaction is a very fulfilling experience and knowing that I helped someone can brighten up my day.

    I am not personally affected by arthritis, but I am grateful and thankful for all the assistance and support that I received from my community, teachers, friends and mentors when I was a newcomer to Canada in 2006. I was a young child at the time, in a new nation, and did not know the language. It was a bit of a daunting experience, but I am glad I had my peers, teachers and the community at large who offered me support, resources, guidance and encouragement along my journey in a new and unfamiliar place.

    My proudest accomplishment as a volunteer so far has been assisting as a camp counsellor with the Arthritis Society’s virtual summer camp called Camp Sunrise. I enjoyed interacting with the Camp Sunrise children in my cabin, listening to their concerns and inquiries. I also recently joined the Arthritis Society’s Information Line and I am grateful to be able to listen to people’s concerns and questions and offer them help in the form of the many resources offered by the Arthritis Society.

    The staff and volunteers at the Arthritis Society are a group of very approachable and supportive people who I enjoy working with. I received excellent training and the Arthritis Society team was willing to answer any questions or concerns I had about my volunteer role. Volunteering for the Arthritis Society is a wonderful experience as I’ve had the opportunity to interact with supportive and compassionate people – both other volunteers and staff – and I’ve been able to develop my communication, collaborative, as well as interpersonal skills.

  • Kousha Ehsani

    Photography  of Kousha EhsaniI started volunteering for the Arthritis Society in October 2020. I am in Grade 9 and want to make a difference in my community. At school, we were given a list of pre-approved places to volunteer and as soon as I saw it listed, I knew it was where I wanted to be.

    While I don’t have arthritis, I do have family friends who have it and I see how the disease affects them. One of these friend’s has severe arthritis, and they were my motivation to volunteer with the Arthritis Society. Volunteering means giving back to the community that I’m in and it is very important to me to give back. I find helping people helps me emotionally. You help for the sake of helping others.

    I am really interested in pursuing a career in medicine, and I love that the Arthritis Society funds medical research, an area of great interest for me. It’s made my passion to get into medicine grow. When I speak with donors about the research and innovation the Arthritis Society is pursuing, it further increases my curiosity and passion for medicine.

    Even though I have not been volunteering for that long, I have had the opportunity to participate in many different, short-term volunteering roles. I love that I can use my various skills to help where I can. I gave a presentation in French, as I can speak three languages, and I really enjoyed connecting with the participants. I’ve also been working as a technology assistant where I help people to connect to the Arthritis Society’s digital resources including the website and Arthritis Talks webinars. I enjoy connecting with people over the phone who aren’t familiar with using the internet and teaching them how to connect to the wealth of resources that the Arthritis Society offers.

    I am very thankful for my experience and would recommend volunteering at the Arthritis Society to everyone.

  • Alexa Scalia

    Photography of Alexa ScaliaI started volunteering with the Arthritis Society four years ago, when I was 18 years old. My first volunteer experience was with the Camp Kids on the Move/Camp ArticulAction, which is the Arthritis Society’s Quebec sleep-away summer camp.

    After I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 16, I wanted to find a way to help others who were affected by chronic conditions. When I was introduced to a pediatric rheumatologist who was affiliated with the Arthritis Society, I was inspired to help and get involved with this organization. Later, when I was asked if I wanted to be an assistant counsellor at the summer camp, I knew I had to say yes. I ended up loving it so much that I’ve gone back every summer since!

    I personally don’t have arthritis, but because of my fibromyalgia, I had several appointments with a rheumatologist and at a pediatric pain clinic. Because of these experiences, I became more aware of rheumatological conditions and their impact on children.

    To me, the Arthritis Society means a safe space for people to come together and share moments of joy, challenges and perseverance in a judgment-free environment.

    My proudest accomplishment was seeing all the little happy faces of the children during my first summer at the sleep-away camp. This truly brought me a lot of happiness as I was able to see the impact this camp had on the children. Unfortunately, most of these kids don’t have many other children around them who understand their condition and limitations. Therefore, being part of the solution and helping with the day-to-day activities at the camp made me very proud.

    My advice is simple: Do it! The Arthritis Society is an amazing organization where you will be able to meet and interact with so many different people from all over Canada.

  • Oliver Keith

    Photography of Oliver KeithI started volunteering with the Arthritis Society about six years ago when I was in Grade 10. One of the first things I did for them was dress up as a reindeer during the Halifax Walk for Arthritis. This past summer, I was a virtual camp counsellor, which was a new and interesting experience.

    I’ve had arthritis since I was a kid. I used to go to Camp JoinTogether, which was affiliated with the Arthritis Society. I grew a lot and have memories from this camp experience that have stuck with me, so volunteering is my way of giving back to the community and to an organization that’s given so much to me.

    Arthritis affects my daily routines. I’ve learned how to adapt by being a positive person. Positivity is something that gives me strength. I face obstacles head on, knowing that I can overcome them.

    Volunteering with the Arthritis Society has been an incredible experience. It’s allowed me to be part of a community that’s open and welcoming. In turn, I bring these values to my role as a counsellor at Camp Sunrise. This past summer was interesting. I was not sure how virtual camp would work, but it worked out great. I was able to make connections with my campers and help guide conversations to help them understand their illness better. It was really rewarding.

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