For the last few years, Ivory has served as a volunteer and patient advocate on behalf of the Arthritis Society. That she has made that commitment a priority on top of her demanding career as a multi-talented singer, actor, dancer and model says a lot about how important she feels it is to support the Arthritis Society.
An early career as a competitive gymnast was dashed by osteoarthritis by age 15. From her neck and knee, the damage spread. Chronic inflammation in Ivory’s back left her walking with a four pronged cane by age 25.
"By that time I was modelling, and could be found sitting on huge bags of ice backstage at a fashion show, waiting for my cue. A team of stage hands would get me up and just before I hit the runway I’d drop my cane – strut down the runway with a smile on my face only to collapse back into the stage manager’s arms backstage and no one would be the wiser.”
When I was ready, The Arthritis Society was there for me."
By this point Ivory had also been diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and sacroilitis. She realized she could plow forward as she had as a teen, or she could take charge of her life.
She reached out to the Arthritis Society to find out how to mitigate the existing damage and make changes in her lifestyle to help preserve her future mobility. Five years on, she is now walking without a cane, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, and getting support as needed from her health team, family and friends.
“When I was ready, the Arthritis Society was there for me. Thank you to everyone who has ever supported this wonderful organization – you have helped give me back control of my life. I have arthritis, it doesn’t have me!”