Cheryl Johnson with husband

Cheryl Johnson with husband

Woman fights against arthritis

A Peninsula woman is fighting back against a debilitating disease and urging others to do the same

A Peninsula woman is fighting back against a debilitating disease and urging others to do the same through public discussion and community support.

Cheryl Johnson, who has been living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for three years, is encouraging people who suffer from the disease to connect with others in the arthritis community and diminish the feelings of isolation that can stem from the diagnosis.

“People should know they are not alone,” she said in a release.

In the year following her diagnosis, Johnson lost her job and had difficulties with everyday tasks, such as opening jars or going for a walk.

Deciding to take control of her life back, she began learning as much as she could about the disease. Her research led her to contact the Arthritis Society in B.C., where she began taking their arthritis self-managment class.

“I wanted to learn as much as I could about the disease so I could take control of this thing and slowly regain my life,” Johnson said.

Johnson now advocates for people who live with the disease, speaking to the community and leading workshops.

On Nov. 15, The Arthritis Society will be hosting a free public forum for people who live with RA at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, 15269 104 Ave at 7 p.m.

The forum will be led by rheumatologist, Dr. Diane Lacaille, and will focus on treatment options, the value of physical activity and ways to protect joints.

For more go to www.arthritis.ca or to register for the forum call 604-714-5550 or 1-866-414-7766.