Teams are beginning to register for our 2015 spring event and the weather seems to be getting better for many. As we prepare for our fourth year we are looking for bloggers to post about our walk, awareness activities, team highlights, general information about Spondylitis, and possible gear reviews. If you are interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us in welcoming Nicole Maher – she will be blogging on Wednesday’s. Here is her first post:
Are you ready to Walk Your A.S. off in a few weeks?
My name is Nicole Maher and I live in Southwest Florida. After years of worsening back pain, hip pain, and fatigue, I was finally diagnosed with A.S. last November at the age of 23. Since my diagnosis, I have tried several biologics, with no success. This is my first year participating in Walk Your A.S. Off™ and it is my hope that this walk and others like it will increase A.S. awareness and funding for research on better treatments and a cure.
When I told my family I had A.S., they had no idea what it was. I tried to explain it to them, but they have not quite seemed to grasp exactly what A.S. is. That is the toughest part about this disease for me; few people have heard of it and it is hard to explain to those who do not have it. This disease has the ability to make someone feel very isolated. At 23 years old, I was finding myself withdrawing from friends because I was in so much pain and did not want to hold them back.
These last few months, physical activity has been both very relaxing and torturous. It seems there is a fine line between doing just enough and over-doing it. I am so excited to “Walk [my] A.S. off” and reduce pain in the process.
I’m excited to share this journey with all of you. Together, let’s walk for a cure. Let’s walk for awareness. Let’s walk for better treatments. Let’s walk for support. Let’s Walk A.S. Off!
Nicole Maher began to experience chronic pain while in college at The Ohio State University. She found herself unable to participate in the sports she once loved due to her back, hip, and knee pain. After years of being told it was “all in her head,” Nicole decided she would not stop until she found an answer to why her body felt much older than it was. She was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in November 2014 at the age of 23, and since then has played an active role in researching new therapies and information about AS, hoping to one day live pain-free.
Jennifer Dye Visscher started Walk Your A.S. Off in 2012 after realizing her work was not done after completing a year long AS awareness campaign called Art Apple A Day. During that year Jenna created a piece of art of an apple every day for a year to help raise awareness of the disease she and nearly 33 million people worldwide struggle with - Ankylosing Spondylitis. When Jenna is not developing and growing the soon to be non-profit, Walk AS One (the name of the organization this walk and others will be run under), she is a real estate agent in Maine where she lives with her husband Doug, their dog Ella and a not so little cat named Bitty.
Walk Your AS Off is an all volunteer organization that supports the charities who support AS patients, research, and education.
We run on an almost non-existent budget. Money received goes to website hosting, promotional items for marketing purposes (like T-shirts for give aways and prizes for contests), and technology upgrades.
Any support you could give to help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
*Before beginning any new exercise program, consult your physician or physical therapist. They can help provide modifications to suit your particular needs. Ask which exercises you should do and then check to see that you are doing them correctly.