Give the Gift of Life-changing Arthritis Research this Holiday Season

November 16, 2023 (Vancouver) A gift to Arthritis Research Canada can make all the difference for more than six million Canadians of all ages currently living with arthritis. Often thought of as just aches and pains, arthritis is, in fact, a serious disease that can lead to life-threatening complications. As an invisible and misunderstood disease, arthritis can negatively affect people’s ability to live a normal life.

Lisa Harris is one such person. At the age of 37 and a mother of two young children, Lisa was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She was unprepared for the significant impact arthritis would have on her everyday life and struggled to keep up with daily activities and chores, care for her children and go to work. Eventually, because of the unrelenting pain Lisa had to stop working. She went in search of answers and found Arthritis Research Canada.

By participating in research and learning more about research-based tools and resources, Lisa has learned how to manage her symptoms and regain the life she once knew.

Arthritis Research Canada’s multidisciplinary team of scientists is finding answers so millions of people like Lisa can live well despite arthritis. At Arthritis Research Canada, we are committed to finding answers through research, but we cannot do it without you. Please join our community of supporters in making a lasting impact this holiday season.

During this Holiday season, the Lohn Foundation is offering a special matching gift opportunity. DOUBLE the impact of your holiday gift today and help advance critical research. Donate today.

Lisa’s Story

Arthritis Changed Everything

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis on my daughter’s sixth birthday. At the time, I was 37. After years of pain and worsening unexplained symptoms, I felt relieved to finally have answers. But that relief quickly changed to concern. As a physiotherapist, I was confident about treatment options and getting my disease under control. Yet, I underestimated the impact arthritis would have on my life.

On my worst days, my family has to help me get dressed and complete all household tasks. 

I’m thankful to have such understanding kids. They are 14 and 15 now and I often feel like I’ve robbed them of a carefree childhood because they’ve had to do so much for me. At that time, I tried joint injections and had 10 joints injected at the same time – an incredibly painful experience. Thankfully, the relief from the injections lasted long enough for a new medication to take effect. Today, along with various lifestyle changes including a tailored diet, I’m doing much better.

Arthritis has also changed my marriageI sometimes feel that my husband didn’t sign up for all of this, but he is my biggest supporter. We printed our vows and hung them on a wall in our bedroom. When I feel this way, he encourages me to read them to remind me that he did sign up for this.

I didn’t want to live like this, so I searched for answers and found Arthritis Research Canada. 

Before my diagnosis, much of my social life was tied to exercise. I was very active – going to the gym, running, snowboarding. Now, I have to plan and prepare for those kinds of activities. Arthritis was negatively impacting my life. I would work, come home, sleep – and repeat. I eventually had to stop working because I was in so much pain.

Dr. Jasmin Ma and her team were looking for people to participate in a study about strength training. As a former physio and someone living with arthritis, I decided to get involved.

I felt frustrated in my new body and knew this research could benefit people with different types of arthritis – others who felt like their work, social, and family lives were slipping away.

I want others who are experiencing the same to know that Arthritis Research Canada is working to find answers and give people their lives back. 

The study, called I START, stands for “Improving Strength Training and Tailoring Among People with Rheumatoid Arthritis.” Researchers worked with patients and health and exercise professionals to identify barriers to strength training and develop toolkits to guide people through this type of exercise. Arthritis affects everything, not just joints, and living with it is hard. Research is necessary to find answers for people like me – so that we can continue to work, exercise, and be present with our families.

Today, I live with rheumatoid arthritis, I’ve lost range of motion in multiple joints, and have osteoarthritis in my lumbar spine. However, thanks to participating in the I START project, I know resources exist, and research is constantly being done to find answers.

Strength training has been found to reduce pain and improve quality of life. Looking back, I wonder if regular strength training specific to my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis would have changed my experience.

Thank you for helping to fund vital arthritis research. After my diagnosis, I felt like arthritis kept taking parts of my life away –being active, work, goals and career aspirations, mental health, and the ability to be the mom and spouse I aspired to be.

Arthritis Research Canada is changing what it looks like to live with arthritis. Please help Arthritis Research Canada make the very most of this matching gift opportunity.

Help accelerate research that changes lives by rushing in your special holiday gift today.

Please donate today and help accelerate research that changes lives.



Arthritis Research Canada is the largest clinical arthritis research institution in North America. Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with arthritis through research and engagement. Arthritis Research Canada’s scientific director, Dr. Diane Lacaille is leading a team of over 100 researchers, trainees and staff whose life-changing research is creating a future where people living with arthritis have the knowledge and tools to triumph over pain and disability. Arthritis Research Canada is now conducting arthritis research from coast to coast with centres in British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and scientists affiliated with seven major universities: University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, Université Laval, McGill University, Université de Montréal, and Dalhousie University. Arthritis Research Canada is leading research aimed at preventing arthritis, facilitating early diagnosis, finding new and better treatments, and improving quality of life.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Victoria Rubio
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Arthritis Research Canada
604-207-4010 or vrubio@arthritisresearch.ca

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