Everyone has a story that can help change the world.
This morning I had the privilege of sharing part of my story to a distinguished group of people. It was at an Arthritis Foundation fundraising event called Commitment to a Cure Breakfast. I thought you might like to read my speech and learn a little about why Everyday Giving and my volunteer work is so important to me.
My name is Roger Carr and I do not have arthritis, but I am affected by it. My wife Kim does suffer from arthritis.
We have a fifteen year old son, Trevor. We have relatives and friends, as I hope you do. Kim owned and managed a business that employed workers. All of them have been affected by Kim’s arthritis as well.
Several years ago, we were a normal two income family living in Fredericksburg, Virginia. We were involved in our local church and scouts. We regularly enjoyed meeting and doing activities as a family and with friends. Kim was successfully building a thriving business. It started out as an online store that quickly expanded into a traditional store in Fredericksburg. Workers had to be brought in to keep up with the growing orders. Her store and products were featured in the national media, including the Wall Street Journal and Good Morning America.
But as Kim’s business grew, her health declined. She had pain throughout her body that only got worse over time. She struggled daily with fatigue. Finally, depression set in. Kim was diagnosed with several conditions including osteoarthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia. The depression was also confirmed as “severe clinical depression” and we discovered it is common among those dealing with chronic illness.
Soon Kim was:
- Replacing hours at her store with hours at doctor visits
- Replacing packing slips, invoices and receipts with medical bills and insurance paperwork, and
- Replacing hours with friends and family with needed hours in bed
Eventually, Kim was forced to give up the store and send her workers home. Many of our friends disappeared when we were not able to participate in activities with them. Even our family activities don’t happen as frequently as they used to and are usually reserved to things we can do at home. Our lives have changed, and so have the lives of our friends, family and store workers.
Although we would not wish arthritis on anyone, we realize it has also changed us for the better.
We have developed new and stronger friendships with extremely generous people, several who are in the room this morning. Participating in an Arthritis Foundation event and visiting the Arthritis Foundation offices is like spending time with family. You will not find a place with harder working and caring people.
Kim and I have a better understanding of what people go through when they are affected by arthritis and we have developed a passion to help them. We are finding ways to help those who are hurting physically, emotionally and financially. Supporting the Arthritis Foundation with our time and money is at the top of our list.
There was a time when I felt helpless to do anything but watch Kim suffer. I no longer feel that way. Over the past four years as a volunteer, I have been excited about the work of the Arthritis Foundation, I have been amazed at the incredible changes taking place in the lives of many with arthritis. I am going to continue to support the Arthritis Foundation until that change takes place in everyone who suffers from it.
There are 46 million people who have been diagnosed with arthritis. There are many, many more who are affected by it every day.
Perhaps you are one of the many people affected, or will be some day. I hope you will join me in my support.
If you would like to help me in the fight against arthritis, I would love for you to consider making a donation at my Arthritis Walk webpage at http://www.everydaygiving.com/arthritiswalk. If you would like to learn more about my story and the genesis of Everyday Giving, go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/PASTICCIOTalkRadioShow/2008/11/20/Altered-Reality and listen as Becky Cortino interviews me.