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Facts and Statistics
Arthritis is second only to heart disease as a cause of work disability.
Arthritis strikes women more often than men.
You can assess your risk factors for developing arthritis by visitng here.
Fundraising & Administrative Percentage
A volunteer with the Arthritis Foundation�s Greater Kansas City Chapter for over five years, Gerry has taken to its exercise programs with a singular passion and she is making it her personal mission to spread the word. She will participate in the first-ever Arthritis WalkSM in May 2002 to raise awareness and funds to fight the nation�s number one cause of disability � arthritis.
�If I can exercise despite having four kinds of arthritis, anyone can do it,� Chrisman said during a short break between one of her many volunteer duties. Chrisman has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and Sjogren�s syndrome. �I firmly believe in the benefits of the Arthritis Foundation�s exercise programs and I want to instill those benefits in as many people as I can.�
At first, Chrisman was simply a participant in People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) classes, using exercise to increase her flexibility and reduce her pain. The benefits were quickly apparent: not only did the classes help her feel better physically and mentally, but she saw her fellow students improving as well.
That positive experience spurred her into action. She got more involved with the foundation, enrolling in the PACE instructor training program. She taught classes to others with arthritis. Her success and enthusiasm made her stand out, and led to her recruitment into the PACE �train-the-trainers� program. As a PACE trainer, Chrisman now conducts two to three certification classes per year and strives to instill in new instructors her enthusiasm for the Arthritis Foundation and the tremendous benefits of regular exercise for people with all forms of arthritis.
At this point, most people would have said, �OK, I�m happy with what I�ve done.� Not Gerry. She went further, becoming certified to teach aquatic exercise classes as well. She joined the chapter�s speaker�s bureau so that she could carry messages to the public at large about controlling arthritis with exercise and a positive attitude. She taught more PACE classes and trained more trainers. She volunteered to serve on the chapter�s board of directors and on the exercise committee. Why work so hard? Simply to help others.
�I feel like I really make a difference � and I really enjoy the experience,� Chrisman said.
Gerry, born and raised in Clinton, Mo., spent most of her adult life in the Kansas City area where she is now happily married with two grown sons aged 35 and 38. What does her family think of this amazing woman?
�Gerry has accomplished so much despite her medical problems,� says her husband, John. �I am proud of the way she sets an example for others with arthritis. She definitely makes a difference in others� lives.�
�I think her exercise definitely makes a difference in the way she feels,� adds her youngest son, Troy. But Gerry, tell the truth: aren�t there days when your arthritis puts limits on you?
"No, I don't let it. That is why I stay active and positive,� she said. �Exercise has been one of the most positive things in my life. I feel better both mentally and physically � I CAN take control of arthritis!�
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