WATCH: Arthritis, the leading cause of disability in Canada, has been on the rise in recent years. Ceilidh Millar has your community story on what some are doing about it.
Hundreds of people gathered near the Selkirk Waterfront in Victoria on Saturday morning to raise awareness for a disease that affects a growing number of Canadians.
“There are over 100 different types of arthritis diseases,” said Christine Basque with the BC/Yukon branch of the Arthritis Society. “We know that the number will increase, so by 2035 we anticipate that one in four people will be living with arthritis [in Canada].”
For the past ten years, Walk for Arthritis events across the country have raised more than $10-million for disease prevention, research and programs.
“We are right across the country in Canada in 48 different locations,” Basque explained. “Our goal is to raise more than $2-million this year as part of our nation-wide campaign.”
The painful condition that is often invisible can affect people of all ages, even striking children as young as two-years-old.
“It is hard to talk about it because they see you and you look healthy and they think nothing is wrong,” said Lindsay Knazan, who lives with arthritis.
Knazan was diagnosed with the disease five years ago.
“It’s just changed everything,” Knazen said. “I was a personal trainer, fitness instructor and yoga teacher. I own my own business in fitness so I had to stop a lot of that and move into more of a therapist role. I’m living a little more of a gentle life now which in some ways is good.”
More than 150,000 people on Vancouver Island have arthritis.
In attendance at the Victoria walk included the Lieutenant Governor of B.C., the Honourable Janet Austin and Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell.
More than $16,000 was raised at the event which will help make a difference in creating a future free from arthritis for everyone.
Walks were also held this weekend in Campbell River and Parksville.
For resources and information on arthritis, visit the Arthritis Society.