Raising funds for people with arthritis

Carrie Milton

Three friends have started the Active with RA initiative to raise awareness about, and funds for people with arthritis.

Vredenhoek-born Carrie Milton and her friends Natasha Posnett, Christa Joubert are raising funds for Port Elizabeth teacher Judy Nel to have hip replacement surgery.

On Sunday November 1, Ms Milton, who has rheumatoid arthritis, kayaked from Three Anchor Bay to Clifton, completed a trail run to Signal Hill and then paraglided from there, to land at Sea Point promenade.

The aim of the activities was to raise awareness and funds for Ms Nel who has been waiting for a hip replacement for four years.

She is currently wheelchair-bound and will remain in a wheelchair for the rest of her life, unless she has this surgery as soon as possible.

“Her dearest wish is to be mobile and independent so that she can help her sister (who herself is wheelchair bound due to Post-Polio Syndrome) and also get back to her students,” Ms Milton said.

She said she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 12.

Now at 32 she wanted to give back to the Arthritis Foundation which helped when she was a student and couldn’t afford medication.

She said it was the foundation that nominated Ms Nel as a beneficiary of the initiative. She said another initiative was being run in the UK for Ms Nel and when they spoke to her on the phone, they could hear her sense of hope.

When the opportunity presented itself, said Ms Milton, she approached Cape Kayak Adventures, who suggested the idea.

She said while they accept any donations, they wanted to encourage people to get up, get out there and increase mobility, activity and fitness.

“Do what you can, whether you are using a walker and can only pledge to do 20 more steps a day; or are a marathon runner and can pledge to run 50km more per week. The idea is to get friends, family and businesses involved, asking them to donate a certain amount per step, per km, etc,” she said.

She added that this was an opportunity for those who were able-bodied to celebrate their ability, mobility and fitness and use it to help those who are less able.

Through their backbuddy campaign, the women aim to raise R30 000 for Ms Nel.

“It’s wonderful to be well and be able to move and exercise but I thought we could help all those who are not,” she said.