Arthritis Consumer Experts

October 6, 2009
For Immediate Release

Ministers receive results of month-long provincial tour

(Victoria, BC) — The Where is Arthritis? program ended its month long provincial tour today at the BC Legislature. To mark the completion of the tour, Where is Arthritis? organizers presented the findings of the tour to Honorable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Health Services, Honourable Ida Chong Minister of Healthy Living and Sport, and Honourable Mary McNeil, Minister of State for the Olympics and ActNow BC. While onsite, the tour also offered the opportunity for members of British Columbia's Legislative Assembly and their staff to be screened for arthritis.

During National Arthritis Month in September, Where is Arthritis? took arthritis "on the road" to raise awareness and provide free public arthritis screenings and workshops to educate British Columbians about arthritis in eight key markets: Vancouver, Prince George, Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops, Abbotsford, Surrey, and Saanich.

"On tour, we found roughly a quarter of the people attending our arthritis detection screenings had signs of undiagnosed arthritis; the remainder were there to access more help and information about treatments to manage their arthritis better," said Cheryl Koehn, President of Arthritis Consumer Experts. "We had a chance to see firsthand the overwhelming demand for arthritis information and resources about how to better manage their disease."

Honorable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Health Services was screened for arthritis at the Where is Arthritis? event at the Legislature. "Chronic diseases — like arthritis — affect about one in three British Columbians," said Falcon. "By getting out there into the communities and speaking with people, the Where is Arthritis? Tour has helped educate people on risk factors, symptoms and methods of treatment of arthritis, and given them the tools they need to take control of their health."

Through targeted media outreach and grassroots communication, Where is Arthritis? worked to raise public awareness about the more than 100 different types of arthritis and the cost burden it imposes in healthcare expenses and lost work days. Where is Arthritis? produced a video with members of BC's arthritis community to challenge the commonly held perceptions of arthritis as an "older" person's disease.

At every stop of the tour, The Arthritis Society was there to offer British Columbians arthritis information, resources, local support groups and activity programs. "600,000 British Columbians live with arthritis, and we want to ensure each one of them is connected to the best resources, information and health care services to manage their disease," said Marg Vandenberg, Executive Director of The Arthritis Society, BC & Yukon Division. "This tour was a great opportunity for The Arthritis Society to make the public aware of how they can access timely diagnosis, education, and appropriate care for arthritis."

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