KCs fund arthritis program

The local Knights of Columbus held their annual Christmas dinner last Tuesday (Dec. 11) with a few special guests.
The Knights also made cheque presentations to the Salvation Army and The Arthritis Society to support their works in the community and the province.
Charlene Snow, manager of regional development for The Arthritis Society, was on hand to receive the cheque and make a small presentation.
“We have many things to accomplish and, particularly in the north, we face challenges in delivering our programs and services,” noted Snow.
“It is through the support of groups like the Knights of Columbus that we are able to provide forums and programs like the Arthritis Self-Management Program that help people at a local grassroots level.”
The Arthritis Self-Management Program (ASMP) is a six-week course (two hours per week) led by trained volunteers. It is sponsored in Northwestern Ontario by the Paterson Foundation and provincially by the RBC Foundation.
ASMP is designed to strengthen and enhance oneself, as well as one’s ability to manage their arthritis and direct their care.
Topics include exercising with arthritis, managing pain, eating healthy, preventing fatigue, protecting joints, taking arthritis medications, dealing with stress and depression, working with your doctor and health care team, evaluating alternative treatments, and problem-solving.
“Many people often think that there’s nothing they can do when they have arthritis,” said Snow. “ASMP gives people who live with arthritis the knowledge and confidence to manage their arthritis better, in turn giving them a better quality of life.”
This past September, an ASMP leader training weekend was held in Dryden. Master trainers Myrtle Kawahara and Pauline Cernigoj (both from Thunder Bay) trained seven new ASMP leaders from Dryden, Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout, Dorion, and Thunder Bay.
All of the leaders and master trainers are volunteers who themselves have arthritis. They are sincerely committed to the program and the people they teach with a true understanding of what it is like to live with this disease.
The leaders teach this program with a true understanding of the struggles that the participants go through in their daily lives.
The Arthritis Society currently is looking to train more leaders from communities throughout Northwestern Ontario.
If you would like to find out about this opportunity, or to register to take one of the upcoming sessions, call Helen Crook in Fort Frances (274-5431) or Lisa Chochla-Simkanin at the Thunder Bay Arthritis Society office (toll-free 1-800-268-9535 ext. 7).