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|The Grinch (arthritis) stole Christmas it's time we get it back!!! Will you help me? |
|Hi my name is Kari Solis; Iím the team captain of Kariís Warriors representing the Arthritis Foundation (AF). I would like to take a moment to introduce myself, and let you know why I work so hard to raise funds, recruit team members, new captains, sponsors & in-kind donors, help others who suffer or think they are suffering from arthritis, and reaching out to the public about the importance of supporting and advocating for the AF, all for the goal of one day curing arthritis. Before I get into how things all started, youíll notice some pictures included with this letter. I love photography and graphic art. When I canít use my hands very well, I find that the slow smooth movements I make creating an image, or fixing a photograph, is great therapy for my hands. The graphic up above includes my team logo; just above it is a graphic of multiple warriors including my Aunt Kathy representing Warrior Legacy; my hero and an epic warrior till the very end, my daughter with the bear, me with half the face representing Warrior Hope, my daughter Ashley (again) representing Warrior Bravery; my Ashley is my rockÖ always so brave for her Mommy, my amazing cousin Becky representing Warrior Strength; one of the strongest people I know, and finally my Mom who is my spiritual guide and I could not have gotten as far as I have without her pulling me back in with the power of Faith; representing Warrior Faith. This is the power of Kariís Warriors; Legacy, Hope, Bravery, Strength, Faith; the unbeatable weapon.|
Ten years ago I was diagnosed with moderate/severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Since then I have been on weekly chemotherapy and bi-weekly biologic injection therapy for the first 9 years of my diagnosis. This is not to cure the disease, just to manage it and to slow down the crippling process. Last year I started getting very sick. I began getting skin lesions, infections, seizures, and just before Christmas I was hospitalized with severe sepsis and organ dysfunction. I nearly lost my life, but through a lot of meditation, prayer and a whole lot of fight, I blew the doctors away and walked out of the hospital in 4 days. The fight didnít end there. I still had quite a battle ahead of me. I had a poison in me, and no one could or wanted to diagnose me. With a blink of an eye things got even more complicated, My stress level was at its max, so my medical conditions were thriving on my stress. I was crashing bigtime. Finally after many months, dozens of opinionsÖ or should I say doors slammed in my face, I finally found a doctor who would do a biopsy and give me a proper diagnosis. I was diagnosed with Reactive Perforating Collagenosis (RPC) with massive inflammation. I was given medicine of which I was (SHOCKER) allergic to. So I have RPC but I canít treat RPC. My regular doctors donít want to work with RPCÖ I mean who wouldÖ there have been less than 50 reported cases in the WORLD.
So long story short, I canít control my RA until I can get my RPC under control. In the meantime, Iím dancing on the fine line of sepsis relapse every day I am out of control. This is one of the reasons why it is so important why we need to find a cure for Arthritis. If arthritis goes on the backburner for another disease, it can become a fatal situation, especially for kids. Speaking of kids, did you know that more than 300,000 kids in the US have Juvenile Arthritis (JA)? There are not enough Pediatric Juvenile Rheumatologists to treat all of these kids. We need more doctors. Here is another thing to think about, remember what I said about my RA treatment? Weekly chemo and biweekly biologic injectionsÖ this treatment is the same for kids. Thatís rightÖ and unlike cancer, this treatment isnít temporary, there is no remission, until a cure is found, and this treatment is indefinite. Now if you want to talk about strength, meet the JA kids of the Orange County/Inland Empire AF. These kids are amazing, bright, and strong and are fighting like tigers for a cure. This is the number one reason why I work so hard for the AF, for the kids. In addition to funding cure research, the money raised goes towards sending JA kids to JA camp so they can be with other kids with the same conditions. To be able to do thing they would have never thought they would have been able to do. This is really amazing, and something that these kids really need. Coming from someone (ME) who is the 58th person in the world to be reported to have RPC, I feel so alone, I have no one to go to, no one can relate, the doctors canít even treat me and donít want to try (not that I blame them). Iím scared, frustrated, and so alone. Volunteering to help fund a camp to help kids relate to other kids, face their fear, turn their back on their frustration and never have to worry about being alone again, well it worth all the time in the world to me. Let's work together and raise funds for a cure!
This holiday season, Iím participating in the Arthritis Foundationís Jingle Bell Run. This family-friendly, fun and festive 5K raises funds to help the Arthritis Foundation search for a cure while providing life-changing information and support to people with arthritis. Please join me or donate to support the Arthritis Foundationís important work to find a cure.