This year I will be representing the young adults who live with the chronic disease Rheumatoid Arthritis as the 2015 Walk to Cure Arthritis Adult Honoree for Colorado. I am very excited to share my story and connect with others on this journey.

honoree_1_2014_webMy story with this disease started 10 years ago, when I was hospitalized during my last year of college for severe stomach pain. After many blood tests, immunology panels and an elimination diet, the doctors vaguely diagnosed me with extreme food allergies and an infected gut. Immediately following graduation, I had to have patella realignment surgery in both knees after the doctors found a degenerative form of arthritis in my knees.

A few years later, I was pursuing a masters program in San Francisco when I started having acute pain in my wrists, ankles and spine. The doctors finally diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 24.

For the past 6 years, I have gone through numerous medications and biologic infusions, trying to find the right combination to one day put this disease in remission. I went through foot surgery to correct some arthritic damage last year and my diagnosis was recently updated to Psoriatic Arthritis, which includes psoriasis of the skin in addition to rheumatoid arthritis of the joints.

In 2011, I started this blog to share my experiences and knowledge with others and to help spread awareness of this debilitating disease. I also began volunteering my graphic design and marketing skills to the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk to Cure Arthritis Committee back in 2014.

This year my pledge as the Adult Honoree for the walk will be to raise $5000 to help the Arthritis Foundation find a cure. The Walk to Cure Arthritis in Denver raises funds and spreads awareness to fight the nation’s leading cause of disability. We aren’t just helping the 50 million Americans and 300,000 children who live with arthritis pain, we’re funding research that’s getting us closer to a cure.

Please help me support the Arthritis Foundation with your donation, which will help with creating additional research programs, allow for new breakthroughs in medications, and help find a cure for arthritis.

Here is my personal donation page: http://walktocurearthritisdenver.kintera.org/laurenmarchi

Also, if you are in the Denver metro area, please join my team on May 17th in Washington Park. Here is the registration page: http://walktocurearthritisdenver.kintera.org/thedailychronicwalkers

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