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Arthritis takes a heavy toll on individuals, loved ones and, ultimately, the entire country. The No. 1 cause of disability in the nation racks up 172 million workdays lost each year and billions of dollars in health care costs.

One in five people will receive a diagnosis during their lifetime of one of the 100-plus types of arthritis. “Children are affected as well,” Kim Rosenthal, Missouri | Arthritis Foundation development manager, says. “Arthritis affects all ages.” More than 300,000 youth and countless young adults in their prime are afflicted, facing significant pain and limitation throughout their lives.

Arthritis Foundation helps patients to become better equipped at managing and controlling their disease. Personalized medicine, grounded in proven science, can eliminate trial and error. Gaps between patients, providers and researchers can be bridged. Patients can miss less school and work due to illness – and treatment costs don’t have to drain pocketbooks as much as they do today.

“Arthritis Foundation’s four health care initiatives touch everybody,” Deb Winzen, volunteer and marketing chair, says. “[The organization] really embraces patients’ feedback – more than ever before. The No. 1 complaint from patients in any form of health care is that they feel like they’re not being heard.” (For a full list of these initiatives, see below.)

Alpha Omicron Pi [AOΠ] recently joined Arthritis Foundation as a national partner. Philanthropic work always has been a main focus for AOΠ, which targets issues important to women and their communities. In 1967, AOΠ chose arthritis as its official philanthropy because of its impact. Since then, collegiate and alumnae chapters have raised more than $3 million to fund programs and research initiatives. At the national Juvenile Arthritis Conferences, children received and fell in love with their gifts of a stuffed panda, the unofficial mascot of AOΠ.

For seven decades, Arthritis Foundation has led the fight to advance scientific discovery for better treatments and a cure – for all types of arthritis. It is the largest source of nongovernmental funding for research leading to new arthritis therapies, developing tremendous new treatments and making progress toward cures. Newly diagnosed patients and caregivers looking for resources and trusted information can find the help they need through Arthritis Foundation.

Missouri | Arthritis Foundation, 9433 Olive St., Suite 100, St. Louis, 314-991-9333, 800-406-2491 (toll-free),

The Arthritis Foundation’s 37th annual Silver Ball Gala

The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. Money raised at the annual gala funds valuable resources for local patients and their families, as well as research for improved treatments and cures.

Call 314-447-4880 or visit to register or donate.

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