A MESSAGE FROM TEENA:
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT…I am a triathlete! And I have a medal to prove it. Via myteamtriumph.org, I completed the Door County Sprint Triathlon in Wisconsin on July 19th. Team Teena included Cpt. Teena (yours truly, and humbly), Athlete Angels Matt, Marc, and Kris, and Transition Angel Karol. I can say, “I swam, I biked, I ran, and it was exhilarating!” because my Athlete Angels provided their physical abilities to pull and push me along, and Transition Angel Karol helped me safely move from boat to cart and provided little things that mattered (like a helmet!).
For too many people, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) hits either suddenly or insidiously and is an unwanted and destructive lifelong partner. To tolerate it, people cling to hope and need the understanding and support from family and friends. I had to give up athletic enjoyments because of RA – no more biking, water skiing, playing basketball, etc., biking (noted twice because that was my favorite sport). So I thank myTeam Triumph, my angels, and my cheering family for bringing sports back that I can actually, physically participate in. So thrilling.
Look into arthritis.org for inspiring stories about life with arthritis, and please donate to help with medical research and public awareness. Thank you! – Teena. Anyone up for a triathlon?
If ever there was an event that was cool, it was myTeam Triumph which took place July 19 in Egg Harbor, Wisconsin. The organization partners with existing events and hosts their own events so people with physical and mental challenges can participate in sports that many of us take for granted.
This event partnered with the Door County Triathlon sprint on Saturday, which we did, and the 70.3 on Sunday. My brother Marc learned of this organization in Green Bay and proposed it to Teena, our sister with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Captain Teena, Marc, Kris, a colleague of Marc’s, me and my wife Karol, were Team Teena!
Since Marc and Kris live near the race site, they were able to practice the swim portion using the raft that would hold Teena. Teena, Karol and I had to wait til we were at the race site as we live in Indiana. The myTeam Triumph director Chris, graciously took time when we arrived to assemble the cart Teena would use and help us with fine tuning the fit. Comfort and safety were paramount. Kris would do the swim portion pulling the raft with a harness around her waist while Marc and I swam on the right and left of the raft.
At T1, Karol and other volunteers expertly and seamlessly transferred Teena from the raft to the cart for the bike portion of the event. Once the cart was attached to the rear drop-out of the bike frame we were on the road! Of course there was the riding crop that kept the pace up! Marc, Kris and I each pulled about a third of the total bike distance.
T2 had us rolling out at a good pace allowing us to give high fives to the crowd and shouts to other competitors. Again, we each took turns pushing the cart, this time though, no riding crop!
We were really glad to have had this opportunity to give Teena a day “in the saddle”! As I think back over the years, I don’t think I’ve seen Teena enjoy herself as much as she did this day (and I know she’s had some doozies too!). Many thanks to Chris, the myTeam Triumph Wisconsin Chapter race organizer for going out on a limb and starting this chapter, to Marc for proposing this event, and to Kris and Karol for their enthusiastic participation. It was a blast!
Today is race day! The Dances With Dirt 50K in Brown County State Park, BCSP, is being run right now as I write, so why aren’t I running instead of writing? It’s not because of the rain that started early morning filling the creeks and making the course muddy and slippery. It’s my darned glutes!
I’ve had tremendous fun ramping up the weekly mileage, adding long runs in the forests and parks in the area. Long runs in the hills, gaining insight as to race strategy and how to approach the monster hills of Brown County all increased my anticipation of what was to be a very challenging event. Until my longest and hilliest training run in BCSP a month ago. Twenty two miles, 3500ft of elevation gain and almost 5 hours of fun overcooked my right glutes, deep muscles and tendons. A week later I was limping in obvious pain and haven’t run since. Rats!
So it’s off to the doctor next week to find out why it’s not healing. Rolling, stretching and Ibuprofen have all failed my own attempts at rehab, so I guess it’s time to call in the experts. It’s also time to hit the pool and get ready for the Team Triumph Sprint Triathlon in Door County this July.
It’s also time for you, the reader, to sign the following Action Alert found on the Arthritis Foundation’s “May is Arthritis Month” notice. There are many good articles with pertinent information about arthritis. Please add your name in support of finding a cure!
Hot off the press from the Jingle Bell Run/Walk Shoestring E-Newsletter!
Jingle Bell Run/Walk Honoree
“Meet Teena Anderson. Teena is a living example of just how far arthritis research has come. Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 14, doctors put her on a steady course of steroids and gold injections and told her she couldn’t play sports. Of course, we now know that movement is the best medicine for arthritis, and that’s why, despite her physical limitations, Teena has agreed to serve as the adult honoree for the 2014 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Congratulations Teena!”
Sign up for the Shoestring E-Newsletter today to keep up on all the local events and news!
Congratulations Teena on winning the 2013 Heart of the Mission Award at the Indianapolis Chapter Arthritis Foundation Volunteer Recognition Dinner! Many hours of dedication and hard work culminated in an unanticipated yet very much deserved award.
Congratulations also to the other award winners who are dedicated to a wonderful organization, working tirelessly behind the scenes and directly with arthritis sufferers. You’re all appreciated!
Our 2013 Award Winners, from left to right: Teena Anderson (Heart of the Mission Award), Cheryl Kingsbury (Development Volunteer of the Year Award), Kevin Mandrell (Leadership Council Member of the Year Award) and Dr. Peter Chira (Consumer Health Volunteer Leadership Award) — at Dave and Busters banquet facility.
Please take a few minutes to explore the Arthritis Foundation website found in the left sidebar and consider volunteering, making a donation, or participating in an event!
As an athlete, whenever I’ve needed to see a physician about a sports-related injury, I’ve had choices in medical specialists and know I can get an appointment relatively soon and close to home. Just ask a fellow athlete and you’ll get several sports med doctors in your community. Kids with arthritis must see “the next best doctor,” which means a family practitioner unfamiliar with the nuances of childhood arthritis, or a rheumatologist who treats adults. Infants, toddlers and youths get arthritis, too, not just adults. Here are some numbers that are rather eye-opening:
Feb. 2013 data
The U.S. has approximately 300,000 children – ages one day to 16 years – with juvenile arthritis.
The U.S. has around 300 pediatric-rheumatologists. (I see a severe shortage here!)
The U.S. doesn’t have even one pediatric-rheumatologist in 11 of its 50 states according to the map at left. (Oh boy, let’s take a long trip just to get to one, and then expect a long wait for appointments!) 24% of pediatric cases must travel over 80 miles to see a pediatric-rheumatologist.
The majority of pediatric-rheumatologists work in teaching hospitals, which reduces the time they can be available for actual patient care.
To serve these 300,000 children, each of our current pediatric-rheumatologists have, in theory, 1,000 patients. If these pediatric-rheumatologists examine, and treat their patients once a week, which is common in the world of juvenile arthritis, each pediatric-rheumatologist would need to see 25 patients an hour, during a 40-hour workweek. (I sure wouldn’t want my kid seen on a Friday!)
If each of these doctors used all 120 hours of a 24-hour-per-day 5-day workweek, he or she would still need to see 8 patients an hour. (I still wouldn’t want my kid seen on a Friday!)
That gives each doctor less than 8 minutes with a patient.
My estimates are inflated, of course. My fear is not.
The U.S. has an incentive program that reimburses a medical intern/resident in pediatrics up to $35,000 to complete a subspecialty education for kids with arthritis.
Please, help spread the word.
Click the following link for a presentation by the Arthritis Foundation with more eye opening stats
Thanks Teena for your input!
The triathlon season hasn’t started yet, at least in the cold climate areas, but that hasn’t stopped the planning! My brother Marc, found a great way to include our sister Teena in the sport. In July, a group of us will take part in the Door County Sprint Triathlon in Wisconsin. It’s a full team effort with Teena front and center!
Team Triumph is a national organization that helps pair able-bodied athletes with people, who for reasons of disease progression, aren’t able to accomplish certain feats on their own. So as a team of Angels (we’re actually called Angels!), Marc, Cindy-a coworker of Marc’s, my wife Karol and I, will be Angels assisting the Captain of the team, Teena, through all three portions of the triathlon!
It’ll be a challenge for us all. For Teena, who hasn’t taken part of any of these sports for many years (I hear she’s been training!), and for the rest of us in learning to handle new equipment and new situations. One angel will pull a raft during the swim, another will ride an adaptive bike, and another push an adaptive chair, all with Teena aboard. The 4th Angel assists at the transitions helping the Captain get ready for the next leg. And the event is in beautiful Door County Wisconsin to boot!
It’ll be a blast for sure! Come see us compete or keep your eye on the results page, better yet find a chapter near you and become an Angel!