Arthritis Foundation, Great West Region, Inc. Programs
Access and Advocacy
People with arthritis face unique barriers to care: high costs of treatment, difficulty accessing medications, scarcity of specialists and more. It’s hard for any individual to fight the battle alone. But through the Arthritis Foundation’s effective and committed advocacy network, we’re working to address key issues on both the state and federal levels with lawmakers, insurers and regulators. From your hometown to the halls of Congress – backed by more than 75,000 nationwide, active advocates – we’re helping change laws to make health care more accessible and affordable.
Since 1948, we have invested half a billion dollars in research, leading to the first biologics for rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis. We’re working every day to find a cure. Science holds the key to finding better treatments and one day a cure for the more than 52 million Americans with arthritis and related diseases. On their behalf, the Arthritis Foundation continues to lead and fund cutting-edge scientific investigation to discover more about arthritis – what causes it, what affects it, what can stop it – and what can keep it from developing in the first place. Our new scientific strategy will lead to a faster cure by strengthening the research pipeline and engaging creative minds.
Help and Support
We’re the most trusted source of information about arthritis and chronic joint pain. At the Arthritis Foundation, we’re expanding our reach to assist even more people with arthritis. We offer trusted information, powerful health tracking tools and ways to connect with others. Our toll-free Arthritis Helpline is run by special trained volunteers who put together personalized packets of information based on the caller's particular interests. We’re working with health care providers and other partners to strengthen our educational and interactive offerings. We’re also building a state-of-the-art digital enterprise so you can customize your online experience, find local resources and live better than ever.
The needs of families living with juvenile arthritis (JA) are unique and urgent. In Washington alone, more than 6,000 children have JA. Multiply that by their parents, siblings, extended family and others, and the number of people affected is astronomical. Our Kids and Teen program (KAT) provides educational and social activities for children with JA, and their families. Activities range from afternoon events to summer weekend camps. All KAT Program activities are free. There is no cure for arthritis, but our KAT Program gives families hope that they can cope with this painful disease until there is a cure.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
KAT-FISH Family Camp (Kids And Teens’ Families Investing Support and Hope) is a free weekend retreat that gives children with juvenile arthritis (JA) , and their families, the opportunity to meet other families, learn about arthritis, and have fun in a supportive setting. Camp is an integral part of our outreach to children with JA and other rheumatic diseases and is the only camp in WA to serve these children.
The success of camp is apparent in the rising number of participants: camp started in 2004 with 19 children with arthritis, and their families, and in 2014 we hosted 70 families for a total of more than 200 participants. Parents volunteer for the camp planning committee, and teens with arthritis or have a sibling with arthritis who attended camp often return as staff in training or junior counselors. As a result of the networking opportunities at camp, parents have initiated informal local support and social groups. Needs
Because KAT-FISH Family Camp is free to attend, we are constantly in need of funding. Costs associated with treating JA can be staggering and a constant source of stress. KAT-FISH Camp may be the only vacation for many of these families. Doctor appointments, medicines and physical therapy all take precedent as parents endeavor to keep lasting physical damage at a minimum and ease the pain that comes with arthritis. Funding is primarily used for the costs associated with room and board for the weekend at a camp facility.