BATON ROUGE, La – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is observing May as Arthritis Awareness Month, highlighting the fact that 1 million Louisiana adults and an estimated 5,000 children struggle with arthritis. The disease, which can strike at any age, affects more than 56 million American adults and 300,000 children.
To raise awareness and funds for research into the causes of arthritis and better treatments, Blue Cross is sponsoring and supporting the 2022 Walk to Cure Arthritis (WTCA) in Baton Rouge on Saturday, May 21.
Arthritis is one of the most widespread health conditions in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). It is the nation’s leading cause of disability. Arthritis is not a single disease but a family of more than 100 types of diseases that cause pain, aching, stiffness and swelling of the joints. The three most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.
The CDC, Arthritis Foundation and other partners observe Arthritis Awareness Month each year to recognize the serious impact of arthritis on Americans’ health. One out of four American adults are affected by some form of arthritis.
Almost 300,000 children nationwide have juvenile arthritis, which can attack a child’s eyes, skin and lungs, sometimes causing rashes, low fevers and severe pain. The effectiveness of existing treatments for both children and adults can vary by patient, but they are improving as researchers continue to study arthritis prevention, treatment and possible cures.
Arthritis patient and Blue Cross employee Robin Mayhall was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 21. “Right now there’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis,” she says. “But I am always hopeful for the future. I want to see the day when people newly diagnosed with this devastating disease can be cured rather than living out their lives in pain and disability.”
Blue Cross support for members with arthritis
If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, Blue Cross’ care team is here to support you on the journey to optimal health. You may be able to work with a health coach who can give you personalized information, guidance and encouragement. There is no cost to work with a Blue Cross health coach. Visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger to learn more about available programs and services, or how to sign up for health coaching.
Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA to see graphics and posts about Care Management programs and other resources for members who have arthritis. You can like, share or repost these to your personal social media channels to help raise awareness during May. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok. Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short health videos on various topics. Subscribe to know when Blue Cross adds new videos.
Details about the 2022 Walk to Cure Arthritis
Mayhall, 52, is this year’s adult honoree for the Baton Rouge WTCA, recognizing her 30-plus years of battling arthritis, volunteering for the Arthritis Foundation and advocating for people with disabilities. She is team captain for Blue Cross’ team in this year’s WTCA. In this video (1:14), Mayhall talks about her experiences with the disease.
The youth honoree is 5-year old Makaylah Ledet, who was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in 2019. Her large and enthusiastic team of “Makaylahnators!!!” are a yearly presence at the Baton Rouge walk.
“We are so grateful to our honorees, walk teams, and sponsors, not to mention all the family members, friends and coworkers who come out for the walk every year,” said Kelli Dreiling, Arthritis Foundation executive director for Louisiana. “They know the impact of arthritis more than anyone else. They really want to support what we are doing.”
The pre-walk activities will be held in and around the C.B. Pennington Jr. Conference Center, Building G of the complex at 6400 Perkins Road. Participants will then have their choice of a one-mile or three-mile walk around the lake, weather permitting.
The schedule is:
9 a.m. Site opens near the lake
9:30 a.m. Program begins with top teams, individuals and sponsor recognition
10 a.m. Walk begins
(Leisurely walk around the lake—as many laps as you’d like)
Noon Event concludes
The WTCA is free to join. To register, go online at www.walktocurearthritis.org/BatonRouge or download the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk to Cure Arthritis app. For help or more information, contact Kelli Dreiling at email@example.com or (832) 213-6614.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past three years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.