The Arthritis Society

The Arthritis Society

September 17, 2015 15:14 ET

Vancouver Entrepreneur is Stepping Forward for Arthritis Awareness Month

A diagnosis of severe Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at age six has meant a lifetime of pain

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 17, 2015) - Vancouver entrepreneur Tamara Komuniecki was diagnosed with severe Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at age six. As a former national broadcast and print journalist and magazine editor, and current owner of Delish General Store on Granville Island, she is a fantastic role model for not letting the disease slow her down. Through chronic pain, four joint replacements and many other Arthritis-related surgeries and debilitating inflammatory attacks, Komuniecki has built a very successful career. But there comes a time when one needs to step forward and ask for help. This month - Arthritis Awareness Month - is that time.

This month alone (which seems ironic with it being Arthritis Awareness Month), Komuniecki is faced with medical appointments with her rheumatologist, orthopedic surgeons and an internal medicine specialist, and needing to make decisions surrounding Arthritis-related surgeries, all while running a business and being a mom (to her adored and adoring son who she's never been able to pick up and hold normally due to the severe joint pain in her hands).

A recent visit to a surgeon has revealed that Komuniecki, who is only 43, is in need of another hip replacement. The surgery could take place right away, but she feels that it is too soon to be unable to fully care for her son, as she just had a shoulder replacement six months ago, and her first hip replacement two years ago. And, the cost of hiring extra staff for Delish General Store during the recovery period exceeds any available budget. Komuniecki's left ankle and left elbow also need surgery, but that waitlist is at least 11 months, so the decision of when to operate, and what to do surgery on first, becomes even more complex.

For an able-bodied person, this constant juggling act of medications, medical appointments and surgeries, let alone being a mom and a store owner, could get to be too much. But the way Komuniecki sees it, this is her life and there's no other way. "It gets annoying at times. Managing this disease is like a full-time job, but I don't let it stop me from doing what I want to get done. I have goals and dreams like anyone else, and I refuse to let this disease rob me of achieving them. It is Arthritis Awareness Month and I think it's important for people to understand the reality of what it looks like to be a busy mom and store owner who has a very active and damaging disease."

Komuniecki is calling for Arthritis action - take action to find out more and to donate in support of advances in education and care for those affected by the disease. Information on the disease and how to donate can be found online at http://www.arthritis.ca/.

About Delish General Store

Located on Granville Island, Delish General Store (www.delishgeneralstore.com) began as an extension of Delish Magazine, a free e-mag that ran for seven issues. The publication and later the shop came about as an extension of what its creator believes in: traditional values in a modern mindset.

About Arthritis in Canada

Arthritis can strike anyone at anytime, regardless of age, physical condition or ethnic background, often with devastating and debilitating effects. Arthritis brings with it a burden of pain and disability that those living with this disease must face every day. The main symptoms of arthritis are chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling, which can result in significant disability and poor quality of life. 4.6 million Canadians - Over 4.6 million Canadian adults (one in six Canadians aged 15 years and older) report having arthritis. By 2036, this number is expected to grow to an estimated 7.5 million Canadian adults (one in five). $33 billion - The impact of arthritis on the Canadian economy in health-care costs and lost productivity is estimated to be $33 billion each year. By 2031, this number is expected to more than double to over $67 billion. Among all causes of disability in Canada, arthritis ranks first among women and third among men. There is no cure for arthritis.

Visit http://www.arthritis.ca/ to learn more about the disease.

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