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Published on April 18th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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The Arthritis Foundation honors Scholarship Advocate, Kiona Harvey

KayHarveyCOLUMBIA, SC- This year, the Arthritis Foundation Mid Atlantic Region gave out 9 scholarships to advocates living with arthritis. Kiona “Kay” Harvey from Columbia, SC was one of the chosen advocates to attend the annual Advocacy Summit on Capitol Hill. The Advocacy Summit is an event that brings people living with and affected by arthritis from every corner of the United States to convene in Washington, D.C. There the advocates learn how to advocate and build a continuing relationship with their Members of Congress. Kiona was able to meet with Joe Wilson, Republican, who is located in the 2nd congressional district of South Carolina.

Kiona is a military veteran and prior solider who suffers from osteoarthritis in her knees and lower back. Kiona found her passion for fighting for arthritis when she began working at Arthritis Health Associates in Syracuse, NY under Dr. Patrick Riccardi. She was a lab technician and this was her first encounter of working with arthritis patients. There she was able to become very knowledgeable of how serious the disease is. “I was able to work with first hand with patients and I really learned how important finding a cure was to their lives” stated Harvey. Due to her arthritis she has been involved with the Arthritis Foundation for several years; she has been an e-advocate and an ambassador since 2010. She even participated in their signature Jingle Bell Run in Syracuse, NY in 2011. Her involvement with the Foundation urged her to apply to win a scholarship to attend the 2014 Advocacy Summit. When she was chosen to attend the Advocacy Summit in D.C. she was ecstatic “I knew that the Summit would allow me to have a voice and this made me excited because I knew I could be the voice for other people fighting this disease” said Harvey.

“It is a fact that so many people believe in what a cure will do to enhance their lives. I believe in science and theory, but you can’t teach hope. The hope that everyone had at the Summit was invaluable, especially the children, they were so hopeful. The Summit truly gave me strength, inspiration, and hope” stated Harvey. Together, with other advocates and Arthritis Foundation staff meeting with legislators and staff on Capitol Hill to tell Congress that ignoring arthritis is unacceptable it can make a difference. Kiona’s involvement is just one example of how your voice can make a difference in finding a cure.

For more information on how to become an e-advocate or an ambassador for arthritis contact Cecil Wallace at cwallace@arthritis.org or 202-787-5328. For more information on the 2014 Advocacy Summit go to: http://www.arthritis.org/advocacy/advocate-news/advocacy-summit/

Arthritis is unacceptable. It can be a crippling and life changing disease that can strike at any age. The prevalence of arthritis or chronic joint symptoms is surging and affecting more than 50 million Americans. In the Mid Atlantic Region, 5.7 million people are affected by doctor diagnosed arthritis and nearly 1 million are South Carolina residents; with 4,000 being children.

About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the leading health organization addressing the needs of more than 50 million Americans living with Arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has many service points, including those located in the Mid Atlantic Region: Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $400 million in research grants since 1948. The foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

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