Morning Tea for Arthritis Queensland to Mark World Arthritis Day
Acting President, Dr Helen Benham; CEO, Ms Emma Thompson; staff, volunteers and supporters of Arthritis Queensland. Kaye and I are delighted you could join us this morning to mark World Arthritis Day here at Government House.
As Patron for Arthritis Queensland, I am pleased to have the opportunity to thank this wonderful organisation, and all of the many committed supporters, volunteers, and researchers who work so hard to improve the lives of fellow Queenslanders living with this debilitating condition.
With over 100 different types, the condition is complex and affects people in different ways.
At its worst, arthritis can result in life-threatening complications, while as a chronic disorder, the pain and suffering it causes reaches far beyond the physical.
Indeed, I was saddened to learn that over a quarter of people enduring arthritic pain also suffer a mental health condition. And it is significant, ladies and gentlemen, that today is World Mental Health Day. For many, the effort to perform the simplest everyday functions becomes a daily struggle.
Arthritis Queensland has a vision to see “an end to the pain of arthritis”.
While this is a challenging ideal, it is also a profoundly encouraging one.
For over 40 years, this remarkable not for profit organisation has provided Queenslanders with vital, life-changing guidance and support.
I was humbled to read on your website the stories of people like Mikaela. Diagnosed with reactive arthritis at just 16, she highlighted how dramatically her life changed as a result of her condition.
She says: “My life goal was to gain a high OP score of below 5, study Paramedics and then advance within that job. Suddenly my life goal was just to get up every morning.”
I think Mikaela’s words eloquently express what everyone in this room knows – arthritis is not selective – it can strike all ages, at any life-stage, and while it is treatable, a cure remains elusive.
As advocate and educator, Arthritis Queensland is furthering the importance of research in discovering more about the triggers causing arthritis, as well as developing more effective treatments.
World Arthritis Day, marked globally on October 12, reminds us that the best way to improve outcomes is to seek early diagnosis and access to appropriate care.
Given children much younger than Mikaela can develop the condition, this message seems even more important.
On behalf of all Queenslanders, I commend Arthritis Queensland, its small band of dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters, and the Board of Directors, for their determination and initiative.
With the tremendous efforts from all of you here this morning, I am hopeful that “an end to the pain of arthritis” will become a reality. I thank you again for your contributions.