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Incredible arthritis volunteers honoured

Incredible arthritis volunteers honoured

“Arthritis New Zealand is delighted with the news that some of its dedicated volunteers have been recognised in the 2014 Minister of Health Volunteer Awards,” says Chief Executive Sandra Kirby. These awards recognise and celebrate the invaluable contributions of volunteers to the health and disability sector in New Zealand, and highlight the commitment and willingness that individuals and teams of volunteers have demonstrated within that sector. Arthritis New Zealand’s Community Gout Champions have won the Māori/Pacific Health Service Award, and Clare Richards is runner up in the Long Service Award.

The Māori/Pacific Health Service Award honours individual or teams of volunteers who show passion and commitment to a Māori/Pacific health service. Nominees were required to have contributed to Māori health and disability services through their ongoing dedication and enthusiasm, and to have ensured their communities were supported to the highest degree. And the Long Service Award recognises volunteers who have made a long-standing commitment to voluntary work for health and disability organisations. The Community Gout Champions will receive their award at a ceremony in Auckland in Friday 20 June, while Clare Richards will receive her award at a ceremony in Christchurch on Monday 30 June.

“Gout is the second most common form of arthritis in New Zealand. The incidence of gout is much higher among Māori and Pacific men than other populations groups and often occurs at a younger age. These are populations that can be difficult to reach, but our Community Gout Champions have had success in communicating their message through attending Hui, Marae, markets, and health day meetings, and talking to whanau. They have succeeded in getting the message across that gout is nothing to be ashamed of, and that it can be controlled.”

“Clare Richards has contributed significantly to Arthritis New Zealand and people with arthritis. Despite numerous joint replacements she has maintained a positive outlook on life and is a great example of what people can do if they have the right attitude. Clare’s enthusiasm for helping people to overcome the effects of their own arthritis and to make society more accommodating have lead to her involvement with various support groups and activities over many years. She has been at the forefront of many forms of advocacy activities, including campaigning for access to medicines, for more user friendly packaging, packaging, and for better seating for people with disabilities at Christchurch Airport. She has also been involved in the governance of Arthritis New Zealand at local, regional and national level, and her efforts were recognised by being awarded Arthritis New Zealand’s Premier Award in 2012.”

“Arthritis is one of New Zealand’s leading causes of disability. Arthritis New Zealand is the national organisation focussed on raising awareness of the more than 140 different forms of arthritis, advocating for those with the condition, and providing advice and support. And w are grateful for the efforts of all our volunteers,” Ms Kirby concluded.


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