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Annual Appeal Reveals the Many Faces of Arthritis

Annual Appeal Reveals the Many Faces of Arthritis

Arthritis takes many forms and no-one is immune by way of age or gender.

That’s why the theme chosen for the 2008 Arthritis New Zealand annual appeal, September 26 – October 3 is “The Many Faces of Arthritis”.

It features four people at different stages of their lives – a small child, a teenager, a person at the peak of their life and a senior citizen.

“We wanted to emphasise to the public that arthritis is not, as many people tend to think, a disease that is associated just with old age,” says Arthritis New Zealand National Fundraising Co-ordinator, Graeme Ching.

The youngest face in the campaign is that of three-year-old Michael. A rare immune deficiency disease led to a diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.

Michael’s symptoms began just after his first birthday. In the space of three weeks, he went from being an active little boy to not being able to stand. He couldn’t even get out of bed due to terrible pain.

He has a diagnosis of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. This is the most common form of arthritis in children causing inflammation in the joints.

Michael is treated with injections of a highly potent drug that has numerous side effects, including renal, liver and respiratory problems.

Despite the constant aching and pains in the middle of the night and limping first thing in the morning, Michael is a remarkably happy, easy-going little boy. And thanks to medications, at least he can walk.

One in every 1,000 children in New Zealand suffers from a form of juvenile arthritis. There is no known cure.

Anna was just 14-years-old with ambitions to become a dancer when her arthritis was diagnosed. She had a hip replacement at 17 and is unable to pursue her dream of a dancing career.

Arthritis New Zealand’s “third face of arthritis” needs little introduction, having been an ambassador for Arthritis New Zealand for three years.

International cricket umpire Billy Bowden’s promising career as a player ended abruptly when in 1986, as a 21-year-old, he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

He has never let his condition stop him rising to the top of the umpiring ladder and is recognised around the world for his crooked finger signalling “you’re out!”

The fourth face in Arthritis New Zealand’s campaign is Anne from Palmerston North, a woman in her ‘70s with osteoarthritis.

She came to New Zealand from Africa six years ago and found the winters very cold and damp which seemed to set off her osteoarthritis symptoms.

She saw an advertisement about Arthritis New Zealand, became involved and began self management through information, advice and exercise.

The annual appeal is hoping to top $500,000.

“We were just under half a million two years ago and I know collectors and volunteers will be going all out to top that,” Graeme says.

“You can be sure Arthritis New Zealand collectors will be very visible, in many areas dressing up for the occasion.”

There’s an element of competitiveness between the divisions, seeing who can come up with the most eye catching displays – people dressing up as oranges, dressing up as pumpkins and selling pumpkin soup, setting up displays of balloons, flags, posters and banners.

In addition to the street day appeal, Arthritis New Zealand is sending out 120,000 personally addressed letters in a direct mail campaign.

These will reinforce the message about the many faces of arthritis and remind people where the money collected goes: the full range of services offered at the 25 service centres nationwide, educators, educational print materials and research to name a few.

While Graeme says he and all the volunteers and Arthritis New Zealand members and supporters are hoping for a record collection, the money raised is not the only objective of the annual appeal.

“Creating awareness that arthritis can strike at any time, at any age is the key message.”

For further information about Arthritis and Arthritis New Zealand organisation please refer to our website,

- A national appeal was first introduced as an important fundraising tool for Arthritis New Zealand in 1983 – it has been going strong ever since.

- Last year’s Arthritis Orange Appeal (2007) raised more than $450,000. Each year we target to keep increasing the amount raised while keeping costs to a minimum.

- Money stays in the region in which it is raised.

- Appeal week is not only a time to raise funds; it is also a time to raise awareness of arthritis, Arthritis New Zealand and our work in the community

- Each region organises their own activities with the key points being big, bold and fun, with plenty of orange!

- Why orange? This colour represents strength, determination, encouragement and hope for people with arthritis. By using the colour orange, Arthritis New Zealand wishes to invoke feelings of brightness and positivity as well as warmth and inclusion. It is a highly visible, distinctive colour.

- Arthritis New Zealand gratefully acknowledges the generous support of its two national appeal sponsors: Zostrix and Radio Network.

Arthritis New Zealand Icon

THE GERBERA: symbol of hope, empowerment, support and happiness

After just two years since it was first tested for market response, the gerbera has now become the official icon of Arthritis New Zealand.

The bright orange flower symbol fits well with Arthritis New Zealand’s orange brand, says Graeme Ching, National Fundraising Co-ordinator for Arthritis New Zealand.

“It is synonymous with empowerment, a positive attitude, happiness in health and with hope in finding a cure.

“It’s also something people can keep as a reminder long after the appeal,” Mr Ching says.

The first year the flowers were trialled, 30,000 were given away. Last year the number grew to 150,000 and this year the target is 250,000.

The gerberas will be available not just on street corners on street day, but also in static displays in shops, pharmacies and businesses.

Arthritis New Zealand’s background
- and why we need to fundraise

Arthritis New Zealand is a not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of those with arthritis. Our main aim is to enable a better quality of life for those affected by this disease.

It all started in 1966, under the banner Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation, but it wasn’t until 1978 that things started to resemble what there is today; it was at this time that the Foundation was named as beneficiary of the national Telethon.

Up to this point there had been a severe shortage of funds. The $3.3 million received from the telethon went towards forming regional divisions; the impetus gained led to promoting the awareness and education of people with arthritis.

However, as the activities of the foundation grew it was realised the telethon grant would soon be spent.

It costs Arthritis New Zealand $5.7 million annually to provide essential services. The Government provides approximately 11% of these costs to the organisation, the rest has to be found elsewhere – namely through fundraising activities like the Arthritis Orange Appeal and the Lucky Orange Lottery.

The Arthritis Orange Appeal is vital to Arthritis New Zealand’s fundraising strategy. The income raised through the appeal is crucial to continuing client services programmes at their current level and managing the increase in clients each year.

These services encompass Arthritis Educators who provide advice, self-management courses, seminars and assessment as well as referrals to other services as appropriate. Localised support groups also offer a range of additional help with the likes of social meetings and youth groups.

Arthritis New Zealand provides educational and informational material and advocacy programmes. We commission and fund research projects through the National Arthritis Research Fund; providing monetary grants for New Zealand research into the causes and treatment of arthritis.

The organisation exists to improve the health and wellbeing of people affected by arthritis. This can only be done with the help of a generous community and their contribution.

Who is Arthritis New Zealand?

Arthritis New Zealand is one of New Zealand’s largest and most respected not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of over half a million people whose lives are affected by this painful and often debilitating disease. Our main aim is to enable a better quality of life for those people living with the pain and immobility of arthritis.

What is arthritis?
Arthritis means inflammation of the joint that can affect spine, muscle, tendons, bones, as well as joints. Arthritis is the single greatest cause of disability in New Zealand. It is a painful and unpredictable disease that affects one-in-six New Zealanders over 15 years of age. It can affect anyone at any stage of life from infants to the elderly – over 1000 children are diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). There are more than 140 different forms of arthritis and there is NO CURE!

Why we fundraise?
It costs Arthritis New Zealand around $5.7 million annually to provide essential services. The Government provides approximately 11% of these costs to the organisation, the rest has to be found elsewhere – namely through various local fundraising activities. Activities include our Annual Orange Appeal, the Lucky Orange Lotteries, donations and special events.

How is the money spent?
The net income raised is distributed throughout our 25 Arthritis Service Centres and helps provide essential services for people with arthritis and their families.

The services include direct support through our 35 Arthritis Educators that includes advice, self-management courses, seminars and assessment as well as referrals to other services as appropriate.

Services also include education and information, public awareness and advocacy.

Localised support groups also offer a range of additional help with the likes of social meetings and youth groups.

Arthritis New Zealand also funds research projects through the National Arthritis Research Fund; providing monetary grants for research into the causes and treatment of arthritis.

How you can help?
Arthritis relies heavily on gifts and donations to continue our work in the community. Become a member of Arthritis New Zealand, have fun volunteering, make a donation, leave a bequest, participate in a special event or try your luck with our Lucky Orange Lottery.

For more information visit our website or call Arthritis New Zealand on 0800 663 463
Key messages from
Arthritis New Zealand

- Over 522,000 New Zealanders (one in six people) are living with at least one type of arthritis.

- Arthritis affects people of all ages, from infants through to the elderly and can strike at any time.

- 25,440 New Zealanders are unable to work because of their arthritis.

- There are 140 different types of arthritis, of which rheumatoid, gout and osteoarthritis are the most common.

- Arthritis is painful and the leading cause of disability in this country. There is no cure.

- Arthritis New Zealand enables a better quality of life for people with arthritis through a variety of services and programmes. These include: information and education, self-management courses, advocacy, research and raising public awareness.

- The demand for our services continues to grow rapidly each year due in part to New Zealand’s aging population. It takes frugal planning to accommodate this growth. Donations given during the appeal week are vital to the running of Arthritis New Zealand to meet needs.

- Arthritis New Zealand continues to lobby vigorously to have arthritis recognised as a serious health issue. Currently we are funded under the Disability Issues Directorate with the issues of drug subsidies and rheumatologist shortages falling into Vote Health.

- Those with arthritis are brave and often determined to maintain a measure of independence and contribute to life as best they can.

- Waiting times for newly diagnosed people to see a rheumatologist are still too long. It takes an average of 6-12 months to see a specialist - nearer to 12 months if requiring follow-up treatment.

- Extended time on hospital waiting lists and insufficient access to a wide range of appropriate pharmaceuticals leads to permanent joint damage. This causes bone and joint deformities to occur and disability becomes inevitable.

- Approximately 1 in every 1000 children in this country has Juvenile Arthritis but New Zealand has only one Paediatric Rheumatologist.


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