Erin Stafford was just 18. She was preparing for her year 12 exams when all of a sudden she was having trouble with simple tasks like getting dressed in the morning. It was not long before her tests came back and her doctor gave her the news, “I’m sorry, you have rheumatoid arthritis”.
Erin’s condition deteriorated rapidly. She couldn’t get from her bed to the toilet without her Mum’s help, and was physically unable to work or study for the next three years. She wondered, “Why me? This is not my life.”
In the 12 years since she was diagnosed she has only had three months of remission. Her arthritis has caused her wrists to fuse, and she has no movement in them anymore.
Fortunately for Erin and approximately 428,000 Australians living with rheumatoid arthritis, treatment options improved through research. New drugs were made available and new combinations of medications were being used more effectively.
The treatment helps, and Erin does all she can to stay healthy through regular exercise and a balanced diet. But Erin’s arthritis is still not under control and she lives in daily pain. What she really needs is research, because with research, we can find better treatments or a cure.
With the help of our supporters, Arthritis Queensland cares for people living with arthritis by funding research. In 1992, we provided the seed funding for the AQ Chair of Rheumatology at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute.
Professor Ranjeny Thomas’ team commenced clinical trials for a vaccine for rheumatoid arthritis in 2016. This vaccine is specifically designed to re-educate the immune system towards the disease-specific antigens.
“I really hope one day there is a cure, or at least a preventative medication for the younger generations. Especially as I want to have children, and don't want them to suffer like I have.”
Erin is a generous, caring and positive person who lives with constant, daily pain. She shouldn’t have to. We have never been so close to the development of a vaccine for rheumatoid arthritis, but research is expensive. Please give today to ensure that our researchers have the funding they need to keep going until they make the breakthrough that will lead to a cure or better treatments for arthritis pain in the future.
All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
World-first therapy for rheumatoid arthritis
Latest news from Arthritis Queensland Chair of Rheumatology Professor Ranjeny Thomas. Results of the first human trial of the treatment were released internationally, with scientists showing it to be safe and effective in reducing inflammation in patients with the most common form of RA, a type of auto-immune disease. The story also features Arthritis Queensland volunteer Erin Stafford who was featured in our latest tax appeal.
View the video explianing Ranjeny's work.