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Arthritis Fight is Personal at OrthoCincy
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Friday, March 16, 2018

IlaMore than 52 million people in the U.S battle arthritis, and at OrthoCincy, there’s one very special arthritis fighter. Her name is Ila, and she’s 7 years old.

The daughter of OrthoCincy nurse practitioner Sarah Bills McElfresh, Ila was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis as a toddler.

McElfresh has treated many patients who deal with arthritis and knows firsthand how the disease limits mobility and causes pain.

Facing Ila’s difficult diagnosis, McElfresh reached out to the Arthritis Foundation’s Cincinnati office, where she encountered Executive Director Barb Precht, who is the parent of a son diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. “I heard Barb tell her story, and it touched me. I really felt inspired and realized a weight had been taken off my shoulders by knowing that other parents and children go through the same things we were experiencing,” McElfresh says.

In 2015, Ila was named an official Youth Honoree for the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk to Cure Arthritis, held in May, as well as its Jingle Bell Run 5K, held each December. “The honorees help serve as a face for arthritis. To look at my daughter, you would never know she has arthritis. Having Ila as an honoree was an opportunity to raise awareness about arthritis and to understand that even this beautiful little child can have this disease,” McElfresh says.

The staff at OrthoCincy has rallied in support by assembling teams to participate in the Arthritis Foundation’s events each year. At a recent Walk to Cure Arthritis, OrthoCincy fielded the largest team with 162 walkers.

“OrthoCincy is really an important partner in helping us make a difference in the lives of people with arthritis, not just through our fundraising events but also with many of our other programs. It’s been huge to have their involvement,” Precht says.

In 2017 and again this year, for example, OrthoCincy CEO JoAnn Reis is serving as the Corporate Chair of the Walk to Cure Arthritis. “Our organization really makes a point to support orthopaedic-related issues, such as arthritis, because orthopaedics is what we specialize in. One way we can really help make a difference for our patients is to support organizations like the Arthritis Foundation,” Reis says.


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