Saturday, October 3, 2015

Facing Forward - California Coast Classic Edition: Austin

Facing Forward is a series that shares the lives of people living with arthritis and other invisible illnesses. The goal of the series is to see how we are similar and how we are different – and to remind us to keep moving forward because we aren’t alone!

This special edition of Facing Forward shares the stories of the individuals involved in the Arthritis Foundation’s 15th Annual California Coast Classic – a 525 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Name: Austin
Hometown: Louisville, CO
Riding In Honor Of: my wife Mariah
Honoree’s Diagnosis: Rheumatoid arthritis
Age at Diagnosis: 25

Why is it important to you to participate in the California Coast Classic?
I love talking with people about my experiences and helping them understand that arthritis isn't just a disease for old people. Sharing stories with other people facing similar challenges is a great way to pickup new tips and tricks.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced since your wife’s diagnosis?
Feeling like I am supporting Mariah enough. Helping her stay positive (and helping myself stay that way too).

What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for helping someone with arthritis manage everyday tasks?
Little things can make a big difference: folding the laundry, unloading the dishwasher, etc. Anything that can be taken off her plate. Also we think of the RA as our problem to face together, not just hers to face alone.

As a caregiver, how do you manage to keep facing forward every day?
Laugh. It's waaaaaay better than crying and more fun to share with others.

If you could go back to diagnosis day and tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
This will only be as limiting as you allow it to be.

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