It was recently National Arthritis Week, so it seems appropriate timing for my first blog post here. Today I want to tell you about our new 'Share your day, Shape our future' campaign which is calling on people with joint pain and arthritis to speak out and share their experiences with us online (www.nationalarthritisweek.org).
We want people to share their stories with us in order to shine a light on the realities of living with arthritis pain, and, importantly, to guide the pain research we fund in 2016.
It can be easy to simply associate arthritis with ageing, an inevitable part of our physical decline.
Yet 10million people in the UK are affected - in fact, it's the biggest cause of pain and disability in this country and can affect people of all ages. The excruciating daily pain can stop people from doing the everyday things that many of us take for granted - walking, moving, lifting or standing. There isn't a cure and we still know too little about the cause of the disease.
From listening to people, such as Tasmin from Essex, who is facing a hip replacement at the age of 41 because of her osteoarthritis, we know the cruel reality of living with the impact and challenges arthritis brings. She told us"
"Arthritis makes my life as a mum of two sometimes very challenging. I live with pain and stiffness in my hips every day, despite trying to lead as active and as healthy a life as possible. I find doing simple things such as the school run or going to the supermarket, very difficult - the pain can take my breath away at times. I am worried for my future, especially with my need for a hip replacement in the not too distant future, but I try to keep positive, remain as active as I can."
Tasmin is one of hundreds of people who have shared their experiences with us so far, and if you are affected by arthritis or joint pain I urge you to do so too. We want to hear your day-to-day triumphs as well as challenges, and by joining us you can read others' experiences and, importantly, shape the pain and fatigue research projects we'll fund in 2016.
We believe we can end the pain of arthritis, but we need your help.