One of the more difficult aspects of living with RA for me has been finding other people who have had an experience similar to mine. I have not found another person in Hawaii whose experience parallels my own, but I was introduced to an incredible young woman who helped me when I really needed someone to just get it.
I was blessed to be introduced to my friend Sharon Yoshizu. She is incredibly inspiring. Sharon has suffered with RA since age 21 and has a young daughter who was born with JRA. Sharon also required neck surgery several years ago that resulted in a stroke, from which she is still trying to recover. She has been on just about every RA drug available, moving on to the next drug when her body stops responding to treatment.
Sharon is amazing to me because, despite the pain; surgeries; stroke; inability to work and failure of treatment, she continues to be hopeful and help anyone in any way she can. We had not met when I was put in contact with her through our local Arthritis Foundation chapter. However, Sharon immediately called and reassured me when I was facing a difficult treatment. She'd been there, she understood. It didn't matter that we didn't know each other; I also had RA and needed help, so she decided to help.
I am so grateful for Sharon and her unlimited empathy and kindness. I've decided to share her story here because it is one way for me to return her kindness. Sharon needs multiple surgeries and has been unable to find a willing surgeon in Hawaii. She and her family are moving to California to try to get the help she needs. This is a huge but unavoidable expense and her family is asking for your help.
Please take a moment to read about Sharon and her family here. If you are able, please donate.
Thank you for any love and support you are able to give Sharon and the Yoshizu family.