Traverse City Record-Eagle


April 4, 2008

Arthritis is family's focus

Sisters, mom advocate for prevention, control and cure


Laura said her daughters weren't at all shy when they had the chance to share their stories with some of the state's leaders.

The girls flipped through a book of members of Congress and pointed out the Michigan officials they targeted during their capitol visit.

Among the list: Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Rep. Bart Stupak and Rep. John Dingell, who chairs the Committee on Energy and Commerce where the arthritis legislation sits in a health subcommittee.

Hafeli said champions of the bill are still working for support from the three congressman. It helps when constituent families advocate, she said.

"(We) try to put a face to arthritis, so that it is not minor aches and pains. It is a real person out there," Hafeli said.

About 400 people from 40 states participated in the foundation's recent advocacy blitz.

"Most people don't really know that kids can get arthritis," said Olivia.

Laura hopes the family's efforts will make a difference.

"Just getting this bill passed and getting more research ... maybe this generation will see a cure," she said.

Local residents can get involved by joining in the 2008 Arthritis Walk at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17, at the Holiday Inn West Bay on East Front Street in Traverse City.

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