Candyce Fights R.A. & Ankylosing Spondylitis

Candyce Fights R.A. & Ankylosing Spondylitis

Candyce Sindelir was diagnosed in 2006 with rheumatoid arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis. An arthritis diagnosis is never easy, however for some, it can be worse than for others. Her journey has led to physical therapy, financial hardship, alienation from her family and she’s even had her children taken away from her – all as a result of her autoimmune diseases.

College Graduation July2013-3

Currently, Candyce has a great team of doctors that she works with almost daily to keep her condition in check. She finds tremendous amounts of relief and comfort when she’s physically active; she swims, rollerblades, bikes, and walks whenever she can. She even recently joined the Racing For A Cure team to help keep her motivated and make a difference. However, finding a balance and a remedy for her condition has not been that easy.

When she first began experiencing symptoms she was constantly called the “hypochondriac.”  Candyce says that she did not experience support from her family, despite the genetic autoimmune diseases and forms of arthritis that afflict many of them. A rift resulted and to this day she still does not talk to many of her family members. Save for her mother and eldest brother who’ve shown love and compassion.

She began to take Prednisone when she was first diagnosed in 2006 and three months before she could see a rheumatologist, she experienced unusual side effects and was declared mentally ill. The diagnosis led to her losing custody of her children, which naturally devastated Candyce. “It was a huge setback both physically and mentally,” she said, “which prolonged proper treatment of my AS and RA.” One year later the case was dropped, but Candyce still struggled to travel long distances to see her son.

In an effort to get her life back, she decided to go back to school to earn her degree in business management. She moved away from home and stayed with friends closer to Rasmussen College, where she was studying, in order to throw herself into her academia. Candyce and both of her daughters enrolled in college in the fall of 2010 – it was a moment she was very proud of.

As a social media enthusiast, Candyce was perusing some best charity organizations and other trusty social media sites and came across a photo of Helgi Olafson, a competitive athlete racing for funds to benefit Ankylosing Spondylitis, among other autoimmune diseases.

“It lit a passion in me to find out what this man was doing,” Candyce said. “I wanted to meet him and see how he was doing it.”

She reached out to Helgi and despite being financially strapped, made the trek up to the Canadian border to meet the athlete. Candyce now networks and promotes Helgi’s tour in Canada and hopes to soon be part of a marketing team that can turn her passion for her disease promotion into a full time job, with the help of the college degree she received last month.

“I also want to be able to launch an annual 5k here in the Minneapolis area,” Candyce gushed about raising money for an arthritis cure. “I’m striving to get into a healthier exercise and eating regime.”

Despite her past troubles, Candyce admitted she feels that her diseases have been blessings in disguise. Over the years she has kept up her outgoing and “zestful” personality in spite of her personal and medical complications. She has a passion for advocating autoimmune awareness, arthritis research, and approaches each day as one with new challenges, but does not forget to reflect on the positive aspects of life.

“I have good days and bad days just like anyone else,” she admitted, “but the key is not to hide. There are people out there to help and guide you manage and maintain your condition.”

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

  • Avatar
    Helgi Olafson
    Posted at 21:50h, 09 September Reply

    Go Candyce!! You were a big help during the Winnipeg Meet and Greet for “Exercise as Medicine” on July 22nd, 2013. We appreciate your marketing skills in our efforts to raise awareness for Ankylosis Spondylitis, related diseases, and the more than 100 different types of arthritis. Please visit for information on this nonprofit organization located in the state of Hawaii, but serving North America and beyond!!

    Your Friend,
    Helgi Spencer Olafson
    President/Director of Networking
    Helgi Olafson Foundation

  • Avatar
    Joyce Foss
    Posted at 22:16h, 09 September Reply

    I enjoyed this reading, Candyce and have been a FF for sometime so I catch a little of what you are doing. When I first came to Baudette and you were working out at Rosalies you were the best waitress ever. Keep up the great work and take care of you. Joyce

  • Avatar
    Cathy Grantham
    Posted at 01:12h, 11 September Reply

    You have a great attitude and never give up. I found this article inspiring. I remember you around town and you always had an engaging smile for people. Love it. I have enjoyed this article and please keep in touch. God bless.

  • Avatar
    Wendy Rogers
    Posted at 04:45h, 25 September Reply

    What a great article explaining your very difficult struggles with your disease and all it’s repercussions. Especially no one understanding and the difficulty and heartbreak of custody battles. You are a determined woman and I admire your strength. I hope you get to have a career in helping make awareness for this disease. Your life is a good testimony that would inspire others. You are a good hearted woman Candace. I pray for many blessings to come for you.

  • Avatar
    Michelle Karol
    Posted at 17:25h, 03 October Reply

    Candyce, you are such an inspiration to me! You always have a positive outlook even on those days you are hurting. You are a blessing to many & I hope you are able to continue to inspire others & create awareness with your advocacy!

  • Avatar
    Ian McCord
    Posted at 20:31h, 03 October Reply

    Candyce is a very impressive young lady. I do not know her whole history, but I know enough about the hardships she endured and the work that she had to do raising her children, and later, puting herself through school, was no easy task. If she puts her mind to a task, it will be done. Well!

  • Avatar
    Amber Panek
    Posted at 04:28h, 12 October Reply

    Candyce, you are one of the most positive people I know, even after everything you been through. No matter what it is or what we do I tend to take something out of it, such as your cheerful spirit, patience, determination, goal driven, positive attitude. Thanks for showing and explaining a few different angles of life to me as I know you have done to others, don’t stop.

Post A Comment