Moving Mountains through a Marathon Effort

Moving Mountains through a Marathon Effort

“It is difficult to train for a marathon; but it is even more difficult to not be able to train for a marathon.”
-Aaron Douglas Trimble

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an autoimmune form of arthritis that mainly effects the spine, causing inflammation of the vertebrae that leads to severe, chronic pain. Adam Wolfe struggled with back pain for two years. Eventually after developing Uveitis (inflammation in the eye) doctors were able to provide a diagnosis – AS. The cause of AS remains unknown but is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Currently no cure for AS exists but treatments can improve symptoms and prevent progression of the disease. After diagnosis Adam began taking biologics and is also receiving Remicade infusions. Despite these treatments Adam still experiences significant pain but MRI’s show that damage to the spine has been limited. “Some days the pain and fatigue are overwhelming, but there are more good days than bad now.”

This positive attitude pushed Adam to address his diagnosis head on, seeking out ways in which he could constructively contribute to his own treatment. In order to receive the treatment he now uses he found it necessary to change medical providers, he realised it would be crucial for himself to become the biggest advocate for his own health care. By successfully ensuring he received a high standard of care and the right medications he is able to push himself further, raising awareness and funding for arthritis research. 

Staying active is something which Adam believes contributes greatly to his ability to succeed. In order to stay active Adam began running and hiking. It was suggested that this was a way in which he could highlight and support the fight against arthritis and as such he took up the ANRF racing for a cure flag. Since 2013 Adam has completed five Marine Corps Marathons and has raised an astonishing $20, 000 for arthritis research. “ANRF has given me a purpose to run and advocate.  I think about those that can’t run and are still in lots of pain because they haven’t been diagnosed or found a treatment that works. ANRF has been key in the discoveries that led to the life-changing treatments we have now and I believe that we will find a cure.” His friends, family and community have been extremely supportive of his goals, supporting and donating as he defies his diagnosis. Aside from the financial contributions he has raised, he has also actively encouraged the dissemination of information about his condition and related conditions. He uses this platform as a means to address common misconceptions surrounding arthritis, such as it being a disease of the elderly or a disease which effects isolated joints. “We have lumped these systemic auto-immune forms of Arthritis in with the localized forms of Arthritis and it has made it difficult to raise awareness for Rheumatoid Arthitis, Spondylitis, and Juvenile Arthritis.” In addition to his marathon efforts in the field of running, Adam is also the founding member of WalkASone, an organisation which raises awareness of AS and encourages patients to get out and get active despite their challenges. He works as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Mercer county as well as an Adjunct Pre-law Instructor at Concord University. In addition to all of the above he still finds time to be a Director on the Board of the Rotary Club of Princeton, WV. He certainly leads by example and plans to continue running and raising funds for ANRF for many years to come. ANRF would like to acknowledge all Adam has accomplished and wishes him well as he runs his AS race. 

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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!

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