Shayanne Martin Runs for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Shayanne Martin Runs for Rheumatoid Arthritis

By all accounts Shayanne Martin is an average twenty-something – figuring her way through life to become personally and professionally successful. However, one of her major roadblocks that cropped up in March 2012 was a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. Since then she has had to make sacrifices in order to live with her disease. However, in spite of the pain she is running on behalf of the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s Racing For A Cure program in an effort to raise RA awareness and funds for arthritis research.

Because she lives independently and supports herself financially, Shayanne admitted that she often feels very alone in her fight against rheumatoid arthritis. Physically, she looks healthy which can be confusing for many who don’t understand RA. She looks because she cannot do all the things her arthritis-free friends can. Every five weeks she travels to her local hospital to receive biologic injections of Remicade to help remedy her pain; a drug that has helped her manage her RA since November 2012.

Still, Shayanne’s arthritis has affected her in two major ways – being physically active and having to restructure her career path. As an avid gymnast for 18 years, she was devastated when her arthritis became so painful that she had to stop participating in her favorite sport. A couple months ago she tried to get back into her old routine with just a few skills, but her inflammation and joint damage resulted in too much muscle weakness to properly participate. The silver lining however, was that there was another sport on Shayanne’s radar. After a burning desire to become active again, she started taking up running, a form of exercise she previously detested. However, after a four month “love-hate relationship with running”, she regularly runs five to six miles, anywhere from three to four times per week.

Shayanne Racing For A Cure Group

Professionally Shayanne would like to pursue a career in global public health, but trying to break into her chosen career path and finding employment that offers the mandatory health insurance she needs to combat her arthritis is tricky. To further her passion, this coming fall, she will be attending Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to obtain a Masters of Public Health.

“People say that when you have children, you can’t just live for yourself anymore,” Shayanne said. “Well, when you have RA or other chronic pain conditions, you can’t live for yourself either. You have to live for your body. You have to make sacrifices for the sake of feeling good enough just to get out of bed every day.”

Visit Shayanne’s Racing For A Cure fundraising page to contribute to her cause and help her raise money for arthritis research!

She does, however, use her trademark optimism to look on the bright side in regards to arthritis research. Because she has experienced firsthand how a patient’s life can be changed for the better by medication, she is hopeful that the researchers supported by the Arthritis National Research Foundation and all current scientists will be able to produce even better and more cost effective treatment options for those struggling with arthritis.

As a Racing For A Cure athlete, Shayanne wanted to raise awareness for her condition and show that athletes are affected by arthritis too.

“I want to race to demonstrate how far I’ve come and that research funding is worth it,” she said. “My life wouldn’t be the same without Remicade and with more funding, I dream of a cure being discovered.”

She will compete in her first official race at the Golden Gate Relay next month, a 191 mile run from Napa Valley to Santa Cruz, CA, consisting of a twelve person team; Shayanne will be running 17.6 miles.

Shayanne discovered ANRF by searching for arthritis organizations. “I found ANRF and the Arthritis Foundation and felt that ANRF focuses more on funding research. When comparing the two organizations on Charity Navigator, I felt more compelled to support the ANRF through fundraising. And the Racing for a Cure program makes it so easy to fundraise.”

As far as words of wisdom for other arthritis patients and athletes, Shayanne encouraged them to be an advocate for themselves. Four months ago she never thought she’d be running more than a mile, yet she is already embarking on her first competition. Her enthusiasm and unwillingness to let her rheumatoid arthritis beat her are admirable qualities and we can’t wait to see where she’ll go next.

Arthritis-Research-Foundation-footer We at the Arthritis National Research Foundation share your arthritis stories in an effort to make a difference by giving arthritis patients a voice, raising arthritis awareness and raising awareness about the need for more funds for research. Awareness of arthritis and the need for research are key components to the quest to finding a cure for arthritis. Please consider making a donation today in support of this critical research. To share your arthritis story, contact us.
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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