It can start with difficulty in climbing the stairs or getting off a seat. It gets harder to walk any distance. And what many people may attribute to ‘one of those things that happen as we get older’ may be the first signs of a rare, and, at present, incurable disease that affects 1:100 000 people in Australia.
For Suncare customer Robert Anderson, this disease has become very real. With a career of over fifteen years in the Royal Australian Navy and nursing knowledge from twenty years as a qualified nurse and remedial massage therapist, Robert is now wheelchair-bound and on a mission to create awareness of the debilitating condition that affects the muscles and muscle tissue. Myositis causes weakness and loss of muscle which has a direct impact on mobility and can cause catastrophic falls, difficulty in swallowing and breathing and by association, mental health issues. “The impact Myositis has on your life, your family and friends and your overall wellbeing is astronomical” says Robert.
Funding for research is always desperately needed and to help the cause, Robert and his wife and carer, Joanne, arranged a packed day-program in Hervey Bay. This tied in with the 20th Anniversary of the Myositis Association Australia Inc (MAA), the charity whose objectives are to educate and create awareness, offer care and support to sufferers and their carers, and promote research for a cure. The MAA, which started with 12 members in 2003, has grown to over 470 members. “Support is one of the most important needs in this illness and the 20th Anniversary theme of “Keeping in Touch” portrays what is essential to get through this” says Robert.
For more information on Myositis, please visit http://www.myositis.org.au