Senior Government Whip Michael Woodhouse and other MPs today helped launch Arthritis New Zealand’s new nationwide awareness campaign.
The awareness campaign, titled “Arthritis, it could surprise you!” features a television commercial and an interactive website.
The new television commercial and interactive website focus on osteoarthritis – the most common form of arthritis in New Zealand.
The launch was to take part on the Parliament grass with a game of cricket between the Members of Parliament team, led by Michael Woodhouse and the Arthritis New Zealand All Stars team, with top New Zealand cricket umpire Billy Bowden as the special guest umpire.
“A cricket match would have been a fantastic way to launch the new awareness campaign, and tie in the theme of the new commercial which tells the story of a New Zealand family playing cricket on the beach,” Mr Woodhouse said.
“Unfortunately the weather prevented us from hitting a few overs. But the message and aim of the campaign is still the same – that is, people with arthritis can still live a full and active lifestyle if diagnosed early and treated accordingly.
“That is the important message that Arthritis New Zealand’s ‘It could surprise you” awareness campaign is trying to communicate to the public.
“More than 305,000 New Zealand adults are living with osteoarthritis which means it affects nearly everyone in some way, whether it is personally or through a friend or family,” Mr Woodhouse said.
Osteoarthritis is the result of a mechanical breakdown in the joints. In a healthy joint, cartilage provides a smooth surface between the bones that allows for easy movement. When a joint develops osteoarthritis, the cartilage gets thin and rough and, in some cases, completely breaks down, leaving the bones unprotected.
Mr Woodhouse, who was diagnosed with another form of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (AS), about 14 years ago, said he was pleased to launch Arthritis New Zealand’s latest campaign about osteoarthritis.
“I was incredibly lucky that my GP diagnosed AS quickly, which enabled me to get the treatment that I needed straight away.
“Having AS is just something I have to deal with, it does not define me. Through the years I’ve managed to keep up rugby refereeing and for my sins have taken the field for the parliamentary rugby team.”