Karam Roberts Fights Arthritis With Fire

May 9, 2024

A widespread yet often overlooked health issue, Arthritis impacts so many of us across British Columbia. Through the non-profit organisation Arthritis Society Canada, the journeys of those countless British Columbians are being amplified, highlighting the urgent need for continued investments into research, innovation, and support services. We had the chance to speak with Karam Roberts on her long journey with rheumatoid vasculitis, and on what British Columbians can do to support through upcoming events like Saturday’s Fire Ball. —Julia Dumbrell

Hi Karam, it’s a pleasure to hear your story! How has your relationship with Arthritis changed since you were first diagnosed with the disease?

Prior to my diagnosis, I was perfectly fit and healthy. I had a 15 year career in IT and loved spending time outdoors, which is why my partner and I moved to BC, so we could enjoy everything it has to offer. I was first diagnosed in my early 40’s with a rare form of arthritis called granulomatosis with polyangiitis, commonly known as GPA. My journey began when I started to experience what appeared to be chronic sinusitis and pneumonia. This quickly escalated with a range of symptoms including hearing loss, ulcers, shortness of breath, fever, weight loss, fatigue and joint stiffness.

Initially, I was devastated with the diagnosis, but I vowed from the very beginning that it wouldn’t dictate my life or my partner’s. The main challenge for me so far has been trying to return to my old lifestyle. I didn’t know whether this was even a realistic expectation, but the prospect of losing everything I’d ever known and loved has been my motivation. I am hopeful now that my disease has been in remission for an extended period of time that I will be able to return to work soon.

How can British Columbians help fight Arthritis?

Supporting organizations like Arthritis Society Canada is key to fighting arthritis. In British Columbia, over 950,000 people are living with arthritis – that’s 1 in 5 people. It’s likely that you or someone you love is impacted by this incurable disease.

Without action, the number of Canadians with arthritis is expected to increase to 1 in 4 by 2040. Arthritis Society Canada is dedicated to fighting the fire of arthritis and providing research and funding that helps those living with the disease. Through research, innovation and support, Arthritis Society Canada continues to advocate for those living with arthritis.

Can you speak on the importance of events like the Arthritis Fire Ball Vancouver?

Events like Arthritis Society Canada’s Arthritis Fire Ball Vancouver are crucial to the continued funding and research that goes into improving quality of life for those living with arthritis. This event also offers guests a chance to hear first-hand from patients and connect with them on a personal level.

If you are not living with arthritis it is hard to know exactly how debilitating it can be, and can often be overlooked. This is why we need to continue conversations around research and funding. Funding helps to support facilities that have assisted with my personal journey by aiding in treatment, access to specialists, and patient support programs. Additionally, funding continues to support research and new treatments.

British Columbians are encouraged to learn more about the Arthritis Fire Ball Vancouver and donate here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


get social


get more out of


Want the best, curated headlines and trends on the fly?

get more out of vita

Sign up for one, or sign up for all!