About the Creator
Effie Koliopoulos knew something was wrong when unrelenting fatigue led to joint pain, muscle aches, and random bruises on her body that disappeared just as quickly as they appeared. Over time she noticed that the same knuckles on each of her hands became slightly enlarged and inflamed, which would later occur in her right wrist, elbow, and knee. Her initial symptoms were brushed off as just ‘growing pains’ and nothing to worry about. After all, why should a young woman with a clean bill of health her whole childhood have any concerns? In 2004, those issues became validated with a diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, formally known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It wasn’t until over a decade later, while recovering from a complex total knee replacement surgery at age 29, that the darkness of her difficulties began to slowly lose its power. The time of solitude began a journey of self-discovery, and purposeful action and awakened a spark within to start sharing her story publicly and connect with people living with arthritis. After almost a year-long recovery, Effie launched her blog named Rising Above rheumatoid arthritis. This would be the beginning of many ideas to shine a light on life with arthritis, both independently and collectively. She was awarded the WEGO Health Rookie of the Year Award and is a recipient of the HealtheVoices Impact Fund which has helped fund her recent book project, Keeping It Real with Arthritis: Stories from Around the World. Her advocacy efforts can be found on AiArthritis, Creaky Joints, RheumatoidArthritis.net, NewLifeOutlook, Everyday Health, Healthline, and Good Housekeeping. Aside from everything arthritis and advocacy, she is a passionate storyteller at heart. Effie is currently working on other books and writing projects. She is a graduate of DePaul University and lives in Chicago.
Follow along on her blog www.risingabovera.com