At the age of 26, Kalamazoo resident Cody Allkins was working full time at OnStaff USA and pursuing a MBA. Her days were busy, but she was living life to its fullest.
During the summer of 2007, Cody started to experience pain in her hands. She was having difficulty tying her shoes or typing on the keyboard at work, and her aches would not subside. Eventually the pains spread to her joints throughout the whole body. She made appointments with a hand specialist and a rheumatologist where countless tests and MRI were ordered, but the doctors just did not know what was wrong with Cody.
She started to lose weight and felt more and more exhausted. Cody describes some of her days as “feeling just out of it,” making it hard to concentrate at work or school. Her frustrations in not being able to do simple tasks such as opening a jar of peanut butter or carrying in the groceries began to build. Cody had to stop working out or even taking her dog for a walk because it would completely drain her body. She stayed home often, not wanting to do much with her friends and family since just trying to get ready was a pain-staking task.
In February 2008, Cody and her mother made trips to the Cleveland Clinic where it was determined by the Chief of Rheumatology that Cody had Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was immediately put on a number of different medications to see which ones would be most effective. Currently, Cody’s treatment consists of methotrexate once a week, as well as a self-injectable treatment she endures once a month. She has tolerated some harsh side effects from her treatments, including hair loss, but being able to feel more like her normal self is worth it. Slowly, Cody began to regain her strength and energy. She continues to work at OnStaff USA and by April 2009 accomplished her goal of earning a MBA.
Cody became involved with the Arthritis Foundation when initially diagnosed, hoping to help others, make a difference and raise funds to find a cure for the disease that has affected her life so greatly. For the past four years, Cody has gathered her family, friends and fiancé Brandon for the Arthritis Walks and Jingle Bell Runs. Brandon and Cody are currently planning their upcoming nuptials where they will wed next spring in Hawaii. She is so grateful for all the amazing support from her loved ones. Cody states without them, she would have never gotten through such a difficult time.
Please join Team Cody and hundreds of other supporters for a beautiful Sunday afternoon at PCBP Celery Flats, and together, LET'S FIGHT ARTHRITIS!