A 39-year Kroger Co. employee and Cincinnati resident, Mayro has lived 34 years or nearly half her life with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the joints leading to warmth, tenderness, swelling and/or joint stiffness. Nearly 1.3 million Americans have RA and it affects more women than men.
Mayro is the Arthritis Foundation’s national 2014 Walk to Cure Arthritis Adult Honoree. Her volunteerism with the Arthritis Foundation’s Ohio River Valley market is extraordinary and her Arthritis Walk team – Mayro’s Milers – has raised more than $264,000 since 2003. This year Mayro’s Milers hope to raise $50,000.
In addition to her fundraising efforts, Mayro is a 28-year member of the local Arthritis Foundation advisory board, a Speakers Bureau member and 2013 Arthritis Walk committee. She has also served on several local Arthritis Foundation committees focusing on programs and services and volunteers. She diligently stresses the critical need to fund arthritis research, to be an arthritis advocate and to support local Arthritis Foundation programs and services.
“Mayro is an inspiration to me and everyone she works with. She has turned her own pain into a mission to help others living with arthritis. Mayro’s work is helping us fuel critical arthritis research, advocacy efforts and local education. It’s my hope that her story will inspire and strengthen others in our community that battle arthritis,” said Tracy Carter, Division Vice President, Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Ohio River Valley.
As the national adult honoree Mayro attends local, regional and national Arthritis Foundation meetings and is featured in all Walk to Cure Arthritis promotional materials. View her national video here: http://www.asv.com/ArthritisWalk-Website/Walk-Site/WalkPSAs.html
As Manager, Sensory Services at the Kroger Co. she is responsible for more than 700 tasting panels for the grocery chain’s private label products. If her job required her to be in the plant or in the stores, Mayro said she would not be able to work due to her arthritis.
She has had knee and hip replacements, neck surgery, back surgery and carpal tunnel surgery. She describes her feet as “inoperable.” Her RA makes performing the activities of daily life like buttoning a blouse, opening containers and putting on clothing with zippers in the back very difficult.
Mayro’s arthritis story began when she injured her knee playing catcher on a softball team. The knee got very swollen and painful and required surgery, the first of 22 surgeries due to her arthritis. She was diagnosed with RA at age 28 and has osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. There is no rule that says arthritis is “one” per customer, she quipped.
Today she receives a biologic drug by infusion once a month. It’s the fourth biologic drug that her doctors have prescribed to manage her arthritis. “Thanks to the biologic drugs we have now, my arthritis is under better control. But, since they (biologic drugs) weren’t around 30 years ago, I’ll never play tennis or racquetball again and never ride a horse again…I’ll never be able to just casually bend down and pick up something off the ground,” Mayro said.
“I am the picture of how far research has come. I’m a little bit bent, but I haven’t been broken,” she said. Join Mayro’s Milers by registering online at http://arthritiswalkgreatercincinnati.kintera.org or form your own team. The Cincinnati Walk to Cure Arthritis is May 18, 2014 at 10 a.m. at Sawyer Point.