Point­ing out arthri­tis’ pain

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

Cricket fans ev­ery­where will recog­nise um­pire Billy Bow­den’s “crooked fin­ger of doom”.

It’s a ges­ture he came up with when arthri­tis made it too painful to raise a straight fin­ger to show a player was out.

Now he’s us­ing his sport­ing pro­file to sup­port the Arthri­tis Or­ange Ap­peal.

Mr Bow­den started his ca­reer as a spin bowler but changed to um­pir­ing af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with rheuma­toid arthri­tis at the age of 21.

He spent Tues­day morn­ing at the Three Kings Plaza Phar­macy, sign­ing au­to­graphs and talk­ing to cus­tomers about arthri­tis and his med­i­ca­tion.

“I’ve been an am­bas­sador since 2005.

“It was a bit of an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to be asked,” he says.

When he first got the dis­ease, he was re­luc­tant to tell peo­ple about it but later de­cided it was im­por­tant to raise aware­ness.

“It’s the most preva­lent dis­ease in New Zealand and it doesn’t have a high pro­file but it de­serves one.”

De­spite arthri­tis be­ing a “life sen­tence of pain”, he says it hasn’t stopped him trav­el­ling around the world and be­ing in­volved in cricket, which he loves.

He wants to en­cour­age and mo­ti­vate oth­ers liv­ing with the dis­ease and raise aware­ness of what they go through.

“There’s no cure. There are peo­ple who can’t even go to the let­ter­box, make a cup of tea or hold a mug.

“There are more than 25,000 peo­ple who can’t work due to the pain of arthri­tis,” he says.

It’s not just the per­son them­selves af­fected but their part­ners, fam­i­lies and friends, says Mr Bow­den.

He will um­pire his 50th test match in In­dia on Novem­ber 6.

Arthri­tis New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive San­dra Kirby says the ap­peal raises funds to sup­port the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s work in com­mu­ni­ties.

“Do­na­tions to the ap­peal help fund clin­ics and ser­vices for peo­ple liv­ing with arthri­tis and their fam­i­lies to en­able a bet­ter qual­ity of life.”

To­day is the fi­nal day of the ap­peal and or­ange flow­ers and goods are on sale.

Peo­ple can also do­nate on­line at www.arthri­tis.org.nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Fa­mous fin­ger: Cricket um­pire Billy Bow­den is the face of the Arthri­tis Or­ange Ap­peal.

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