Kelly Miller-Gerlach (ISN) with files from Helgi Olafson
June 22, 2013, (ISN) – Helgi Olafson is about to embark on a very important 9 week racing/awareness mission in Canada, starting on June 26th.
Having troubles funding all of the logistics of his trip, Helgi is looking for support on his mission in promoting exercise as treatment for AS. It is his goal to continue to help others and inspire a better future for AS and arthritis sufferers worldwide. Please show your support by spreading the word about his dedication and fight to help bring in potential sponsors through networking and donations.
Professional chef, amateur endurance athlete, and founder of Helgi Olafson Foundation (HOF) has been creating a buzz about Ankylosing Spondylitis on the Big Island of Hawaii and around the rest of the world. Helgi started his journey into triathlon as a runner for co-ed relay team “Po’o Pua’a” at 2012 Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon. Since this race, Olafson has been training hard and taking every chance he can to compete and educate others about Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is a genetic autoimmune disease that he has been diagnosed with for over 11 years.
You will see Helgi at triathlon expos educating about his disease and then racing the next day wearing awareness slogans like: “I HAVE ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS” or “ENDURANCE for Ankylosing Spondylitis.” Helgi has a strong history of as a community volunteer. He helps out with other important causes associated with the athletic, youth, and disabled. Helgi acted as Lavaboy for Lava Kids, which is a “keiki” swim/run for the kids surrounding the Lavaman events. When Helgi is not racing himself for AS awareness, he makes sure to play a key role in organizing aide stations for races like PATH’s Sunset Run 5K and Run for Hops. Helgi is also dedicated to serving other community organizations and Nonprofits, like Deep and Beyond, where he actively helps challenged participants, by assisting them in having fun in the water, swimming and snorkeling.
The nature of Ankylosing Spondylitis, or AS, if not managed properly, can deplete the immune system, which causes the body to be more prone to infection and other potentially harmful conditions, as well as a list of other associated diseases. AS increases the onset of fatigue. The main characteristic of AS is the hallmark calcification of bone, which occurs in joints, and can lead to severe pain and discomfort and eventually, complete fusion, with loss of mobility and range of motion.
Helgi Olafson strives to inspire people around the world with arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) to take control of their arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis!! Helgi openly suggests to others that they can live healthy and comfortable lives through stretching, exercising, nutrition, maintaining positive attitudes, and most importantly, by listening to their bodies. Helgi is setting this example by learning, growing and teaching as his journey into endurance sports and the world of triathlon continues. Helgi has already touched the lives of thousands around the world and he doesn’t intend to stop anytime soon.
Olafson has committed to a demanding race schedule for 2013: his “rookie year,” with over 14 major endurance races in Hawaii, Canada, and Florida. He hopes that he will prove himself at an amateur level in hopes of competing as a professional triathlete in 2014 or 2015. Helgi has joined forces with Racing for a Cure (Arthritis National Research Foundation) and More Than Sport, to form Team ENDURANCE for Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is platform that has been put in place to give others the opportunity to get healthy, race, raise awareness, and fundraise for Ankylosing Spondylitis, which is not a rare disease, affecting over 1.7 million adults in the U.S. alone. Money raised will go toward HOF’s efforts to fund much needed research studies through the Arthritis National Research Foundation..
Team ENDURANCE athletes are part of a lecture series in South Florida in November of 2013 to offer motivation for the youth and arthritic in Sarasota County, which is where Olafson went to high school. The team of athletes with AS will share their stories with the youth and offer seminars to educate others with arthritis, AS, and other autoimmune diseases. They will then compete in either the Olympic or 70.3 distance race at REV3 Florida on November 10th.
We look forward to continuing our relationship with Helgi and HOF.
As in any case relating to medical advice from anyone other than a doctor, healthcare professional, or in the case of AS, a Rhuematologist, Olafson suggests that you consult your doctor, and heed their advice when relating to AS and arthritis, but remember, it is YOUR body! Everyone’s body is unique, especially if you have an invisible disease where levels of progression and “flares” can sometimes operate on their own agenda.
You may have Ankylosing Spondylitis if you show these early warning signs:
-Gradual onset of lower back pain before the age of 45.
-Pain and stiffness worsen with immobility, especially at night, or in the early morning.
-Pain and stiffness tend to ease with physical activity and exercise.
-Symptoms persist longer than three months.
-Positive response to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Please visit www.helgiolafson.org for more information on HOF and Helgi, including his race schedule.
Donate securely to this Hawaii-based nonprofit organization via PayPal: www.helgiolafson.org/donate“
Helgi Spencer Olafson
Helgi Olafson Foundation
“ENDURANCE For Ankylosing Spondylitis”
“Do More Than Sport”
Please click on the secure donation link above and show your support by making a donation that you can afford. Even $10 will make a difference and cover the cost of a meal.
“I ‘m AS Face 461. I’m here to keep making a tangible difference!!