My name is Talisa King and I’m delighted to be featured as the BN360 Spotlight Professional for May 2019.
Personal Professional Background
As a lifelong resident of Buffalo, I am no stranger to adversity. In my current role as Youth Services Planning Coordinator with the Erie County Youth Bureau (ECYB), I work to support, learn from, and gain inspiration from thousands of youth and the adults who work tirelessly to mentor and empower them. The mission of the ECYB is to serve youth and families through asset development and advocacy, prevention, and intervention programs that strengthen families and communities. Over a decade of previous experience serving as “boots on the ground” has made my work made all the more fulfilling. I have worked directly with youth in a juvenile correctional setting. I have also served as a youth programs coordinator with the Community Action Organization of Erie County and, more recently, as programs director and Chief Officer of Operations in a leadership capacity with Willie Hutch Jones Educational & Sports Programs.
Finding a Way Forward
Outside of my professional duties, I gain inspiration from others who endure the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). At the age of 31, I was diagnosed with RA. I lost two years of my career due to the rigorous treatment plan I had to undergo. It took many months for me just to regain the ability to walk and to regain what most of us take for granted: the ability to care for oneself and to maintain one’s independence. I still experience occasional flare-ups that can and do take me out of my normal, everyday routine. The difference is that now I know what I’m dealing with, which better equips me to deal with the effects of having this condition.
Know the Facts
My career path was derailed after I found out I had RA. Until that time, arthritis was not something within my paradigm. Now, I am engaged in and motivated by work with the Arthritis Foundation and the community within our region.
Here are a few facts I would like to share that have impacted my daily life and the way I think about and approach my own development. According to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network:
- One in every four Americans has been diagnosed with arthritis.
- Women are up to three times more likely to develop RA than are men.
- Those with a first-degree family member diagnosed with RA are almost four times more likely to develop RA themselves as compared to those without.
- Arthritis of any kind is not limited to just elderly people. It can occur at any age.
My professional drive goes beyond the work I do every day with ECYB. Over the past year, I have played a pivotal role in launching the Arthritis Foundation Support Network in Buffalo. Our first event was a walk on September 22, 2018. In just six weeks, we raised over $13,000. The Walk to Cure Arthritis Buffalo will take place on Sept. 28, 2019 at Canalside. Registration is now open.
As a result of bringing much-needed attention surrounding arthritis support in Buffalo, May 12 was deemed Arthritis Support Network Day City of Buffalo.
It brings me joy that there now exists in my hometown a direct support network for others dealing with the challenges of any form of arthritis. I did not have the advantage of such a network while I experienced the initial effects of my illness. My hope is that the suffering of others with any form of Arthritis will be lessened, and awareness heightened. No one should have to suffer alone.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Walk to Cure Arthritis Buffalo 2019, Live Yes Connect support groups and Events may contact Talisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.