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Hitting the Highway

Hitting the Highway


Lanier Lobdell was left debilitated with rheumatoid arthritis for eight years until she was finally prescribed the right medicine to alleviate the pain. Before a prescription could be written, she could barely move comfortably, let alone hop back on her beloved motorcycle. She still has difficulty walking for long periods of time, but she is taking on the open road with a month-long trip across the country she calls the "Going the Extra Mile Tour" to bring awareness to her condition.

Lobdell, a Eugene, Ore. resident, started her tour Friday, and will visit multiple cities to spread awareness about the effects of he

RA is distinguished from other forms of arthritis by rheumatoid nodules, or bumps, which form under the skin, causing excruciating pain and disfigurement. In Lobdell's case, she is affected in her hands and joints.

"It's a chronic pain autoimmune disease." said Lobdell, who has had to adjust the handlebars on her motorcycle to accommodate her hands. "It can make you crippled. If I wasn't on the meds I was on, I'd be very close to being in a wheelchair."

Although the condition can have crippling effects, new medicine makes it easier for people with rheumatoid arthritis to function. Lobdell's purpose is to spread the word on the medication to those who may be unaware of the strides in treatment possibilities.

The motorcycle tour started at The Green Olive, a restaurant in Eugene owned by Lobdell's partner of 20 years, with whom she has two daughters.

"I have incredible support from everyone involved -- friends and family" Lobdell said.

The tour will end in Maine, where Lobdell is excited to visit with a particularly special supporter.

"I chose the route we're going because I want to see my mom," Lobdell said. Lobdell's mother lives in a hospice in Maine, so her tour will end with her family reuniting there.

Lobdell's support system extends to the Arthritis Foundation, who will have booths at each of Lobdell's planned events along her motorcycle tour. Although the foundation could not financially sponsor her, they've pledged a platform to spread her story.

Lobell will document her trip on Facebook and encourages anyone who wants to take a ride with her, to join her on the trip, "Get out there, and push your body," Lobdell said.

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