Yoga first found Megan in 2002 but it would be another decade before they would be reunited. After doing a school project on the history, asana, and pranayama of yoga, she knew that it was something truly powerful and was fascinated by it. At the time, her world revolved around showing horses and it wouldn’t be until she was in her twenties when her body was attacking itself that she would find herself on the mat once again seeking solace. Megan struggled to find a class level that fit her body’s new condition, something she would come to know as rheumatoid arthritis, a systemic autoimmune disease that destroys healthy tissue around joints, as well as other places in the body such as the skin, eyes, heart, and lungs. She did not give up, knowing that yoga had benefits for someone like her, and earned her CYT-200 before going on to study Yoga for Arthritis with Ann Swanson, MS, C-IAYT, LMT, E-RYT500, a program developed by Dr. Steffany Munaz, Ph.D., E-RYT500, at Johns Hopkins University and funded by the Arthritis Foundation, showing the physical and mental benefits of yoga for arthritis patients. Armed with the knowledge of proper pose alignment and the many variations that can be made for each pose, Megan has been able to not only holistically revolutionize her own life and symptom management, but can now bring a healing heart to anyone wishing to receive.
Having spent years volunteering during her time in Catholic school, National Honor Society, and attending University of North Carolina Wilmington, Megan has always known a life of service for others, something she strives to instill in her own daughter. After developing rheumatoid arthritis, being misdiagnosed, doing countless hours of research, and finally being correctly diagnosed and starting treatment with weekly methotrexate, later adding in biologics, she knew very well the ins and outs of being your own advocate, navigating the daunting world of health insurance coverage/denials/appeals and pharmaceutical companies, as well as how to find resources to turn to when a patient needs further assistance. Chronic illness is often described as being very isolating and Megan did not want others to feel overwhelmed or alone in their journey with their illness, so she set out to be a guiding light for them, to be someone to turn to with any questions about how they may be feeling or what do to if a medication is not covered or how to find an exercise that suits them. She decided to accomplish what she set out to do by elevating her voice through pageantry, as Mrs. Eastern Carolina America 2017, Mrs. North Carolina American Dream 2018, and most recently Miss Iowa for America 2019. Megan has been blessed to complete so many of her goals, such as implementing a support network for arthritis patients and their families, writing a children’s book detailing how autoimmune diseases work (currently in illustration), and serving as Honoree for Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run Raleigh 2018 hosting and speaking at many fundraisers and connecting with countless patients and supporters through interviews, emails, events, and messages. Her biggest dream for the future is to be able to start a JA Camp with the Arthritis Foundation in her new home state of Iowa to give children affected by JIA the gift of camp. She also plans to continue her work against human trafficking, running charity 5k’s, and spreading loving kindness during the holiday season to patients in hospital through Cam’s Cardinals Cards, an initiative she began in 2017 in memory of one of her closest friends who was an angel on this earth.
If you’re one of over 54 million people in America living with arthritis, I’m so glad we've been brought together. Subscribe to our Tribe for weekly newsletter, JoinThe Tribe for access to the library of self paced videos, or Contact Me for a personal consultation regarding an individualized program for you. If I can, we can!
If you, yourself, do not have arthritis, chances are you know someone who does. 1 in 4 Americans is affected by arthritis with that number growing every year. Even children can be born with arthritis with that number currently standing around 300,000. You may be asking yourself how you can help, and I promise you that you can. First, you can take preventative measures against osteoarthritis for yourself by avoiding overuse of certain joints and paying attention to proper alightment in your yoga poses to avoid undue stress on your joints. Second, you can subscribe and follow my page, Feel the Heal, helping share facts about arthritis and our efforts to fundraise so that we can develop more programs and resources for patients and one day soon find a cure!