“At such a young age, the hardest part was accepting that I had a new disease that was now a part of my identity,” Zeerip, 23, said. “I remember being in denial because I didn’t want sympathy. My immediate reaction was to be tough. Over time this is changing and I am learning to embrace my disease and story.”
“I hope to inspire others to take charge of their story and to not be ashamed of something they cannot control,” Zeerip said.
“Arthritis Awareness Month is the perfect time to share this video because it will generate impassioned dialogue among members of our patient communities as they relate to Zeppelin’s film and Zoe’s story as she triumphs over pain and celebrates her ability to move and be free,” Seth D. Ginsberg, president and co-founder of CreakyJoints, said in a press release.
Like Zeerip, Ginsberg was diagnosed with arthritis at age 13.
The title “Joint Effort” has multiple meanings, Zeerip said: “First, it refers to my joints and the continuous effort that I must put into maintaining them and using them so I can live the life I want to lead. Second, it has an underlying tone of community. If we can all embrace our shared struggles, then we are joined not only through a shared disease, but a shared strength.”
The film features Zeerip reading the poem “Made to Move,” written by her mother, Marialyce Zeerip. As she reads, black-and-white images illustrate her journey as a child and as an adult. Zeerip can be seen taking medications to control her disease and screaming underwater, but also moving forward, dancing with friends and mountain biking after dreaming at night of rising and growing strong.
“Joint Effort is a powerful, thoughtful exploration of how it feels to be diagnosed with a serious and lifelong condition like arthritis,” Ginsberg said.
Zeppelin Zeerip added: “Watching Zoe silently cope with arthritis for over a decade, without even some of her closest friends knowing she had the disease, made me want to share her story because I’ve witnessed her overcome any challenge that arthritis put in her path.
“I hope our film and her story resonates with the arthritis community and inspires others to live an active life despite an arthritis diagnosis,” he said.
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