Michael Santillo’s journey after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AxSpA/AS) not only illuminates the challenges faced by millions worldwide, but also exemplifies the power of community and determination in the face of adversity.

Knowing that the lack of awareness among the public and among health professionals comes at a high cost, and instead of allowing the diagnosis to define him, Michael chose to turn his experience into an opportunity for advocacy and support. With unwavering determination, he set out to raise awareness about AS, educate others about the condition, and provide support for those navigating similar challenges.

AS, a chronic inflammatory disease primarily affecting the spine and sacroiliac joints, can cause debilitating pain and stiffness, significantly impacting one’s quality of life. In its most severe form, it can fuse the vertebrae and impact other joints, severely impacting mobility. Michael knows this reality all too well. Diagnosed with AxSpA at a young age, he embarked on a journey that would test his strength and resilience in ways he never imagined.

One of the most significant milestones in Michael’s advocacy journey is the “Let’s Get Loud for AS” Fundraiser Gala. Each year, Michael and his team work passionately to organize an unforgettable evening that serves as a platform to raise funds for research, support programs, awareness, and community initiatives. More than just a fundraiser, the gala is a celebration of resilience and hope.

“I’m so proud and humbled that I’ve created this “Let’s Get Loud for AS Fundraiser Gala”… I’ve been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) since 2018, and I’m very happy and proud to say that the wonderful treatments and the assistance of the CSA and my rheumatologist… have really helped me to live a better life with ease.”

As we approach World AS Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about AxSpA and related conditions, Michael Santillo’s story serves as a reminder of the importance of advocacy and community support. World AS Day is a global movement to educate the public, healthcare professionals, and policymakers about the impact of AxSpA and the urgent need for increased research and support.

As we join together to observe World AS Day, let’s get loud and continue to advocate for a world where everyone living with AxSpA can thrive.

To keep up with Michael, be sure to follow him:

Michael’s Instagram
Let’s Get Loud for AS Instagram