Ashley Boynes-Shuck Robinson Township Lions Club, Pennsylvania Photo by Matthew Shuck Lion and author Ashley Boynes-Shuck lives with daily pain but chooses to focus on changing the face of illness and living a positive life while chronically ill. At 33, Lion Ashley Boynes-Shuck of Pittsburgh is proof, as she says, that “not all illnesses, disabilities or problems people are going through are visible to the naked eye.” “I don’t look sick. I don’t look disabled,” says the published author and patient advocate for the disabled and chronically ill community. ‘Not all illnesses, disabilities or problems people are going through are visible to the naked eye.’ But at age 10, Boynes-Shuck was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She now suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and celiac disease. “There is usually some type of pain going on daily. I have physical limitations. There’s a lot I can’t do that my peers are able to do. That’s why I focus on being grateful for what I can do,” she says. One thing she can do is participate in Lions’ activities and thereby focus on someone else’s concerns. Boynes-Shuck and her mother, Sharon Boynes, joined the Robinson Township Lions Club to honor the memory of Ashley’s grandfather, Leon Louis, who served as a Lion for 42 years. Even though she was not yet a Lion, Boynes- Shuck says she helped his club with its social media needs and went on Lions’ outings with her grandfather for about three years prior to his passing in December of 2015. She often considered joining the club, but there were no female members. That was until she and her mother joined together, and then another woman followed. Working together as Lions has been a great bonding experience for the mother-daughter duo, says Boynes-Shuck. And it has been a way to continue feeling connected to “Bups,” her beloved grandfather. She lives with her husband, Mike, who is a teacher, a personal trainer and a past and present “American Ninja Warrior” competitor, and their three dogs and two cats. Boynes-Shuck has written two health memoirs as well as a fiction novel. She’s been quoted on the “Today Show,” FOX News and ABC News. Online she is known as “Arthritis Ashley.” A health news reporter for Healthline.com, she has amassed more than 40,000 followers on social media. In town, she is the young Lion particularly enthused with the Leader Dogs program and the club’s work with the Allegheny Valley School, which serves people with mental and physical disabilities. “One of my passions is speaking to young people who live with illness, and about breaking away from stigmas and stereotypes about disability,” she says. “I enjoy speaking to kids about not judging others based on their looks. I hope to change the face of illness.” Do you know a Lion who you think has a great story or deserves a bit of recognition? Email us a brief description of the Lion and the reason you’re making the nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “One of Us” in the subject line.
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