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Calgary med students raise $1,200 to help 24-year-old rheumatoid arthritis patient

Shawn Logan, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:52 PM ET

Robert Morrissette played guitar in a punk band, was a self-employed dry waller and was planning a 40 km hike when his world changed.

In September, after battling a flu bug, he began noticing swelling and pain in his joints, a mystery affliction that only grew worse.

After seeing a number of doctors, Morrissette was diagnosed with a rare form of rheumatoid arthritis.

All at the tender age of 24.

“I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t dress, I couldn’t shower — it just kept getting worse and worse,” he said.

The native of Provost, some 400 km northeast of Calgary, was unable to work and because he was self-employed was unable to qualify for employment insurance.

So when his doctor offered him a few dollars to come to his medical class to demonstrate his rare condition, Morrissette gladly stepped forward.

“They offered me $ 30 to come in and I was in no position to say no,” he said.

“I didn’t really think about it again.”

To his surprise, weeks after going to the class in November, he was given a $ 1,200 cheque raised by the students who were moved by his plight.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Morrissette said.

“They don’t even know me, and they did this for me — it’s amazing.”

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