Denise Graef, 57. Fighter, Overcomer, Questioner

Denise Graef shares how she overcame a potentially fatal diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis by refusing to stand still. Questioning authorities, investigating what worked, and moving, always forward. She refused to be underestimated.

David Stewart THE AGEIST September 18, 2019

Facing a Diagnosis: Research, Questions, and Courage Meet Denise Graef, 57, of “Big Sky Country” – Missoula, Montana. As a late teenager, Denise was diagnosed with having severe crippling and possibly life-ending Rheumatoid Arthritis. It’s a degenerative autoimmune disorder that affects the joints, primarily. She was told that it was progressive and that she “would not live into middle age.” Her response was to go rogue in the process – showing they had underestimated her.

Denise is alive and running and thriving today. She is sharing her courage with others. This woman may look sweet, but she is a total badass, a fighter, metaphorically and sometimes literally. It’s fitting that she works at the Lifelong Learning Center in addition to the Women’s Club and Denise Graef Fitness. She exemplifies life-long learning and the empowerment of the mind, spirit, and body. Her fighter’s strength is now put to use by being the champion of other people who are struggling.

 She was a kid who chose not to accept the grim prognosis given her and instead immersed herself in understanding her condition despite being in intense pain. A different person would have given up.

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