Our Ambassadors - Arthritis Action

Candida Doyle

Candida was first diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 16, before joining the band Pulp, which found fame in the 80s and 90s with songs including Common People and Disco 2000. Over time, Candida has learnt to self-manage her arthritis through exercising and healthy eating, and has now been in remission for over five years. “I remember when I was first diagnosed with arthritis. I had pink hair and wore a punk sweater with holes in. I was told I’d be in a wheelchair by the time I was 30. Instead, I joined the pop band Pulp.

“Arthritis really can affect anyone – there are over 10 million people in the UK living with arthritis. I became a life member of Arthritis Action in 2000 as I struggled to come to terms with the changes to my body. Their regular group meetings provided me with a support network I could trust and with the help of their dietitian and fitness expert, I found a diet and exercise routine that kept me moving and reduced pain.”

“Having survived the nightmare that is arthritis, and become successful in what l do, l feel the need to encourage others to thrive despite the setback of an arthritis diagnosis and show that a happy life is still possible.”

More information about Candida can be found in her Personal Story on the Arthritis Action website.

Zoe Birkett

Zoe is known for being a finalist on ITV’s Pop Idol 20 years ago and is currently one of the leads in The Great British Bake Off Musical on the West End. She also recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of her hip replacement after living with severe osteoarthritis, just weeks before she started rehearsals for the show.

Zoe has lived with a bad left hip since she was 13 years old, when she was first diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Many people think that arthritis can only affect older people, however, this is not true – there are over 10 million people of all ages in the UK who live with the condition. Zoe was initially treated with 3 pins in her hip, which were later removed. Over time her pain increased as her bones rubbed against one another, until she had no choice but to replace the hip with a cemented titanium stem and hip socket, weeks before she began rehearsals for Moulin Rouge the Musical on the West End.

At the time, Zoe was one of the youngest people in the country to have this procedure and was determined to be can-canning on the West End stage as planned. During her rehabilitation, Zoe also planned her wedding with the ultimate goal of walking down the aisle in heels, which she accomplished with flying colours! In her words, the operation and her rehabilitation left Zoe feeling like she got her life back.

“What a time it’s been since I had my hip operation in 2021! I feel like I have got my life back – not only professionally being able to high-kick my legs in the West End eight times a week, but also in my personal life with everyday tasks like picking up my young daughter and rediscovering my love of fitness. I’m extremely grateful to everyone at Chelsea Lister Hospital during my recovery and also the support and advice given by Arthritis Action, which gave me comfort in knowing I wasn’t alone and there are people going through the same issues I did.”



Josh Quigley

Josh is a renowned cyclist, having last year beaten the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance cycled in a week (unpaced). Prior to achieving this feat, Josh had been diagnosed with arthritis at just 28 years old, but was determined not to let this hamper his dreams. Josh continued his attempt in the hope of providing inspiration to the 10 million other people in the UK that are impacted by the condition.

More information about Josh can be found in his Personal Story on the Arthritis Action website.

“If I had one piece of advice to someone who’s just been diagnosed with arthritis, it would be: don’t let your arthritis define you. See it as a new challenge. When I was diagnosed with arthritis, it would have been easy to say ‘Oh no, this is going to get in my way’. Instead, I busied myself with the things I still controlled, and I set myself a goal: to try and break a Guinness World Record for cycling the furthest distance ever in a week. It’s an extreme example, but it certainly proves that arthritis isn’t holding me back, and I’m still able to achieve extraordinary things.”