Internationally-recognized patient advocate and health motivational speaker Amye L. Leong will be the keynote speaker at the Annual Eva M. Holtby Conversations and Lunch this Thursday, Feb. 13.

The event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St.

The cost to attend is $45 ($10 tax-deductible donation) for the general public, or $35 for University of Arizona Arthritis Center Friends members and their guests.

For reservations, call 626-7901.

Leong will give a talk titled, "Getting a Grip on Arthritis."

Diagnosed at age 18 with rheumatoid arthritis and wheelchair-bound within eight years, Leong drew on her personal advocacy skills and determination to rebuild her body and take control of her life.

After 16 surgeries and 12 joint replacements, she developed America’s largest network of 40-plus young adult arthritis education and advocacy programs, and became a respected medical education speaker, advocate and facilitator.

Today, Leong is president and CEO of Healthy Motivation, a health education, advocacy and medical motivation consulting firm in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Paris, France. Her clients include governments, industry and non-government organizations in 18 countries.

She was honored at the White House by President George W. Bush with the 2001 President’s Service Award, the highest honor bestowed on an American for community service. The Arthritis Foundation named her one of its “America’s Fifty Heroes’ and awarded her its highest honor, the Harding Award.