Words by Tess Becker
Dr. Brad Schaeffer is a man of many interests, talents, and life experiences. First and foremost, he’s a doctor specializing in foot and ankle surgery. That alone has taken him to a lot of interesting places, including a show on self-care called ‘My Feet Are Killing Me,’ and even to leading annual NYC arthritis walks with the goal of ending arthritis through the organization Walk to Cure Arthritis.
“I treat anyone with anything below the knee that they have problems with. So all my patients are obviously a top priority. In doing that, I developed a close relationship with Walk to Cure Arthritis,” Brad tells Smiley News.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24% of all adults, or 58.5 million people, have arthritis in the US. It is a leading cause of work disability, with annual costs for medical care and lost earnings of $303.5 billion. Dr. Brad, alongside the Walk to Cure Arthritis, is working to put a dent in that statistic.
He’s also a massive advocate for prostate cancer awareness, working closely with Frederick Anderson and the Blue Jacket Fashion Show to raise awareness, particularly in communities of color.
Beyond his work with arthritis and his own doctoral work, Dr. Brad made a monumental choice recently, coming out on television as gay. He wanted to break down stereotypes, particularly about what a gay person might look like.
“A kid will literally draw a character of somebody gay who may be a little more flamboyant, or of a straight person maybe throwing a football or something like that,” he says. “I just think all of those boxes need to be obliterated, and as far as I'm concerned, I don't really feel like I fit into the stereotypical character that maybe a kid would draw as a gay man.”
By challenging these stereotypes, he wants everyone see people like him in a more nuanced way and humanize those from different backgrounds.
“Someone can just see me in a different way and I can bring a positive light to them where they don't feel like they are that character on TV that the media always portrays.”
“There's so much more happiness beyond the stress of when you're young.”
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
American Civil Liberties Union. This is one of the largest civil liberty defense organizations in the US. Find out more and support them here.
Human Rights Campaign. This is one of the largest equality-focused organizations in the US. Find out more.
The Trevor Project. They focus on suicide prevention and mental health support for queer youth. Support them here.