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How Gloria Gaynor Survived and Thrived Through Osteoarthritis

Photo: Courtesy of Troy Word

Award-winning queen of disco Gloria Gaynor is best known for her dance floor anthem “I Will Survive.” The track serves as a source of empowerment for the gay community, for men and women enduring the end of a relationship, for those who suffer from depression, and even to Gaynor herself.

Finding inner strength

“Many people have told me stories of how the song has helped them through depression, mental and physical abuse, long-lasting physical pain, and loss of loved ones by reminding them of their inner strength, uplifting their spirits and giving them hope for a brighter future,” she shares.

Gaynor channeled the song’s optimistic message when she learned she needed knee replacement surgery. “I thought I was a bit young for the surgery — that it was something people had to do during their 70’s or 80’s,” she recalls. “I felt I was getting old before my time, that I was wearing my body out.”

Gloria was performing to sold-out audiences nightly when she was nearly sidelined with pain in both knees. After receiving an osteoarthritis diagnosis, Gaynor underwent her first surgery in 2006.

A glorious recovery

After a year of therapy, rehab, and patience, Gloria regained nearly all her mobility. Today, she is using her story to inspire fans and patients around the world to push through pain. Her charity-based website,, allows fans to shop while donating to their favorite nonprofit. “We’ve started off with various types of shirts and will grow into offering other types of merchandise,” she explains. “It’s a community platform where survivors of all kinds can share their survival stories.”

Gaynor is also stepping back into the recording studio. “I have just finished recording a gospel album which I hope to release by the end of this summer, entitled ‘Testimony,’” she reveals. “I am doing duets with gospel greats such as Yolanda Adams, Bart Millard, Jason Crabb and Mike Farris.”

Fans can witness Gloria in all her glory when she hits the road this summer, with tour dates in New York, Mexico and Morocco.

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