Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness
Rheumas Worth Spreading
I’ve chosen to write about Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness for this week’s Rheuma. Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness month is actually not until September. However, the month of July marks the beginning of a month long campaign to raise awareness for Juvenile Arthritis. Raising awareness for JRA is a cause that is so dear to my heart. I was not diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis just to be clear. Rheumatoid Arthritis came to me at a much later stage as an adult. That’s why it’s become a special quest of mine. I simply cannot imagine the impact of this disease for people so young. How can you not absolutely admire their strength and resilience to live with such a horrible disease. I want to give a huge shout out to all the Juvenile Arthritis Warriors out there and their families.
Juvenile Arthritis Research
I support JRA by donating all the profits from this blog to The Arthritis National Research Foundation. This particular arthritis foundation actively engages in Juvenile Arthritis Research.
You can show your support by making a purchase through The Rheuma Mill. Alternatively you can make a purchase from the ‘I Roar’ collection at The Rheuma Mall. The ‘I Roar’ collection is my Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness merchandise. It was created to empower all those with RA as well as giving to the JRA community.
If you had planned giving money to charity, I encourage you all to get behind Juvenile RA awareness month. You can do this by either making a purchase or sharing through your social network. Awareness for both RA and JRA will not happen unless we ALL do our part. Do your part by making a purchase or sharing this on social media. Social media is a very powerful tool. There is a special awareness day and awareness month for Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness. But it is really something we should individually be doing on a daily basis.
Why spread Rheumas?
This post will go through how to raise Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness. It will also go through why it is so important to us.
There are many aspects to Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness.
Public Awareness –
From my discussions with those with RA from around the world, many of us had no idea about rheumatoid arthritis before we were diagnosed. By the same token, many of the people who we tell know very little or nothing about the disease. By the same token, many probably don’t even realise it even effects young people. Juvenile Arthritis shouldn’t exist but it does and not many people know about it. Personally, I wish I’d known about rheumatoid arthritis earlier. My diagnosis would’ve come around a lot sooner and I certainly would’ve suffered less.
Public awareness about RA = earlier diagnosis = more effective treatment
Community Awareness –
By community awareness, I mean that those around us, our family, our friends and our colleagues, would have access to more resources regarding rheumatic diseases so they could learn what life is like with the chronic pain associated with RA. As many of you know, many people wouldn’t think that Rheumatoid Arthritis is one of the many autoimmune diseases that affects our immune system and that there is no cure.
Community Awareness = better understanding = stronger support system
Isn’t it interesting that Rheumatoid Arthritis is the 2nd most common form of arthritis (out of the 100+). Yet many don’t know anything or very little about it.
It is estimated that over 23 million people in the world live with Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, the worldwide number for JRA is unknown. It is reported however that there are 500000 children living with Juvenile Arthritis in the United States alone. I am an adult with the same condition. I cannot accept that there are half a million children out there coping with what I am coping with. (That is why research funding is so important!)
Public recognition is a major component in Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness. It is public recognition that drives important funding in all the right places. Places such as research, health system and support services. When we quietly accept our condition and suffer in silence, there is little momentum to drive public recognition. When we collectively put our voices together and ROAR, this is what drives change. There are so many issues and problems right now. I’m talking in terms of the costs of our medication and access to disability benefits. Included is access to proper pain management and treatment and access to the proper health services.
More voices = more recognition = more money = more research = better treatment = better health care = better support system.
Raising awareness is important because it can be used to contribute to policy change. This puts pressure on policy-makers and encourages the community to take action. Raising awareness can also inform the community about our current problems. It highlights and draws attention to it. Consequently, the information and education provided can solicit action to make changes.
Ways to spread Rheumas
Don’t be silent –
Educate people when you can about our condition. People need to learn and it is best if they learn first hand.
Reach out –
Leaders and those with community ties and networks can share your message with specific audiences. They can reach others that you may not be able to reach. For example, you may want a yoga class specific to Rheumatoid Arthritis. You can reach out to your therapists, specialists, gyms and yoga studios. There could be 20 people in your immediate area with RA looking for a yoga class. Unless those 20 people reach out, no-one will know a need exists.
Social media –
When you can, use your social media to spread ANY information about Rheumatoid Arthritis. When you click on ‘share’, it not only shares it with your immediate social circle but it tells the algorithms behind search engines (Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) that this is an important topic. That’s how things go viral! The algorithms decide this based on activity. If you use Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, use hashtags and lots of them. People may not follow you but they follow the hashtags and social media algorithms pick up on this too.
Follow and ‘like’ things and people related to RA on social media. The more people who follow and like, the more the algorithms circulate. Not only will you help spread awareness but you will bring others with RA to the Rheumatoid Arthritis Community where they can get support and information. You can follow The Rheuma Mill on all our socials here:
Donations and awareness goes hand in hand. Donations for Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness drives Rheumatoid Arthritis advocacy which in turn drives change for all those of the Rheumatoid Arthritis community.
More awareness = more donations = even more awareness = even more donations = more funding for media campaigns = EVEN more awareness = EVEN more donations = more community awareness = more public awareness = more public recognition = earlier diagnosis = more effective treatment = better understanding = stronger support system = more voices = more recognition = more money = more research = better treatment = better health care = better support system.
All these ‘=’ require momentum and action.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.Mother Teresa
Do your part!
I wear my Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness ribbon and Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness bracelet often. But they do not grab public recognition the way the ‘I Roar’ merch does. The ‘I Roar’ collection does what it says, it ROARS. It also roars in the Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness ribbon colors. So get your hands on a Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness mask! Or share the Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness shirts on your socials. Don’t forget, we have 10% off everything in the ‘I Roar’ collection! The ‘I Roar’ collection is getting shared all around Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and even by Creakyjoints on Twitter! These will go fast so go secure yours now and raise Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness today!