If you’re living with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), chances are you don’t need reminding that May is Arthritis Awareness Month. This is a month when all of your well-intended friends and family show an increased interest in what you live with everyday. It’s also a month when you may see more commercials, ads, and memes about arthritis.
You might not need any more awareness– like most people with RA– but knowing you are not alone can be comforting. Increased awareness can help bring more attention, understanding, research, and funding to a very mysterious and unpredictable disease. Feel free to share this article with your friends and family! The CDC also offers an all around easy-to-understand explanation of RA.
Here is a list of some great ways to get involved this month. You can choose what works for you. Let’s celebrate this arthritis awareness month– or simply just survive! You choose!
Share Your Story
Everyone benefits when we talk about RA and how it affects everyday life. If you feel up for it, share your RA related successes and challenges on social media with the hashtags #RheumatoidArthritisAwareness and #RheumatoidArthritis
Were you recently diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis? Here’s a link to a webinar in the beginning of May Recently Diagnosed: Everything You Should Know. Don’t worry if you can’t make the live webinar. The link will be posted here after the live event.
Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain: What Patients Need to Know is also a great webinar to help explain the pain that comes with RA.
Check out this Rheumatoid Arthritis Roadmap Course, written by Occupational Therapist and patient, Cheryl Crow. If RA was a foreign country, she would be your well versed tour guide holding your hand.
Chronic Eileen has dedicated her life to RA patient advocacy. Her blogs and other writings are well-known to the arthritis community. These are great reads for everyone wherever you are in your RA journey.
There was a special event that took place earlier this year, the first ever Arthritis Life Hack Extravaganza. RA patients and supporters across the globe got together on this unique platform to share knowledge, experience, stories, and products. You can check it out on YouTube here.
Listen to a Podcast
Podcasts are a great way to stay connected in the RA community. They are convenient, portable, and you can listen at your own pace.
ArthritisLife is full of great interviews by Cheryl Crow, an RA patient herself. Cheryl is a highly skilled occupational therapist who makes having RA look easy (even though we all know it’s not)!
Follow professional dancer, Chelsey Storteboom’s, RA story and meet other people with auto-immune struggles on My Immune System Hates Me.
Purchase a new brace
Updating your medical devices can be celebratory, too. Check out the wrist braces and compression gloves designed by people with RA and style in mind at Grace and Able. If you don’t want to buy anything, read about Sarah’s story here. It’s an inspiring read.
Join a Support Group
COVID changes a lot of things. One thing it did was bring immune compromised people closer together through technology and the internet. Join one of these great virtual support groups during this month.
On Live Yes!, through the Arthritis Foundation, you can simply pull down the arrow and find your state to see what support groups are available near you. If your state isn’t listed, don’t worry! Rheum To Thrive is an online support and empowerment program designed to provide not only support, but also education. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior Group is also open to anyone. They meet via Zoom every Thursday evening at 7:30PM EDT.
Support groups aren’t just for people who need help, but also people who have extra help to give. You can take a little, and give a little, in this month of arthritis awareness.
Participate in Research
You can participate in research in many ways. If you want to make knee and hip replacements safer, reach out to BeTTER SAID. This free app, ArthritisPower, not only tracks your symptoms, but also uses the data for research to study, treat, and cure arthritis.
Save Some Money
Prescription medications can be very expensive. This May spend some time perusing this great resource which links most co-pay assistance, pharmaceutical assistance, and patient assistance programs alphabetically. If you are frustrated with your health insurance, this resource helps break it down to simple terms that you can understand.
Prioritize Your Self-care
Sometimes showing awareness can mean prioritizing self-care or splurging on something special for yourself. Check out this great quiz from Healthline that can help you evaluate your self-care plan. This article from Healthline shares this patient’s self-care indulgences.
Get Active and Fundraise
Want to walk to cure arthritis with the Arthritis Foundation? Find your local walk here.
Create your own fundraiser to stop arthritis from getting in your way! Find your own passion to raise funds through the Arthritis Foundation here.
Ask Your Friends and Family to donate here
The Arthritis Foundation is always looking for a cure for arthritis through supporting science, research, advocacy, and community connections.
Arthritis National Research Foundation supports early career scientists develop their research to suppose arthritis research in pursuit of a cure.
The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society is a patient-led, UK based organization. They provide support and information for patients who have RA and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA.) They also provide information and support for families, friends, care-givers, healthcare professionals, and anyone affected by these diseases.
The Rheumatology Research Foundation is the largest private funding source for rheumatology research and training in the USA.
The Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation helps raise awareness, healthy living, and research for RA.