Whether you want to participate in Arthritis Awareness Month is entirely up to you.
If you live with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you may already know that May is Arthritis Awareness Month. This is a month when your well-intended friends and family show an increased interest in what you live with every day. It’s also a month when you may see more commercials, articles, and memes about arthritis.
Chances are you probably don’t need any more “awareness” about what it’s like living with RA, but the reminder that you’re not alone can be comforting.
Increased awareness beyond the RA community can help bring more action, understanding, research, and funding to a very mysterious and unpredictable disease.
If you don’t want to participate in Arthritis Awareness Month, that’s completely OK. Maybe instead, pass this article to your friends and family.
If your loved ones could benefit from learning a bit more about RA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also offers an easy-to-understand guide to RA.
Here’s a list of some ways to get involved this month, if you want to. You can choose what works for you. You can celebrate, honor, or participate in this Arthritis Awareness Month in a way that feels best for you.
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.
You can also introduce yourself in the Bezzy RA forums to connect with people who understand what you’re going through.
Were you recently diagnosed with RA? The Arthritis Foundation is hosting a webinar in early May called “Recently Diagnosed: Everything You Need to Know“. Don’t worry if you can’t make the live webinar. The recorded webinar will be posted here after the event.
Another great resource for people who are looking to learn more is this Rheumatoid Arthritis Roadmap Course, written by Cheryl Crow, an occupational therapist and patient advocate. If RA was a foreign country, she would be your well-versed tour guide holding your hand throughout the journey.
Chronic Eileen has dedicated her life to RA patient advocacy. Her blog and other written pieces are well-known across the arthritis community. These are great reads for everyone, no matter where they are in their RA journey.
There was a special event that took place earlier this year, the first Arthritis Life Hack Extravaganza. People with RA 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.
Podcasts are a great way to stay connected in the RA community. They are convenient, accessible, and easy to listen to at your own pace.
“ArthritisLife” is full of great interviews hosted by Cheryl Crow and featuring others navigating life with RA.
Chelsey Storteboom, a professional dancer living with RA, also shares her story on the podcast “My Immune System Hates Me.” Her podcast features many other people also living with autoimmune conditions.
Updating your medical devices can be celebratory, too. Check out the wrist braces and compression gloves from Grace and Able designed with style in mind by people with RA.
If you don’t want to buy anything, read about the founder Sarah’s story here. It’s an inspiring read.
COVID-19 has changed a lot of things. One thing it did was bring immunocompromised people closer together through technology and the internet. If you’re looking for connection or support this month, join one of these great virtual support groups.
On Live Yes!, hosted by the Arthritis Foundation, you can simply find your state to see what support groups are available near you.
If your state isn’t listed, Rheum to THRIVE is an online support and empowerment program designed to provide support as well as education. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior Group is also open to anyone. They meet via Zoom every Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Bezzy RA also hosts nightly live discussions at 8:00 p.m. ET that are free to join and all text-based. Tune in here and get to know the community.
Support groups aren’t just for people who need help, but also for people who have extra help to give. You can take a little and give a little this Arthritis Awareness Month.
You can participate in research in many ways. If you want to get involved in research committed to making knee and hip replacements safer, check out BeTTER SAID.
The free app, ArthritisPower, not only helps you track your symptoms, but it also uses the data for research on symptoms and treatment options for those living with arthritis.
Prescription medications can be very expensive. This May, spend some time perusing this great resource which lists most copay assistance, pharmaceutical assistance, and patient assistance programs alphabetically.
If you’re frustrated navigating disability benefits, this resource helps break it down in an easy-to-understand way.
Sometimes, honoring your experience with RA can mean prioritizing self-care or splurging on something special for yourself.
Check out this quiz that can help you evaluate your current self-care plan to help you find ways to improve it.
Want to enjoy the warmer weather and get moving with others who are also passionate about raising money for arthritis research? Find a local Arthritis Awareness Month walk here.
If group events aren’t convenient for you, create your own fundraiser. The Arthritis Foundation has resources here to help you get started.
The Arthritis Foundation is an organization focused on helping those living with arthritis through funding medical research, promoting advocacy, and fostering community connections.
The Arthritis National Research Foundation supports early career scientists develop their research to support arthritis research.
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, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and anyone affected by these conditions.
The Rheumatology Research Foundation is the largest private funding source for rheumatology research and training in the United States.
The Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation helps raise awareness, healthy living, and research for RA.
When you live with RA, Arthritis Awareness Month may evoke a range of emotions. Some people feel excited about a month dedicated to spreading awareness, whereas others may feel like the last thing they need is a reminder about what they live with every day.
It’s completely up to you if you want to participate in Arthritis Awareness Month. You get to decide how to honor yourself and your experiences this month, and all year round.
Fact checked on April 29, 2022
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