An Event Especially for Gathering Encouragement

Kelly and Terese

You’re not alone

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “You’re not alone” with this disease. So many of us share experiences. And yet, we hear frequently about the loneliness that Rheumatoid disease creates. Community is a tremendous remedy and it’s what brings many warriors here time after time. Hearing “you’re not crazy,” “that happens to me too,” or even “I’m sorry” is so simple, yet so valuable.

You Rock, Warrior!

You do. Living with the constant skirmishes of this disease tends to make us resilient and more sensitive to others’ needs. Do you know how incredible you are to keep showing up at work in pain? Focusing on your loved ones’ needs? Or facing one new medication, test, or surgery after another? While meanwhile fighting to overcome the pain, sound positive, and stay cheerful?Kelly & Carol & Gene

Reading your comments every day, I’m often amazed and humbled.

That’s why I’m so glad Arthritis Introspective chose “You ROCK!” as the theme for this year’s Gathering near Phoenix. I’ll be speaking at G-6 and I hope to see many of you there. Please click here to find out more about the Gathering or see the great topics on the schedule.

Note: see a few snapshots from previous Gatherings on the RAW Gallery page – click here.

Themed “You Rock!!” the conference will showcase educational awareness with fifteen sessions from which to choose. The topics will include self-advocacy, wellness of the mind and biologic medications, just to name a few. Arthritis Introspective encourages its attendees to bring their spouses, caregivers, significant others, friends, and family for an educational track created specifically for adult loved ones. There also will be numerous social activities to build friendships for those attending. Children of attendees are welcomed to participate during the social activities throughout the weekend.

Recommended reading

Kelly Young

Kelly Young is an advocate providing ways for patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. Through her writing, speaking, and use of social media, she is building a more accurate awareness of Rheumatoid disease aka Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creating ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and bringing recognition and visibility to the Rheumatoid patient journey. In 2009, Kelly created Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior, a comprehensive website about RA of about 950 pages and writes periodically for other newsletters and websites. Kelly served on the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Advisory Board. There are over 42,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook Fan page. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is the mother of five, a home-schooler, Bible teacher, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She has lived over nine years with unrelenting Rheumatoid disease. See also http://www.rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

15 thoughts on “An Event Especially for Gathering Encouragement

  • April 5, 2013 at 10:29 am
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    Great! Is it always held in AZ or might the conference make it’s way to the Midwest one day?

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    • April 5, 2013 at 10:39 am
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      Last year was in Texas. I’m not sure what they are thinking for next year, but I bet they announce it in a couple of months! Maybe someone from AI can address that in a comment too Julie.

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    • April 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm
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      Hi Julie! Eventually we would like to explore different conference sites. However, currently our largest local support systems are in California and AZ, with our largest group of event volunteers there as well. While we had a great time in Sugarland last year, it was difficult to plan out of state with a small Texas-based committee. Once we have gotten more Arthritis Introspective Support Systems running throughout the midwest, we will revisit the idea of changing locations, but that is sometime down the road. However, being from the Midwest myself, AZ is a great place to come for a conference (or any excuse). If you’d like more information on AI local Support Systems, please visit our website, www. arthritisintrospective.org. Hope to see you in May!

      Reply
  • April 5, 2013 at 11:52 am
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    And you’ll all be coming to my backyard , the Beautiful Valley of the Sun. The resort is a hop, skip and a jump from my house. It’ll be great to finally meet some of my Rheummates…

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  • April 5, 2013 at 11:56 am
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    Why is the age cut off 50 years old for this event? I am 54 but have had RA since I was 27. I’m just curious.

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    • April 5, 2013 at 12:09 pm
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      Ginny, there is no cut off for age for this event. Everyone is welcome.
      Perhaps you misunderstood something on the AI website. They were founded to provide services to people with diseases like RA and JRA and I think they used some language back then to distinguish themselves from the all the many existing “arthritis” programs for the elderly. Hopefully someone from AI will be able to address any questions you have.

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      • April 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm
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        This is a quote from the web site “Gathering is designed for ages 20-50 if you are 18 or older you and you feel that you can benefit from this great event, welcome!” I wasn’t going to attend. I was just curious. Now that I’m in my 50’s I find that some of the RA program have a cut off of 40 or 50.

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        • April 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm
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          I can’t answer that since I don’t know what other RA programs there are – I haven’t seen any. Pretty soon some of the founders of the AI organization will be in their 50’s too, Ginny. It’s happening to all of us. 🙂 I can’t speak for them, but I do know every age is welcome.

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  • April 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm
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    Hi Ginny, my name is Kevin Purcell and I am the Founder and President of AI. Kelly is spot on with our age demographic focus and that all ages are definitely welcomed. Just to add to it, since our inception as a 501c3 that has been our focus just because of what we saw back then in regards to the overall programs available. Email me directly if you have any additional questions or comments. I am curious, what RA programs have a “cut off” at 50 years old?

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  • April 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm
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    Hi Ginny,
    I’m Deserae, one of the members of AI and actually, AI was formed for people just like you. Our focus is to address the unique challenges of those living with arthritis in the prime of life, those adults diagnosed as children and in early-middle adulthood; people diagnosed with arthritis just as they are beginning things like college, careers, families and relationships. We are a support system for people who hear, “You’re too young to have arthritis.” We also provide support for those major life decisions, like going on early disability, the stigma of disability and the various misunderstandings and misrepresentations we have all grown to groan about. Our VP is actually over 50 but was diagnosed as a child, so there are many AI members your age and you could probably be a source of advice and encouragement to our members just diagnosed in their 20s-30s. We do hope you reconsider attending, you will see it’s one big love fest with great information in between!

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  • April 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm
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    I would also like to add that the Gathering also has a full program for our Loved Ones, both family and partners/spouses. It’s a safe place for the ones who love you to share their feelings, fears and frustrations about the disease! We all know that once you’ve been diagnosed, you’re whole family gets the disease as well!

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      • April 5, 2013 at 8:49 pm
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        Oh I really didn’t mean to start anything. I truely was just curious. I know when I was firs diagnoised in my 20’s I would have loved to have met other people with RA. It wasn’t until 25 years later that I actually met someone with RA. Please don’t feel like I was talking down the event or calling it into question in any way. That was never my intention. I think all of the organizations listed to great work.

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        • April 5, 2013 at 9:02 pm
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          Don’t worry Ginny. I don’t think they took it that way. You can tell by what Deserae said how caring the group is.

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          • April 7, 2013 at 1:41 am
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            Hi Ginny, absolutely no issue at all and we are glad you asked the question. Many folks have been curious and have asked the same thing. Thank you for being an active part of this community!

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