We Refuse to Be Mislabeled: Updating Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD)

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Kelly at Phoenix airportThree years ago, I saw Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients insisting that the name of the disease needed to be changed. They argued that until the “a” word is removed from the name, confusion about the disease will continue. When asked, I said that we could not wait around for that to happen; let’s work for awareness right now whatever the name is. And I did.

It seemed that changing the name of a disease is a decision that’s not in the realm of patients. We can’t do that. It’s a job for organizations. With money. Who already control things. Which are not working well for patients… hm.

What changed my mind?

1) You did.

Spending > 60 hours a week communicating with other people with Rheumatoid disease impacted converted me.

Without my encouragement, people continued to press the idea that the name change is necessary. There’s no way I could count how many people have told me that they see a name change as a key part of the awareness solution. I’m certain it’s a vast majority.

For a smile, click to see Nancy and I discussing how Rheumatoid Arthritis could become Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease – and my talking with Tanya and Valeska about creating a foundation for Rheumatoid that would be the RA foundation people have dreamed of  – and a few days later, Julie encouraging people to use RAD instead of RA.

2) The facts convinced me.

The fact is that Rheumatoid is not a type of arthritis. Arthritis is one symptom of Rheumatoid disease.

As I objectively studied the problem, I pulled apart threads like tangled yarn. Examining the origins of the confusion about Rheumatoid disease leads to clear conclusions about what must be done to correct it. The word “arthritis” is one unambiguous thread. My learning process included writing > 600 articles for this site and other publications. For a quick overview, click here to see the list of 57 articles labeled Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness.

3) An RA / RAD foundation: the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation.

A few say we must first spend our energy convincing other organizations that they must change their ideals or goals to align with those of Rheumatoid patients and give us what we need. Do people with other conditions or causes wait to be given whatever change they need? No, they demand it.

A year ago, we created the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation which represents Rheumatoid patients themselves. Momentum was tremendous during our first year and people are eagerly telling us they want to help more! That support will only grow as people learn of the tremendous plans the Board of Directors has for the coming year. You are wanted and welcome to join us! Click here to read how to play a part right now!

More support for the name change of Rheumatoid Arthritis

While I could list links to comments, and quote emails and blogs advocating the name change all day long, I urge you to read about a rheumatologist’s plea to change the name of RA, Response to An Identity Crisis for RA by Dr. R. Franklin Adams. OK, here’s just one more remark supporting changing RA to RAD from e-Patient Dave deBronkart with an important point of grammar!

What’s next for RAD?

The RPF is bringing fantastic ways to make impact with the name change and for you to help make a difference! Please follow the RPF now by clicking here and here so you will not miss anything! We can all participate in creating the awareness of Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease / Rheumatoid Arthritis that we’ve all longed for. You’ll be able to join in incredible events coming up including a video contest, RAD petition, and more!

Recommended reading:

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 at 3:00 pm and is filed under Don't miss this!, If you don't have RA, please read, RA Education, Reality Check, Special Occasion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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