You’re Cordially Invited to Make SWEET MEMORIES with Other Warriors & Friends! [video]

Happy moments at the GatheringOur friends at Arthritis Introspective (AI) do so much practical work to help people living with diseases like RA (and adult JRA) to connect for in-person support. Many of the groups listed on our own Local Rheumatoid Arthritis Support page are affiliated with AI, who assists local support groups in various ways. It has been exciting to watch new support groups and friendships form through this page.

The other BIG program of AI is the annual national gathering of people with autoimmune diseases like RA, JRA, and AS. Here’s my report with pictures from last year’s G4 event. This year, I’ll be participating by presenting about being an e-patient and becoming involved in our own healthcare decisions.

I’ll give you 5 reasons to consider attending Sweet Memories G5!


1) I really want to see you there!  Meeting other warriors there will probably be the highpoint of my trip! Apologies to organizers Vince and Peter!

2) You might learn something! After all, they’ve worked for months to create stimulating programs!

3) Spending time with other people living with the same issues as you will help you feel encouraged, inspired, and empowered to fight on to have as much of life as possible!

4) Learn more about the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) at our exhibit.

5) You’ll make sweet memories that will last a lifetime! If you come, you’ll pick this for number 1!

Details on Sweet Memories AI Gathering in Sugar Land Texas March 9-12

The Gathering will take place in Sugar Land, Texas at the Sugar Land Marriot in Town Square. Themed “Sweet Memories” the conference will showcase educational awareness with fifteen sessions from which to choose. The topics will include addressing parenting, nutrition, therapy, communication, and relationships, just to name a few. As an added bonus, Arthritis Introspective encourages its attendees to bring their spouses, caregivers, significant others, friends, and family to an educational track created specifically for support systems. The National Gathering also includes numerous social activities in order to strengthen the relationships of those attending.

Click here to learn more about the hotel, the schedule, or to register now.

EASY way to earn donations for the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation:

DON’T FORGET! If you registered to complete the brief anonymous survey to earn a $25 donation to the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, PLEASE keep an eye on your email and be sure to complete your survey as soon as you receive it! Please also remind any friends who may have registered for the survey too.

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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

13 thoughts on “You’re Cordially Invited to Make SWEET MEMORIES with Other Warriors & Friends! [video]

  • January 31, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Oh! I would love to come! I am going to try to convince DH that he CAN take off of work and watch the kids for me. That is not an easy task, but maybe…just maybe….

  • January 31, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I wish we could go! I don’t think that we’ll even be able to go the the JA Conference this year.

    Before we actually went to our first conference, I thought that I needed to know more in order to go. NO. The year that we finally went I thought that I knew too much and may not learn anything. NO again. No matter if you are new to this RA life or been dealing with it for years, you will learn things. As Kelly said, you will make new friends. You may finally feel like I did this past July- like I finally found my peeps. Especially if you feel as though you have gotten to know people through social media- if those people are going and you can meet, it’s amazing!!! If you can go, don’t hesitate!!!

  • January 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    When I first saw notice of this, I realized that although I’m “welcome” to come, the age emphasis leaves out this newly diagnosed 62-year-old.

    • January 31, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Dear Linda, there has been a lot of discussion of that – I was not around back then, but I believe it was added as a tagline by AI back before there was an understanding of RA / JRA as a disease – the way we now know that it is. SO, it was to distinguish between a disease and the “regular arthritis” of old age. I know that I CAN speak for them when I say how MUCH you would be welcome and wanted. A couple of others have commented similarly and have been welcomed warmly by AI folks!!

  • January 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    It just occurred to me that my previous post might have come across as if I’m mad. Far from it. I have a 30-something daughter who has been tentatively diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder–maybe RAD?–and her concerns sometimes differ from mine and sometimes mesh. Of course she might benefit from a conference in which people her age meet and discuss their particular concerns, so of course I don’t have a problem with that sort of thing. However, neither am I likely to “horn in” on it. We newly diagnosed boomers have our special challenges and concerns, too. Younger newly diagnosed RAD suffers often write in posts, “But I’m only . . . supply the age.” For us, we might be thinking, “But I spent a lifetime paying my dues with work, childrearing and taking care of parents, too, and this was supposed to be my time, finally, to live out my dreams. I did everything right and now I don’t get that time.” Other concerns include the differences in which medications might be handled by boomer bodies that perhaps have other health challenges; worrying whether we’ll be able to get medications when we advance to Medicare age and maybe dealing with an ailing spouse or parent when you are compromised physically, among others.

    • January 31, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      No you don’t seem mad to me. We ALL have problems – it is not fair to have your golden years stolen. It is NOT fair that some of my dear friends could not ever have children or learn to do many things because this disease attacked them in their youth. It is NOT fair at all that I had 5 children who then did not have a mommy to care for them properly but had to become caretakers during chlldhood and teen years instead – NOTHING about this disease is fair.Young people have tremendous problems also – a woman in her 20’s or 30’s who can’t work but cannot get disability approved because of her young age wrote me this week for example. We can listen to each other and learn and provide support. That’s how I see the value of the community.

      • January 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm

        Exactly, Kelly. One of my granddaughters is soon to see a pediatric rheumatologist. I wish it were me instead of that granddaughter and my daughter, instead of along with them. I was thinking that I would tell my daughter about the March gathering, as it’s near her.

        • January 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

          I’m going thru it with one of my son’s – nothing in this world I hate more than this disease.

  • February 1, 2012 at 10:21 am

    looks like a blast! I’ll be there… well, can’t travel, but 1) will be there in spirit and 2) maybe we should do something like this in Toronto….

  • February 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I’m there! I just registered! It’s a 10 hour road trip but my DH will be coming with me! I am so looking forward to not only the educational sessions of this gathering, but most importantly, the social interactions with everyone. What a wonderful feeling that will be! I hope you are able to go Kelly. I so look forward to finally meeting you and giving you that big gentle thankful hug! 🙂 Of course, I’ll be wearing my RA Warrior shirt too!

    • February 5, 2012 at 9:38 am

      You can’t imagine how much I look forward to that Therese ♥!

  • February 26, 2012 at 12:11 am

    I was in the grocery store today and talking with the checker and telling her about my RA and that it is an auto-immune disease when a man waiting in line says “it’s not an auto-immune disease, it’s a nutrition disease, I know because my mother-in-law died from it.” This man is a vitamin pill pusher. Can you believe anyone would say such a thing to a person battling RA? I was floored to say the least and said nothing to him, not wanting to cause a fight.
    Some people are so ignorant it’s pathetic.
    Thanks for listening.

    • February 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Hi Bonnie.
      Yes you’d think that he would’ve gained a little compassion through losing his mother. I guess it’s because public opinion on this disease is so off-base.

      Of course nutrition is a good thing, but I cannot understand how people think that to minize the seriousness of the disease or humiliate patients just to promote their product would that make us “like” their viewpoint.


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