1st Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day – Groundhog Day 2013 | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

1st Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day – Groundhog Day 2013

Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day – FEBRUARY 2

A DAY FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AWARENESS: February 2nd is the annual Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day – CLICK TO READ PRESS RELEASE. Details about how you can get involved in the day of recognition for people living with Rheumatoid Disease, previously “Rheumatoid Arthritis,” can be found here. February is heart disease month, which is a fitting way to remind the world Rheumatoid Disease is not “a type of arthritis,” but a systemic disease that can even affect the heartMuse with me for a couple minutes about the significance of February 2nd as it relates to rheumatoid disease.

February 2nd date emphasizes the turning point of disease diagnosis

Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day groundhogThe groundhog didn’t arbitrarily choose February 2nd to pop up looking for spring – he’s obviously well taught on the patterns of nature. After February 2nd was proposed for Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day, my friend Jay (known well by many on Facebook for his witty and captivating posts that often involve mathematics) enlightened me that the second of February is a Cross-Quarter day, a mid-point between a Solstice and an Equinox. The groundhog is right: February 2nd is a turning point.

When rheumatoid disease strikes a person (a form of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis / Juvenile Arthritis or of Rheumatoid Arthritis), there’s a short window of opportunity to get diagnosed and treated for the best outcome. It’s as difficult to forecast disease prognosis as it is to predict the last day of cold weather. However, it remains a crucial decision point: Will he be diagnosed early? Will she receive timely treatment? Unfortunately that’s less likely with a low level of disease awareness.

Groundhog Day: movie & meaning

Meaningful implications exist for February 2nd (Candlemas) in Anglicanism, Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and other religions; but for me it’s also hallowed because of the Bill Murray – Andie MacDowell movie. I’ve watched the 1993 Groundhog Day at least a dozen times. Probably more, but I tend to underestimate things like that on the blog.

Below is one of my favorite clips from the film because when it came out Gabriel (my Bichon Frisé) was only a couple years old. Many times a day I sang to him, “Gabe! I got you Gabe” à la Sony and Cher. The clip is wildly funny because Phil (Murray) becomes hysterically angry at the clock radio as it plays the same song, “Babe! I got you Babe” apparently hundreds of times, suggesting that Murray is doomed to repeat the same day endlessly – Groundhog Day.

Murray becomes frantic that change is not coming – not even a new day is coming.

What if there were no tomorrow? Only more of today? It’s the experience of many people with full-blown rheumatoid disease. Along with the pain and increasing disability, they feel astonished that the same difficulties will be faced in countless future days.

But the movie has a happy ending and I’ll watch it again this year! I love watching Phil (very gradually) learn from his mistakes and begin to care for others more. Laughter is such excellent medicine.

The 1st Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day

This first Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day is a turning point for people with rheumatoid disease (PRD) as well. Standing together, patients will generate greater disease awareness, research funding, and better care. Please click here to read lots of ways YOU can get involved in Rheumatoid Awareness Day. For example, click here to be counted by joining the Facebook event now.

Please feel free to save the images and use them in social media or your own website. There are other images available on rheum4us.org.

Recommended reading:

Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day - February 2

Rheumatoid disease awareness ribbon

Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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22 thoughts on “1st Rheumatoid Disease Awareness Day – Groundhog Day 2013

  • January 22, 2013 at 8:07 am

    rawarrior THE 1st RHEUMATOID DISEASE AWARENESS DAY FEB 2 2013 (Groundhog Day) is the day after GO RED 4 WOMEN (Heart Disease) #RHEUM

  • January 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

    rawarrior Great work w/this but think we should ask people to wear purple on that day…something anyone could do. Add that at top, maybe?

  • January 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Great news! Are you going to start selling the ribbon magnets for cars? I have an order for three if/when you do! I also think we should urge everyone to wear purple on Feb 2!

    • January 24, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      Mary did you visit the link in the post on rheum4us.org? There is a store there with ribbon items you can buy & support RPF at the same time.

  • January 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I believe purple is the color for Lupus, well established.

    My family celebrates Candlemas on Feb. 2nd, and it is a great time for new beginnings, and bringing things into the light.

  • January 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Rheumatoid awareness day is long overdue, but I am so glad it is finally here!! Thank you Kelly for helping to make this happen! I get really tired of people not understanding what this disease is about and/or not caring. Rheumatoid disease has not only affected myself, but also my twin sister and we both have a severe form of the disease. I was very surprised to click on rheum4us.org and see my sister and I right there on the opening page with the slogan “together we can do more” right above our heads.

    I also love the fact that our day is tied in with groundhog day and heart awareness month,

  • January 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm


    Thank you for the hard work that went into establishing February 2nd as Rheumatoid Awareness Day. I think I was struck most recently by the following blog post you quoted:

    and one patient’s story there:

    “Fifty percent of the bones in my feet are eroded. I wear custom shoes and inserts. Before my RA ruined my body completely I too spent 7 days a week exercising, hiking, climbing, camping, running, you name it I did it. I pushed myself to the point that narcotics could not kill the pain and still the doctors kept saying exercise, it’s good for you. I tore tendons and got bursitis and still they said exercise. I tried to reason with them, to explain what exercise now does to my body. They couldn’t “hear” me. Not one of my doctors had RA. In defeat I am ashamed to admit that now I lie to them to keep the peace. My mother had severe RA. She too was athletic. I recall her bitter indignation and frustration when the doctors told her to exercise more. She sat sobbing in the dark in her bedroom not even able to get around any longer. We are both slim and trim. The heck with the experts…”

    My hope and prayer is that by raising awareness, people will no longer be forced to hide their level of rheumatoid disease activity in shame and the fear that they will not be believed. I fully relate to the quote above. I’ve sent the press release about this 1st Rheumatoid Awareness Day to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Canada and the Premier of the province of British Columbia, Christy Clark. For those in the UK and other countries, please consider sending the press release to your government representatives as well as the media.

  • January 22, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    Dear Kelly –

    Wanted to send you the link for my blog post about Rheumatoid Awareness Day!

    Also, our little support group may be restarting! Have 2 new people interested in attending in February! So Dianne and I will be hoping and praying that no “flares” occur then!

    OK, y’all, keep the faith, and keep the info flowing!


    • January 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      Awesome Elizabeth. Thanks for your work spreading the good news! And make sure to let @socialmediaShan know about the meeting!

  • January 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Oh, yeah! I’m for getting purple ribbons with gold borders to wear, as magnets to put on cars, as bumper stickers, as graphics on calling cards – EVERYTHING!
    LOVE the Royal Purple shade!

  • January 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    I really prefer the term Rheumatoid Disease. I’m very tired of people telling me I’m too young to have arthritis (I’m 41)

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  • January 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    YES!!! Out of the shadows and into the light!!! We all need to feel the warmth on our tired sore bodies. *hugs* to everyone.

  • January 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    rawarrior Congratulations. Thank you for the work you are doing. Lets hope we can bring some people to light about this disease. #rheum

  • January 27, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Yay!! I will proudly be sporting indigo and gold on Feb. 2!!!

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  • February 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Happy RD Day!
    I’m too old now for doctors to say “you look too young and too healthy to be this sick!” But I am still on this earth with Rheumatoid Disease and still wake up not knowing what is in store for me.
    I concur with all my sisters and brothers above, I’ve tried most biologic’s, DMARDS and other treatments and still have no cure or remission.
    Thank you Kelly for all your effort, I’m blessed to share a disease with you, you Kelly are a true warrior.

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