About RA Warrior | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

About RA Warrior

Why Kelly O’Neill Created RA Warrior

This page covers personal information about the author, written in 2009. Click here for more information About this site. 

Kelly O'Neill Young creator RA WarriorPurpose

Kelly is a student of Rheumatoid Arthritis because of the axiom: Know your enemy. Since her diagnosis in 2006, she has relentlessly worked to learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis. Through reading books, news articles, blogs, and medical journals, has become a knowledgeable lay person. Although RA has impaired her physically, she refuses to see herself as a victim. And although Rheumatoid Arthritis is incurable at this time, she refuses to lose hope.

Instead, she has gained satisfaction in helping others to understand their options and make educated choices. She promotes self-education and encourages RA patients to direct their own medical treatment decisions. This is especially important with Rheumatoid Arthritis because its causes and symptoms are not yet fully understood by medicine. See the sign above her desk.


Kelly has battled chronic autoimmune illness most of her life. At age 15, she developed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. She was quite ill for over a year while visiting dozens of doctors and searching for a diagnosis. Her Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms began at age 13 and worsened after the birth of each of her five children. In 2006, she was finally diagnosed with RA as it suddenly affected every joint, her voice,  and her eyes. These years have produced in her a tender heart for hurting people.

Recently, a friend sent her this message: “Kelly, you seem to have an empathy for hurting people, yet go a step farther and after expressing empathy, you …  inform and equip. I believe people listen to a person’s opinion more readily when they know you care. Love, Abigail

Point of view

Kelly is a fighter. Her blog is written to inspire others to fight Rheumatoid Arthritis with fierceness. The disease is fierce and unrelenting. Therefore, living with RA means constantly battling new symptoms and trying new treatments. Kelly advocates perseverance and patience for a battle which is usually a lifelong one.

Kelly is also an optimist. Her writing reflects her hopeful spirit. The source of her personal hope is in the God of the Bible. She hopes to inspire others to trust God for help and hope.


When I suddenly became ill with extremely aggressive Rheumatoid Arthritis, I did not know another single person with RA. It was nearly impossible to believe what was happening. In a few short days, I went from being an energetic, vigorous, agile woman to living as someone over twice my age. I actually do have friends twice my age who can move better than I. No one understood what was happening to me.

It would have meant so much to have knowledge of what to expect. I did not have a comprehensive source of information and compassionate help available. I worked hard on my own to piece together information about how to protect my joints, organs, and life.

I also sought out other patients through any connection I could find! (Examples include a friend of my dental hygienist’s husband; brother-in-law’s coworker’s wife; daughter’s friend’s mom; best friend’s sister-in-law; childhood buddy of a guy from church…) I have tried to give everyone I meet what I did not have: just a friend with RA. In the process, I have been the one who was blessed. I have met precious people who have increased my own courage and faith.


Kelly is the mother of five children. She lives in Central Florida. Typically, a list of hobbies and activities would be given here to define an author’s life. Kelly’s list has been confiscated by RA. (It formerly included various sports and crafts.) Instead she now seeks less tangible ways to define herself: She is patient, honest, and kind.

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5 thoughts on “About RA Warrior

  • July 22, 2017 at 2:21 am

    I’m glad I found this site. I was diagnosed a year ago with RA but I’ve had fibromyalgia for many years and I now have PTTD, post tibial tendon dysfunction. It is difficult to be in pain daily and at only 42 nit be able to do most anything I always have

  • January 2, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Hi! I e been following you for a few years now … read your new book. Love it! Question… any info you can help me with I’m taking humira and apparently the copay assistance card will no longer cover your deductible. How will people afford this? Most pp have a high deductible . Going without ???? Help.

  • March 20, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Kelly,
    As you know there is much talk about a drug called Plaquenil to fight COVID 19.Clinical trials are ongoing or planned, but large scale studies for the efficacy of this drug against Coronavirus are not yet available.
    Nevertheless, many people use routinely Plaquenil to treat Rheumatoid arthritis.
    I am a scientist at University of Ferrara and think that we can learn a lot about the efficacy of this drug towards coronavirus by assessing the spread of the virus among these patients.Can you please help and sponsor the survey on your association’s newsletter?I include below the text of the survey (only 3 questions, plus age)
    Hopefully we can quickly collect enough data to answer this important question.

    This is the SurveyMonkeys link:

  • August 14, 2020 at 9:47 am

    Hi Kelly,

    I wanted to thank you for all you are doing for the young adults with arthritis community, I am a frequent reader and am inspired by your story. I too, am a fighter.

    My name is Connor Dacquay and I first experienced joint pain when I was 14 years old. Between the ages of 15 to 17 my symptoms progressively became worse to the point that I could barely walk and the pain in my knees was unbearable. At this point I went to a various number of doctors to try and diagnose the issue and perform CT and MRI scans but after being referred to four different doctors I was initially diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis at the age of 17.

    At this point I was told to take Aleve rest the joints and apply ice and heat periodically to reduce the inflammation but the pain was persistent and I was devastated mentally and physically after feeling lost and experiencing a period of depression I found motivation to perform my own research for a possible solution for the pain. After months and months of research I came up empty handed as I couldn’t find any relatable resources for young adults recently diagnosed with arthritis this made me frustrated and increased my depression as I was couch ridden without hope.

    I continued to search for rheumatologists for a proper diagnosis and treatment and finally found one when I was 21 years old. I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis combined with psoriatic arthritis as I had a fused vertebrae and chronic knee and hip pain.

    Motivated with a new Doctor and treatment I decided to experiment with my diet perform light exercises such as 10 minutes stationary bikes in 30 minute walks. Overtime I slowly cleaned up my diet further and increase my exercise over a five year period. I experimented with different exercises build up the muscle in my legs and started to perform short runs. Amazed with the reduction in overall pain and stiffness I increased the duration of my runs until I was able to run long distances and now, marathons.

    Like you, I’m also a member of the Arthritis Society and I’ve been profiled by the arthritis society for my story in order to inspire young adults recently diagnosed with arthritis. I am impressed with your following and I believe we have similar views in the power of healthy lifestyle habits for people with arthritis.

    I have been developing a 12-week program that uses a guided journal and audio tapes to help young adults with arthritis take their first steps after diagnosis. It is a new program and I am looking for people to review it to hear their thoughts. Would you be interested?

    I hope to speak with you soon. Sincerely,


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