Celebrities and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Part 2 | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Celebrities and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Part 2

arhtritis ribbon

Celebrity RA

There have been a few famous people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is well known how Renoir became crippled by RA. And Lucille Ball’s RA was scrupulously hidden from the public for many years. I wrote a post about some famous women with RA in the nineteenth century.

Yesterday, we mentioned two more recent examples, Meredith Boyd and Camryn Manheim. As significant as their support to our movement would be, I do not think we ought to rely upon them to get our message across. We may have to move our cause forward ourselves.

Movements for cures

Perhaps we need to consider the great success of the movement to cure breast cancer. Did you notice that their achievements have been almost duplicated in recent years by the movement for awareness of woman’s heart disease? Maybe RA should be the next to do so.

Repeatedly, I am asked: What is our color ribbon?* Who are our celebrities? Where is our movement? Why don’t we have commercials that explain Rheumatoid Arthritis the way there have been for diabetes and atherosclerosis?

I don’t know how to find a celebrity for RA

I don’t know how to get a celebrity to step forward and speak the truth about Rheumatoid Arthritis like Nick Jonas does for diabetes.  I don’t know how to get people to donate millions of dollars for ad campaigns the way so many have for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I don’t know why there is such a persistent misunderstanding of the facts about RA that we cannot even get an accurate article on RA in Woman’s Day.

What I do know about RA

1. I know information is key

I know that we must advance accurate information about Rheumatoid Arthritis in order for the world to ever become concerned about whether or not there is a cure. Why would people care whether there is a cure for RA? Until they are informed, they tend to view it as a minor problem. I did not care whether Rheumatoid Arthritis was cured either until I got it, because I did not know it was a serious disease until after it suddenly made me fairly disabled.

2. I know where the money is

Money pays for TV ads. Money buys full page magazine spreads. So money informs. And money is the only way to host star-spangled galas that bring even more money into a movement – so that more people can be informed…

We know where there is enough money to progress a Rheumatoid Arthritis awareness movement. It is at Roche, and Johnson & Johnson and Amgen/Wyeth and Abbott and the other companies who sell Rheumatoid Arthritis medications. What if their ads portrayed RA accurately?

3. I know who our celebrities are

We’ll talk more about that next time. Who do you think it is? Celebrities and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Part 3: Being our own celebrities.

*Note: An RA ribbon! We finally have one!

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 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 by 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 thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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11 thoughts on “Celebrities and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Part 2

  • October 7, 2009 at 1:46 am
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    If my AS wasn’t so bad I would try so hard to become famous so I can raise awareness for RA and AS and Lupus! Though I do have a friend who is in a band that is doing fairly well and he promised me if they do ever get famous that they will dedicate shows for RA and AS awareness and do charity concerts. We all need to have a friend like this so that maybe some way some how we will get the awareness we need! But don’t forget about the AS awareness too 😉

    Reply
  • October 7, 2009 at 8:45 am
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    This is great: “If AS weren’t so bad” you’d try to become famous to raise awareness…

    I have similar thoughts: If RA weren’t so bad, I’d go to medical school so I could treat RA’ers. But also be able to get the medical profession to listen. They seem to only take seriously those who have MD after the name.
    Yes, we should include the AS & PA as the campaign ought to explain Rheumatoid Diseases.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2010 at 11:50 pm
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    Kathleen Turner has been very open about dealing with RA while trying to work as an actress. Her book “Send Yourself Roses” covers the personal and professional problems she has suffered due to her RA.

    Reply
    • August 11, 2010 at 9:16 am
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      thannks Shannon. I will read it. Have you already read it? Was wondering whether you liked it?

      Reply
  • January 27, 2011 at 11:27 am
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    I work for Marilu Henner on her health website http://www.marilu.com. She does not have rheumatoid arthritis but her mom who was a dance teacher had it. She had to slowly watch her mom deteriorate to the point of having to have limbs removed and eventually she died from complications of RA. She speaks about it in her autobiography. She would make an excellent spokesperson. She became interested in health and decided to make that the focus of her life because of what happened to her mother and because her dad died too young from a heart attack that could have been prevented with a healthier lifestyle. I know right now she is very busy as a cancer spokesperson (her husband had 2 cancers) and to promote healthier eating and healthier school lunches for kids. She is working with PCRM right now as well.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2012 at 12:09 am
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    Deborah Norville’s mom had it and she trying to raise awareness! It’s a start.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2014 at 4:35 am
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    THANK YOU FOR ALL THE INFORMATION YOU HAVE GIVEN ME OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS.AFTER I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH R.A. I FELT ALONE AND EXTREMELY ISOLATED WITH THE INVISIBLE DISEASE.IN ENGLAND IT IS NOT REALLY VIEWED AS A DEBILITATING PAINFULL CONDITION BECAUSE THERE IS A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC.ITS VIEWED AS A DISEASE THAT THE ELDERLY GET.AFTER LOOKING AT WARRIOR WEBSITE I GAINED SO MUCH MORE UNDERSTANDING.MY RHEUMATOLOGIST IS VERY GOOD.BUT ONCE YOU LEAVE THAT ROOM.YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN SO TO SPEAK SO THANK YOU AGAIN.FOR A WONDERFULL SOURCE OF INSPIRATION AND GUIDANCE MADELINE

    Reply
  • July 31, 2016 at 3:59 pm
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    It’s so hard dealing with RA I look OK on the outside but on the inside I suffer I would not wish this on anyone I’m a young woman of 58 sometimes I feel like an old lady 90ssometimes it’s just overwhelming

    Reply
“imaware™
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