Gathering Support for RA | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Gathering Support for RA

Last week, I saw more people with RA in one place than I’ve ever seen before. Can you imagine a gathering of almost a hundred people who know firsthand that the pain and fatigue of RA is real?

Kelly, Kevin, and MelanieThe Gathering of Arthritis Introspective

Every year, Arthritis Introspective (AI) hosts The Gathering for people with any arthritis disease (mostly RA and JRA) “living in the prime of life.” Next year’s Gathering is in Houston in March. Join AI’s Facebook page so you won’t miss any announcements.

What happens at The Gathering?

Sessions provided information and opportunity for discussion of topics ranging from positive outlook on life to joint surgery. There were even a couple of doctors making presentations. Don’t tell anyone, but most of the good stuff happens between sessions: learning from others’ experiences, building friendships, eating great food.
girls on the plane
What an adventure for Katie Beth and me – and our dear friend Barbara, still recovering from recent spinal surgery. It was a girl’s day out like I’ve never had before! See the three of us as our plane landed back here in Florida!

My highlights from the weekend:

  • Seeing the resiliency of people who face the trials of RA and still accomplish big things!
  • Eating take-out fish tacos watching Star Wars by the fireplace with Barb, Katie Beth, & Hayley!
  • Finally meeting my dear friend Pam face to face!Happy moments at the Gathering

Meanwhile, back in our hometowns

We don’t need to be without friends who get it. We can put together little gatherings of our own. I know – it’s seems intimidating. It’s hard to do social things, much less organize them when you’re sick. But I’m convinced it’s worth it.  If you’re like me, it’s hard to set the date. I’m still hoping I’ll feel better and it will get easier… soon.

What about Saturday April 30th? Would that work for some of us? If you’re in Central Florida, we’ll set something up in the Orlando area. Let me know if you’re game to meet with another person with RA who lives near you. Maybe you can find someone through the Local RA Support page or through our Facebook group. Or maybe if you leave a flier at your rheumatologist, someone will find you that way. Arthritis Introspective is an email or phone call away and they’re always glad to help set up a new local group.The Gathering G4 group picture

The t-shirt store is having a sale this week! Here are the details they sent to us:

Coupon Code: AprilSweet
Discount: $5 off No Minimum!

Coupon Code: AprilSugar
Discount: $10 off subtotal of $50+

Coupon Code: AprilCandy
Discount: $35 off subtotal of $100+

Disclaimer: Please enter coupon code before completing checkout. Discount is applied to the base price subtotal and does not include shipping, taxes, or additional charges. May not be combined with other offers. Coupons valid from 4/21/2011 to 4/25/2011 11:59 pm MDT.

Recommended reading

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:/

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5 thoughts on “Gathering Support for RA

  • April 18, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Need a litte more notice to make it. But maybe next time! BTW, how’d those people on the floor ever get up? LOL

  • April 18, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I would love to meet others near me for coffee or a lunch!!! I am always looking to meet others. Just having someone to relate to, who can actually feel where you are coming from.
    So you can let anybody know, especially now that warmer weather is coming. During the winter in New England it’s too cold and most people in general aren’t up for gatherings. Nevermind having RA and going out in that stuff!!
    I say it would be great to have small local chapters that meet monthly and then the larger chapter meet annually. Also if people are traveling and want to attend a local chapter where they are vacationing that would great also. We could leave a special page where the groups are meeting. If you happen to vacation in that spot while a meeting is going on–COME ON!!! The more the merrier!!
    So I am in!!! Only thing is I am so isolated here on Aquidneck Island, its hard. The doctor’s office is always full!! Where are all you other RAers???

  • April 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I can be at a GTG in Orlando, April 30. Just down the road in Davenport.

  • April 26, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I would love to meet others in the same situation that I am in. If there is an Orlando meetup, I’d love to be a part of it! It really is so hard having no one who can truly relate to what I live with every day.

  • April 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Kelly, I’m in South Florida in the West Palm Beach area. If you do plan a gathering, email me! Would live to get together! I’m a mom, wife, boss, volunteer, patient with seronegative RA. Cheers!


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