After writing my What Would Rheumatoid Awareness Mean to You? blog I started thinking of some of the crazy responses I have heard when I told someone I had Rheumatoid Disease.
Most often I hear something about they have an aching joint too; that I should try some miracle cream; that I should use glucosamine; or I am asked if I use the golfer’s drug. I’ve been told I don’t look sick and that I look terrible. I once shared my diagnosis with a trainer who responded ‘getting old was a pain in the (rear).’ I decided against using her expertise.
While you have to shrug it off, it does surface a serious issue. Most people have no clue what Rheumatoid Disease is.
I decided to take a look at Charity Navigator, a site that evaluates charities. I did a comparison of fundraising for breast cancer, heart, healthy babies and arthritis (since Rheumatoid is listed as a type of arthritis). What I discovered was shocking.
In 2013, in my area (a large metropolitan city), these were the totals for the signature fundraiser event for each charity: breast cancer — $1,400,000.; heart — $2,000,000.; healthy babies — $2,900,000.; and arthritis — $150,000.
Those numbers confirm to me that people do not understand the impact of any of the hundred plus diseases that fall under the arthritis umbrella or that they do not feel arthritis is as important as other diseases. Another example to lack of education/knowledge of Rheumatoid, or other forms Arthritis, was seen when I hosted a table for arthritis at a health fair. I had little cards with simple trivia like children get arthritis, there are over 100 types of arthritis, that arthritis is the number one cause of disability and it’s not just a disease for seniors. I cannot tell you how many people told me they were unaware.
The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is an excellent resource for those with Rheumatoid Disease. Their focus is for awareness, support, advocacy and a cure. Here is one of their resources – information card about the disease. They have other brochures available.
Sunday, Feburary 2, is Rheumatoid Awareness Day.
I hope you will consider joining or donating to the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. If you make a donation before February 8, your donation will be doubled by Crescendo Bioscience. Make SuperBowl day a Super Day for those with Rheumatoid Disease!