When someone with rheumatoid arthritis is surrounded by people determined to live above the illness, an interesting thing happens.

The person embraces this challenge. Connects more. Smiles more. Reaches for newer paths. Holds their care circle—family, friends, treatment team—tighter. Maybe even shares what they’ve learned with others taking their first steps along this journey.

The RA Guy Foundation strengthens these circles of support. And that makes all the difference in the world.

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Learning to live with and adapt to a chronic illness is a challenge. But it can be done. Accept your feelings—and talk about them. Stay active. Eat smart. Stick with a treatment plan that works for you. Hold on to the things that make you happy. And find and celebrate the hidden gifts this illness has given you.

—de Ridder, et al. Psychological Adjustment to Chronic Disease. Lancet. 2008

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We all have stories of how this illness has impacted us—and how we rose above the challenge. What’s your story?

Describe a time when you felt most triumphant/empowered by the illness. Strangely, I think my most triumphant accomplishment with RA has also been the source of some of my darkest moments—and that has been achieving our dream of starting a family. For me, the path to motherhood with RA was long, dark, and very lonely. I didn’t feel like I had any resources to rely on or anyone to turn to who understood the particular challenges I was facing. But I made it—and I now have two amazing little boys! And now I want to share my story so that others who are on this journey will realize that they aren’t alone.

Mariah Leach blogs at From This Point. Forward.


Every dollar donated online goes directly to our programs to support people living with rheumatoid arthritis.