Static Image
2020 Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat: Key Takeaways From 20 Years of Advocacy

2020 Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat: Key Takeaways From 20 Years of Advocacy

Advocacy Champions joined Advocacy staff online for the first Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat on March 10, 2020. Volunteers developed the entire program before COVID-19 made an in-person event unsafe. They designed keynotes, breakout sessions and “how to” advocacy posters in order to teach one another about advocacy leadership. Keeping programming true to the volunteer leaders’ plans while switching to a staff-run webcast was a unique challenge. Many organizations cancelled their conferences, but volunteers had worked too hard for the Arthritis Foundation to call it quits. As Staci Penner put it, “Even Coronavirus can’t stop advocacy for arthritis!” With the input and ...more
2020 Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat : The Power of Presence

2020 Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat : The Power of Presence

I was full of nerves and excitement a year ago when my son and I traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend an Advocacy Summit. My son decided to become an Arthritis Foundation Junior Ambassador, and to support him I signed up as an Ambassador. I had no idea what to expect, but I was hoping to help my son find his voice. The funny thing was, I found mine. This year the Arthritis Foundation awarded me the distinction of Platinum Ambassador and I was invited to Washington, D.C for an Advocacy Leadership Retreat. The nerves and excitement returned, but I was ...more
It’s Easy to Walk With Ease

It’s Easy to Walk With Ease

My name is Steven Schultz, and I’m the state director for advocacy and access at the Arthritis Foundation. Last fall, I had the great pleasure of joining Rep. Ami Bera, who represents the Sacramento area in Congress, for a Walk With Ease session. Walk With Ease teaches participants how to safely make physical activity part of their everyday life. Studies by the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and the Institute on Aging at the University of North Carolina show that Walk With Ease is proven to reduce the pain and discomfort of arthritis; increase balance, strength and walking pace; build confidence in ...more
Teen Fighting JA Says Knowledge Is Power

Teen Fighting JA Says Knowledge Is Power

When Britney Gifford started complaining about aches and inflammation in her arms, legs and knees at the age of 5, her pediatrician assured her parents it was just growing pains — after all, she was one of the tallest kids in her class. As she grew older and showed zero interest in athletics, her parents assumed it was because she just had different hobbies and interests. By the time Britney was 10, she frequently told her parents about consistent pain in her ankles, knees and wrists. Again, they just believed she was growing and would give her ibuprofen. At 13, after ...more
2020 Arthritis Advocacy Leadership Retreat: What It Means for You

2020 Arthritis Advocacy Leadership Retreat: What It Means for You

Earlier this week, nearly 100 of the Arthritis Foundation’s most committed Advocates and Ambassadors tuned in to our Virtual Advocacy Leadership Retreat. Coronavirus stopped us from gathering in person. But it couldn’t stop us from unleashing the power of our Advocates to influence members of Congress from afar. Between our action alert urging members of Congress to support full funding for arthritis programs and our Virtual Advocacy Day, we know our impact was felt. It came through loud and clear in seeing members of Congress supporting our legislative asks. One member of Congress even recognized an Arthritis Advocate in a speech ...more
A Mother’s Fight to Free Her Son From Pain

A Mother’s Fight to Free Her Son From Pain

By Kristine DiDesidero, Mount Sinai, New York I remember the pain as a child. I complained to my mom about pain in my legs. Some nights I cried myself to sleep. My mom took me everywhere for answers. The doctors told her I had growing pains. I am 4 feet, 11 inches, and stopped growing in fifth grade. The reality is that I’ve spent most of my life with what I now know as a variety of autoimmune diseases.At 24, recently married, I became ill and was hospitalized. The doctors said they thought Ihad fibromyalgia. Over the years, I’ve also battled ...more
Introducing the 2020 Juvenile Arthritis Conference Theme: Family Reunion, Stronger Together

Introducing the 2020 Juvenile Arthritis Conference Theme: Family Reunion, Stronger Together

Do you live with juvenile arthritis? Then you’re part of our extended family! In 2020, we’ll celebrate connections and spend quality time together at a Family Reunion like no other. From across the country, at one EPIC event, JA families will gather to draw strength from each other and become more powerful than ever. For long-timers and newcomers alike, the National JA Conference is the place to be for fun in the summertime!We are thrilled to announce the 2020 National Juvenile Arthritis Conference theme: Family Reunion, Stronger Together. A family reunion represents the awe-inspiring strength shown by the children, families, and caregivers ...more

The Fight for Step Therapy Reform is Personal

Advocacy in Action. What a great day spent with the Arthritis Foundation at the Tennessee State Capitol! On Tuesday, February 4th, my girls and I participated in our first Arthritis Advocacy event. We were there to talk about the TN Step Therapy Reform bills, HB 1866 and SB 1935. This was a great experience for me and I’m so glad I was able to share the experience with my kids. We are already looking forward to returning to the capitol in the future to continue educating and sharing the experiences of arthritis patients with our Representatives! Before we arrived at the ...more
2020 WTCA Youth National Honorees

2020 WTCA Youth National Honorees

Conner, Ryan and Brayden Sowa The Sowa family’s journey with arthritis started years ago when Ryan, the middle brother, was diagnosed. Starting at 15 months old, Ryan would get random fevers and unexplained rashes, eventually leading to abdominal and joint pain. There were days he couldn’t even walk. Ryan went through a lot of testing and treatments, resulting in unanswered questions and misdiagnoses. It wasn’t until he was a month away from being able to play football that he was finally seen by a rheumatologist. Ryan had looked forward to playing football for many years after watching his older brother play. The day ...more
People Before Politics: Congress Must Solve Surprise Medical Billing

People Before Politics: Congress Must Solve Surprise Medical Billing

When it comes to medical billing, transparency is vital. Individuals undergoing an emergency procedure or surgery often face heavy financial burdens through co-payments and deductibles alone; the stress and anxiety of recovering both physically and mentally from a medical issue already takes a tremendous toll. The last thing a patient needs or wants to deal with when recovering is an unexpected medical bill. Balance billing occurs when a health care provider bills a patient for the difference (the balance) between the provider’s charge for a service and the insurance plan’s payment for the service. The term “surprise medical bill” is used ...more