You are browsing the archive for Exciting.

2019 Scholarship Winners

August 7, 2019 in Advocacy, Exciting, RPF News

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation was pleased to be able to continue its annual scholarship program in 2019 to support students affected by Rheumatoid Disease. This year, we awarded five $1,000 scholarships to students who either have RD themselves or who have a parent with RD. We'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who applied for our Scholarship Program. We received many wonderful essays and applications. Our judging panel has chosen our five winners this year, and we'd like to introduce each of them to you. Please join us in congratulating these five individuals as they continue their educational pursuits!

Read the rest of this entry →

2019 Scholarship Program

April 29, 2019 in Advocacy, Exciting, Important, RPF News

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of our fifth annual RPF Scholarship Program, designed to support students affected by rheumatoid disease in their higher education pursuits. This year's program will offer five $1,000 scholarships.

Rheumatoid disease can have a heavy impact on one's life in more ways than one, and we recognize the financial strain it often places on families. We also recognize that many people find that they cannot continue in their same line of work if they have persistent and progressive disease, and may need to change careers and get additional education.

It is for these reasons that we want to offer a way to support students and help to ease the financial burden of schooling. Our scholarship program is open to students of any age that are enrolled in a post-secondary educational institution -- college, university or trade school -- in the United States. Applicants must either have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis) -- or have a parent diagnosed with the disease.

Applicants will be asked to complete an application form and submit an essay in response to several prompts. All essays will be scored by a panel of judges and the five highest scorers will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship.

For more information about the RPF Scholarship Program and to download an application form, please click here.

RPF would like to thank this year's Scholarship Program sponsor, Myriad Autoimmune.

Myriad Autoimmune is passionate about impacting patient lives for the better. We are committed to providing actionable information with our molecular blood test, Vectra, to guide medical management decisions in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and improve patient outcomes. Vectra is a validated objective measure that combines 12 biomarkers, age, gender and adiposity to provide a personalized score of inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. For more information on Vectra, please visit:

Double Your Dollars with a $10,000 Matching Grant from imaware™

January 30, 2019 in Events, Exciting, Fundraiser, Important

Rheumatoid Awareness Day is just around the corner! To support our efforts to increase awareness and education for rheumatoid disease, imaware™, the first in-home test for RA, is providing a matching grant, matching your donations to RPF dollar for dollar, up to $10,000! The matching grant is opportunity is open from now until February 12, 2019. Thanks to this generous donation, you have the opportunity to double your dollars and double your impact!

RPF is on a mission to improve the lives of people with Rheumatoid Disease. imaware™ wants to help us achieve that goal by offering innovative ways for people to detect RA sooner to get earlier diagnosis and treatment. Join us in funding this important work. Your dollars will support awareness programs, such as Rheumatoid Awareness Day campaigns and billboards with rheumatoid disease public service announcements; it will support educational programs to help people with rheumatoid disease (PRD) learn how to best manage their healthcare; it will support our research efforts as we look into ways to improve patient health outcomes; and it will support all of the other programs that we run on behalf of those fighting this insidious disease.

As a supporter of RPF, you can also help to spread the word and help us take advantage of this great opportunity!

Consider a simple donation of just $19 in honor of Rheumatoid Awareness Day 2019, which will be doubled into $38!

Donate Now

All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law in the United States. For more details, visit our Financial page.

If you would rather donate by sending a paper check, send the check to the address below.

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation
18801 N Dale Mabry Hwy, PMB 25603
Lutz, FL 33548

About imaware™

imaware™ has launched a new at-home health test for rheumatoid arthritis featuring easy to use collection kits and accurate online results. imaware™ is the only at-home test available in the United States, and can provide awareness to RA even before symptoms develop. Learn more by visiting us online at

2018 Scholarship Winners

October 27, 2018 in Advocacy, Exciting, RPF News

For the past few years, the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation has run an annual scholarship program to support students affected by Rheumatoid Disease. Our goal has been to expand the program each year. This year, we have upped our Scholarship Program to award five $1,000 scholarships to students who are affected by Rheumatoid Disease. We'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who applied for our Scholarship Program. We received many wonderful essays and applications. Our judging panel has chosen our five winners this year, and we'd like to introduce each of them to you. Please join us in congratulating these five individuals!

Michelle Carrera (Miami, FL)

Michelle was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 11. Her experience with the healthcare system has made her committed to pursuing a career aimed at improving quality of care and access to care for underserved communities. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy & Management.

Lauren DeMarco (Charleston, SC)

I am from Charleston, SC and am currently a freshman at Wake Forest University. My academic interests include English, Spanish, and visual art. Outside of the classroom, I love to stay active, participate in community service, and spend time outside.

Maxwell Nelson (San Jose, CA)

Maxwell has lived most of his life in Minnesota, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Minnesota. Maxwell was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis at age 17 and has benefited from immunosuppressive drugs. He now lives in San Jose, California and attends Santa Clara University School of Law in Santa Clara, California. Maxwell plans to focus his studies on international law and public interest law.

Ashley Poolman (Hillsboro, OR)

My name is Ashley and I was diagnosed with JRA at age 13. Fast forward 9 years, I am now enrolled in a doctoral program for clinical psychology at Pacific University in Oregon. Within clinical psychology, I am studying health psychology because I am especially interested in how physical health and mental health influence each other. I am also adding an emphasis in Latinx psychology to be able to serve Spanish-speaking populations. I am grateful to the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation for letting me share my story and I hope to use my experience with arthritis to help those in similar situations.

Elizabeth Roach (Elgin, IA)



















My name is Elizabeth Roach. I have had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis since I was 14 months old. I am currently in my first year of graduate school for Child Life at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa in Therapeutic Recreation. I am really looking forward to my future working in hospitals to help children like me who have chronic illnesses as a Child Life Specialist.

Many thanks to all who applied to our Scholarship Program this year. Congratulations to this year's winners, and we look forward to seeing what your futures hold!

A special thank you to our sponsor, Crescendo Bioscience, for making this Scholarship Program possible!

Crescendo Bioscience (a subsidiary of Myriad Genetics) focuses on enabling more effective management of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases by providing quantitative, objective molecular tests and disease information services to rheumatologists and patients. Crescendo Bioscience’s current products are: Vectra® DA, the only multi-biomarker blood test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity, and MyRA, a free mobile app designed to empower people living with RA to regularly track multiple aspects of their RA and easily share the information with their physician.

Rheumatoid Disease Billboard Campaign

September 11, 2018 in Awareness, Exciting, RPF News

In 2017, RPF launched what is to our knowledge the first-ever Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign for rheumatoid disease -- utilizing donated billboard space from Lamar Advertising. Lamar has been a great media partner, participating with us in Rheumatoid Awareness Day, and helping us place longer-term PSAs on billboards throughout the country. Each of the ads may change locations within the given city as space becomes available, with each city running the ads for up to a year. Below is a list of cities that have or are running our billboard campaigns, along with some images of the ads. If you spot one of our billboards, let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram -- and if you can snap a photo, even better! We'd love to hear your feedback and are excited to have this opportunity to bring awareness to the public through this program. RPF uses donated photos from actual rheumatoid patients in all of its ads. If you'd like a chance to be featured on one of our billboards, click here to donate a photo!


Milwaukee, WI -- 2019-2020

Reno, NV -- 2019-2020

Detroit, MI -- 2019-2020

Lancaster, PA -- 2018-2019

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Billboard for Rheumatoid Disease - Public Service Announcement Lancaster Pennsylvania

Dallas, TX -- 2018-2019

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Billboard for Rheumatoid Disease - Public Service Announcement Dallas Texas


Boise, ID -- 2018-2019

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Billboard for Rheumatoid Disease - Public Service Announcement Boise Idaho

Chicago, IL -- 2017-2018

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Billboard for Rheumatoid Disease - Public Service Announcement Chicago Illinois

Orlando, FL -- 2017-2018

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Billboard for Rheumatoid Disease - Public Service Announcement Orlando Florida

Seattle -- 2017-2018

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Billboard for Rheumatoid Disease - Public Service Announcement Seattle Washington

Kansas City -- 2017-2018

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Billboard for Rheumatoid Disease - Public Service Announcement Kansas City

2018 Scholarship Program is Open!

May 3, 2018 in Exciting, Important, RPF News

We are pleased to announce the opening of our 2018 Scholarship Program. This is the fourth year that we have offered this program as a way to support students who have Rheumatoid Disease (RD) or whose parent has RD. We recognize that beyond the physical, mental and emotional hardship of rheumatoid disease, there is also often a financial toll placed on people with RD due to the expenses of continuous care and treatment, as well as potential disability and loss of income. RPF’s scholarship program helps to support and meet the financial needs of students as they pursue higher education. This year's program has been expanded to include five $1,000 scholarship awards! Visit our Scholarship Program page for full details and to download an application. This year's submission deadline is June 30, 2018.

Click here to read about last year's scholarship winners!


This year's scholarship program is made possible through a corporate sponsorship from Crescendo Bioscience.
Crescendo Bioscience focuses on enabling more effective management of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases by providing quantitative, objective molecular tests (such as Vectra® DA) and disease information services to rheumatologists and patients. Vectra® DA is the only multi-biomarker blood test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease activity.

Lamar Advertising Partnering with Rheumatoid Patient Foundation in Support of Rheumatoid Awareness Day

January 23, 2018 in Awareness, Exciting, Press Release, RPF News


Outdoor Advertising Company Donating Billboards to Help Organization Raise Awareness and Spur Greater Funding and Research


Baton Rouge, LA – January 23, 2018 – Lamar Advertising Company (Nasdaq: LAMR), one of the largest out of home media companies in the world, is supporting Rheumatoid Awareness Day through the donation of more than 200 billboards in 29 states across the country which will feature messaging designed to raise awareness of this life-shortening disease. Taking place on February 2nd, Rheumatoid Awareness Day is designed to address the lack of awareness for rheumatoid disease, a crippling affliction affecting millions. Lamar’s involvement in the effort was initiated by one of its own employees suffering from the disease.

“As a medium, outdoor advertising has tremendous power to drive awareness of important issues and inspire action,” said Barbara Campbell, real estate manager at Lamar Advertising of Milwaukee. “Two million Americans like me suffer from this progressive disease. We are proud to support the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation and join with many of their partners to mark the day and help bolster education efforts that hopefully will lead to earlier diagnoses and better treatments.”

Rheumatoid Awareness Day was created in 2013 to, in part, generate support for increases in much-needed funding for crucial research toward effective treatments and a cure. Rheumatoid Arthritis currently receives only 8% of government funding per patient of comparable diseases. In years past, the organization has primarily used digital channels to spread its message. This year, Lamar is making selected billboards in high-trafficked locations available to help the organization reach a wider and more captive audience.
“We are so grateful for this partnership with Lamar Advertising, which has allowed us to broaden our rheumatoid disease awareness efforts across the country,” said Dana Symons, Vice President of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. “Our community has responded with tremendous enthusiasm to the billboards as they help bring this misunderstood and often invisible illness into the public light.”

The billboard creative, designed by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, features the faces of actual rheumatoid disease patients who have donated their photos for awareness purposes. The campaign began earlier this month and will culminate on February 2nd.

About Lamar Advertising Company
Founded in 1902, Lamar Advertising Company (Nasdaq: LAMR) is one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the world, with more than 340,000 displays across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Lamar offers advertisers a variety of billboard, interstate logo and transit advertising formats, helping both local businesses and national brands reach broad audiences every day. In addition to its more traditional out-of-home inventory, Lamar is proud to offer its customers the largest network of digital billboards in the United States with over 2,800 displays. Please feel free to explore our website or contact us at for additional information.

About the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation
The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with rheumatoid disease. RPF was founded in 2011 to address a significant lack of disease education, comparatively low levels of research funding, and difficulty obtaining adequate treatment. RPF is committed to creating pathways to better clinical care and disease outcomes through education, awareness, and patient-centered research. For more information, visit or follow RPF on Facebook or Twitter.

Press Contacts:

Greg Kalish
GK Communications
(917) 592-1942

Allie McAlpin
Communications Director, Lamar Advertising Company
(225) 926-1000

Dana Symons
Vice President, Rheumatoid Patient Foundation
(616) 443-1998

Billboards for Rheumatoid Awareness Day

December 18, 2017 in Advocacy, Awareness, Exciting, RPF News

Rheumatoid Awareness Day is February 2nd! This year, we are doing something BIG. Really, big. I'm talking rheumatoid awareness messaging in HUGE letters on billboards across the country! Early in 2017, we launched the first ever Public Service Announcement campaign for rheumatoid disease through the help of Lamar Advertising. Through that program we have placed physical billboards in several major cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Orlando, Kansas City and Seattle. The billboards are run on donated space from Lamar, so that all we have to pay for is the printing cost to get our messaging onto the vinyl. The printed vinyls are good for about a year and will go up and down around these cities as space becomes available.

However, with this being the digital age, we are now also in the world of digital billboards. Besides running our PSAs throughout the year, Lamar has already gotten commitments from over 40 different cities to run digital billboards supporting Rheumatoid Awareness Day, in nearly 200 digital billboard locations. Phoenix and Kansas City also started running digital awareness ads for us. Check out the images below that are running and will be running across the country. We'll also post a list of participating cities below and update that as more are added. A huge thank you to Lamar Advertising (especially Barbara who has coordinated all of this for us). If your city is listed below, be sure to thank your local Lamar office for their support!

Want YOUR face to be featured on a billboard? All of the images we use are donated photos from actual rheumatoid patients. Click here to donate your photos for RPF's use.







Abilene, TX
Amarillo, TX
Arlington, TX
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Beaumont, TX
Billings, MT
Boston, MA
Bridgeport, WV
Bristol, TN
Brownsville, TX
Brownwood, TX
Cape Cod, MA
Cedar Rapids, IA
Central OH
Cleveland, OH
College Station, TX
Columbus, MS
Corpus Christi, TX
Dallas, TX
Dayton, OH
Daytona Beach, FL
Decatur, IL
Des Moines, IA
East Missouri, MO
Green Bay, WI
Hammond, LA
Harrisburg, PA
Hannibal, MO
Indianapolis, IN
Jackson, MS
Johnson City, TN
Kingsport, TN
Lake Charles, LA
Lancaster, CA
Laredo, TX
Las Vegas, NV
Lexington, KY
Los Angeles, CA
Lubbock, TX
Madison, WI
Midland, TX
Milwaukee, WI
Mobile, AL
Monroe, LA
New Hampshire
New Mexico/El Paso
New York, NY
Ocala, FL
Odessa, TX
Oklahoma City, OK
Omaha, NE
Phoenix, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
Providence, RI
Rapid City, SD
Rockford, IL
Rocky Mount, NC
Salem, OR
San Angelo, TX
Temple, TX
Toledo, OH
Topeka, KS
Tulsa, OK
Tyler, TX
Victoria, TX
York/Lancaster, PA

2017 RPF Scholarship Winners

September 30, 2017 in Exciting, RPF News

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is pleased to announce this year's scholarship winners! We received many well-written essays and applications, but have chosen four winners to each receive a $1,000 scholarship to use toward their higher education. Thanks to all who took the time to apply -- we wish you all the best of luck in your educational and vocational pursuits. Also, a special thanks to this year's scholarship sponsor: Crescendo Bioscience!

2017 Scholarship Winners:

Ellis Hamabuchi (Fort Lee, NJ)

At eight years old, I was a ballet dancer, black belt in karate, violin player, swimmer, gymnast, and basketball player. At age nine, I was just an arthritic. Today, I am eighteen years old, and I am still an arthritic, but I am also an entrepreneur, leader, and advocate for Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!








Carley Jones (Lodi, CA)

I am 24 years old in my first year of veterinary school where I hope to develop a career in shelter medicine and wildlife research. I was diagnosed with JRA at the age of 12, but have been fortunately in remission for the last few years. In my free-time I enjoy snorkeling, yoga, and hiking with my 5 year old Catahoula Hound, Rueski.







Claire Kennedy (Bozeman, MT)

"The quieter you become, the more you can hear."--Anonymous
I am a third year college student pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Community Health. My main focus with this degree is to bring awareness and support to the chronic disease community. I have watched my mother struggle with Rheumatoid arthritis for as long as I can remember, and it has propelled me into this healthcare field. Thank you to the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation for this opportunity, and for providing hope to those afflicted by this condition.








Rachel Sauls (Chapel Hill, NC)

Rachel Sauls is a sophomore transfer student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her major is Global Studies, with a focus in Global Health, and her minors are Literature, Medicine, & Culture and Medical Anthropology. Rachel has been living with rheumatoid disease since the age of eleven, and is passionate about increasing accessibility, promoting empathy, and making space for health narratives. She hopes to work with children and teenagers with chronic illnesses in the future as a social worker, hospital chaplain, or professional advocate.

Skydive Fundraiser Success & Follow-Up Interview

September 17, 2017 in Events, Exciting, Fundraiser, Interviews, Patient Input

As you may recall, Rheumatoid Patient Foundation member, Anja Gilmour, set out to do a charity skydive benefitting RPF earlier this year. Through her fundraising efforts, she was able to raise over $2,600 for RPF! Way to go, Anja! The skydive took place in England in August, and you can view a video of her jump below. After the fundraiser was over, we wanted to do a follow-up interview with Anja to hear more about her experience in organizing a fundraiser, and as a way to offer some encouragement and advice for anyone else who is interested in setting up their own fundraising event. Check out Anja's skydive video and interview below!

First, tell us about your experience of doing another skydive -- but this time at 15,000 feet. Was it scary? Fun? Both?

I guess you could say a little of both. But, as I had done this last year (though at 10,000 feet), I knew what to expect so I was probably more excited. I was also really excited about not only having my instructor recording the experience via his wrist cam, but having a photographer jump out with us to take footage from another vantage point. Free falling at 125mph and having another person (the photographer) come so close to you that you could touch him was amazing! I do remember, though, that when the plane kept climbing and climbing before it was time to exit, I was thinking "okay, I think we must be at 15,000 feet already!" It's a long way up! Another special experience on that day was that there were many clouds so far below us that it definitely gave me a different and even more beautiful perspective during the free fall. The company I jump with in the UK, GoSkydive, made this experience so wonderful for me as they did last year. They are very professional, supportive of people who are jumping for a cause and are fantastic in making you feel safe, secure and confident. The same instructors and personnel were there as last year which is a sign that they must be doing something right and you can definitely see that on the faces of people who had just done a jump!

What were some of the challenges you faced in running a fundraiser?

Well, when you work full time, are having periodic problems coping with your RD, and are trying to be successful at a fundraiser, it can be challenging. I worked very hard for this fundraiser but can honestly say, I would do it again without hesitation! Though I'm average at using the computer (but primarily for my bookkeeping business), I had to learn more about social media, how to do a website, etc., and find different ways to keep people interested and engaged. Another challenge was fundraising for two different charities in two different countries, though both having the same goal for Rheumatoid Disease issues. I ran into many roadblocks trying to use the usual fundraising tools such as JustFundMe, GlobalGiving, GoFundMe, Crowdfunding, etc., as I could not get any of them to work with me in having two different entities in two countries. It was quite frustrating. So because of this, I ended up directing individuals who wanted to donate to each charity's donating page, and found that many people had a hard time navigating this via internet, which is something you don't want a potential contributor to have a problem with.

What was the most fun part about doing a fundraiser?

Getting to know you, learn more about RPF, the people of the UK organization, NRAS, and being so excited that I found both organizations to fundraise for, and to see that there are a lot of people trying to get more awareness out there about this very misunderstood disease. It was also a "buzz" for me to hear when someone wanted to contribute (or did contribute) to a cause that is so important to me. Also, if I can be selfish here, doing the actual skydive was such a thrill for me! There was a brief moment during my free fall that I thought "Wow, I'm doing this for my fundraiser and how wonderful!" I am really hooked on skydiving now, though my husband thinks I need therapy! But, as one of my friends so correctly said the other day, "no, I think skydiving IS your therapy!" I am already making plans for my next jump in 2018.

What kinds of reactions did you get from people when you told them you were going to do a skydive to bring awareness to rheumatoid disease?

The reactions were all positive. I do have to say my rheumatologist and spinal surgeon think I'm nuts (I'll have had a spinal fusion after this blog is posted!), though both approved me doing the jump. My family and friends were very excited that I was going to do this and were proud of me and let me know that doing it for a cause I cared about and that affects me greatly was truly a wonderful thing. I didn't get one negative comment and felt very fortunate for all the support. My biggest supporter was my husband, Alastair. He never complained once how much time I spent on the fundraiser and was such an emotional strength to me during times of difficulties, whether there were problems with some of the fundraising aspects that I spoke to him about, or having issues with dealing with my RD, but most importantly, supporting me in my love for skydiving.

What unique experiences and opportunities did you come across as a result of doing this fundraiser?

Oh my goodness, there were so many. First and foremost, I think that this fundraiser actually benefited me more than anything else. It got me in contact with people who also suffer from this disease and helped me feel that I was not alone in dealing with it. Though I have tremendous support from friends, family and my doctors, if you don't have RD that's been pretty aggressive and hard to manage such as mine, you really can't understand the daily challenges. As your new campaign of billboards is going up around the country, it is true what they say on them: RD is "An Invisible Disease". We who suffer from this disease may "appear" to be just fine at times when we really aren't. And, I think that many of us have learned how to "hide" our symptoms, which actually we shouldn't do. Through this fundraiser I have finally learned not to "pretend" I'm okay when someone asks, "how are you doing today?" If my day is bad, I'll now say, "I'm not doing so RD is acting up terribly". And now when I say that, I don't feel guilty anymore. It's actually been liberating and nothing to be ashamed of.

What would you change in your strategy or process if you did another fundraiser in the future?

That is probably one of the hardest questions! I really don't know what I'd do differently. I tried very hard to get local media involved, UK media involved and it proved to be very unsuccessful. And this was a disappointment. Though, saying that, I currently have a local health show news person that is very interested in this story and would like to do a segment! Maybe one thing I would change would be to have more people helping me as I did this all on my own, and that was quite exhausting. But, I feel I did the job I set out to do and am pleased with the results.

What advice would you give to someone else who is interested in organizing a fundraiser?

Make sure you are doing a fundraiser for a cause you truly believe in, because people will see your passion and desire to do something good. Make sure to go into it 150% and nothing less. I think passion is the key word here. You must be passionate about fundraising for a cause. And you must do something along with the fundraising that you thoroughly enjoy to get people interested and for you to enjoy along the way, e.g., me skydiving.

Thank you, Anja, for all your hard work in bringing rheumatoid disease awareness to new heights! If YOU are interested in starting your own fundraising event, please contact us!