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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:

The Importance of Early RA Diagnosis

February 22, 2019 in Advocacy, Education, Important

By Kelly O'Neill Young, RPF Founder & President

I’ve been a passionate advocate of early RA diagnosis for over a decade. One of the first articles I wrote for a medical website urged doctors to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA) / rheumatoid disease (RD) earlier by looking outside of the proverbial box of arthritis in the hands. Why was I so convinced about the importance of early RA diagnosis?

As we mark the 7th Rheumatoid Awareness Day, February 2, it’s important to remember why early diagnosis is key to the mission of RPF—improving the lives of  (PRD) living with RD. That’s why RPF is excited to partner with imaware™, a new at-home test for RA.

Read the rest of this entry →

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 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.

A Rheumatoid Arthritis Plateau of Complacency?

November 19, 2017 in Advocacy, Important

by Dana Symons

I attended the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Meeting for the fifth time this year. This is special, because it meant that I got a neat little ribbon for the bottom of my name badge. It's also special because it means that I have had this amazing opportunity five times -- to convene with rheumatology experts from around the globe to hear about the latest research, the newest treatments and clinical practices.

I first attended the ACR Annual Meeting in Chicago in 2011, as a part of the first exhibit booth put on by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling I had the first time I met with doctors and researchers and industry professionals and other rheumatoid patients face to face as we discussed our mutual goals of earlier diagnosis, improved awareness, better treatments (even a cure!) and enhanced patient care. As I stood with doctors from Germany, India, Ireland and Columbia who I had known only from Twitter, it was surreal. It was also the first time I got to meet our very own RA Warrior, Kelly Young, in person. Since then, I have attended the ACR events in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 -- each one making a profound impact on my view of rheumatoid disease (RD) and what changes need to happen to improve the lives of patients.


"Tweet-Up" at my first ACR in 2011 -- made a profound impact!

Over the past couple of years at ACR, I seemed to notice a trend. There are tons of scientific sessions discussing a multitude of topics that affect those practicing in the field of rheumatology. However, it seemed that there were fewer talks being given specifically on rheumatoid arthritis. Perhaps that's just my perception and I'm wrong -- I did not make any attempt to categorize and count the sessions over multiple years! Perhaps it's because we had several years in a row with big news -- new drugs coming to market, new biomarkers being discovered, new recommended guidelines from the ACR, including diagnostic criteria and Treat to Target initiatives -- followed by years with less news. Sure, there are biosimilars and a few new drugs in the works, but nothing seems completely novel. There was certainly still a plethora of research, but, still, the emphasis and enthusiasm for progress with this disease did not seem to be there. Perhaps everyone is just waiting for the "next big thing." For whatever reason, to me there seems to be a sort of plateau. And plateaus are dangerous.

It's the serious weight loss regime that can't get you past the first five pounds. It's the career progress that suddenly halts at a dead end job. It's the relationship that blossoms, and then grows stale. And, speaking from experience, sometimes, it's as far as getting 2/3 up the mountain you wanted to climb, past the miles of steep winding switchbacks -- into the lower basin. While pretty, with its streams and waterfalls, and tempting with its flat path for easy walking -- if you stop at this plateau and don't keep going, you will never reach the pinnacle – you will stay on the plateau of complacency and never know that which is truly spectacular.

This is the view you miss when you don’t push yourself to the peak!

A plateau means you've made progress, but you haven't reached the end.

There has been significant progress in treating RA / RD in the past decade or two. Biologic medications have been a game changer for many. New treatments targeting different pathways, new biomarkers indicating disease activity and helping diagnostic and prognostic efforts and a shift toward more patient-centric care are all very positive things. However, there remains a large portion of people with rheumatoid disease (PRD) that is unresponsive to any available treatment, and the mortality gap still exists. Just because we have made progress, it doesn't mean it's time to stop and call things "good enough." Just because some patients are doing well who would not have been 20-30 years ago, doesn't mean we ignore the patients who still are not doing well.

There is a pervasive sense that, on average PRD are doing well, and we can all put our feet up and relax a bit. The problem with that thinking is that there is no "average" patient. The statistical mean of a group of people may be helpful for exhibiting overarching trends, but is not helpful to an individual. It does not address the concerns of a single person, who may, in fact, not be doing well. We still have a long ways to go in rheumatology, with yet a poor understanding of how the disease even develops, functions and evolves. Until we are able to understand this disease better, to screen and diagnose early, to universally recognize and treat the systemic nature of RD -- we will never be close to being done. I say "we" because I mean all of us: patients, caregivers, doctors, nurses, researchers, pharmaceutical and biotech companies...we all play a role in advocating for better research funding and proper attention to this cruel disease. I am here to remind you that we are not done. Now is not the time to give up. Now is not the time to plateau. Now is the time to build upon the momentum that we have and continue to fight until we live in a world where no one suffers from rheumatoid disease.

Letter Writing Campaign to Vice President Pence

February 1, 2017 in Advocacy, Important

Mike Pence rheumatoid patient foundation fundraiser

Mrs. Karen Pence, then Governor Mike Pence and Mayor Kristen Brown (of Columbus, IN) at RPF Fundraiser in 2013.

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation has started a petition to get a national proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day. Click here to read and sign the petition. A national proclamation has to be made by the President of the United States. However, we are asking people to join in a letter campaign to Vice President, Mike Pence, to help get the President's attention. VP Pence has a personal connection to rheumatoid disease, as one of his relatives lives with RD. Mike Pence (then Governor of Indiana), along with his wife, attended an RPF fundraising event in 2013 put on by Kim Pence on be half of her daughter, Kelsey Pence Russo.

Since we already know that Vice President Pence is familiar with rheumatoid disease and has already shown dedicating to promoting awareness, we are aiming to have him become a champion for our Rheumatoid Awareness Day petition. As someone with access to and influential with the President, he's an ideal person to have take up our cause.

Please consider e-mailing Mike Pence through the website. Select "Reflections for the Vice President" under "Message Type" and tell Vice President Pence why you think it's so important that we get a national proclamation for February 2nd as Rheumatoid Awareness Day. To help get you started, we've included a sample letter below that you are welcome to use. We also encourage you to make it personal and share why this is so important to YOU.

Together, we can help bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows!

E-mail Vice President Pence


Dear Vice President Pence,

In 2011, the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation was established as the first non-profit organization in the United States solely focused on improving the lives of people with Rheumatoid Disease. Two years later, Rheumatoid Awareness Day was established as February 2nd by that same foundation. While several cities and localities have issued official proclamations, we are still lacking a national proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day in the United States.

Rheumatoid Disease (also known as Rheumatoid Arthritis) is a progressive inflammatory disease causing damage to joint and organ tissues, resulting in severe pain, frequent disability and increased mortality. Because the disease is commonly presumed to be a type of arthritis, proper support is lacking, causing problems with disability accommodations, clinical care, healthcare reimbursement and research funding.

This year, the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is petitioning the President of the United States to issue a National Proclamation declaring February 2nd as Rheumatoid Awareness Day. A nationally recognized Awareness Day would serve as an annual platform to educate people about the disease -- including patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and the general public. Education and awareness are crucial to bringing about better clinical care, increased research funding and improved disease outcomes.

You have shown support for the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation and rheumatoid disease awareness in the past by participating in the fundraising race event with Kelsey Pence Russo in 2013. I hope that we can count on your continued support and ask that you would personally speak to the President and encourage him to issue a National Proclamation establishing February 2nd as Rheumatoid Awareness Day.

You can view the petition we have started at the following web address:

More information can be found at the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation website:

On behalf of myself and the millions of others who have fought the crippling pain and damage of rheumatoid disease, I thank you in advance for anything you can do to help us increase awareness and bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows.

[Your Name Here]

Rheumatoid Awareness Day 2017: Proclaiming Awareness

February 1, 2017 in Advocacy, Events, Exciting, Important

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day February 2nd

Today marks the 5th annual Rheumatoid Awareness Day as established by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation in 2013, giving people with the chronic illness known as rheumatoid arthritis, or rheumatoid disease, a day of recognition. Because the disease is commonly presumed to be a type of arthritis, awareness is lacking, causing problems with disability accommodations, clinical care, healthcare reimbursement and research funding.

RPF has put together a list of ways that you can get involved, in addition to a myriad of awareness images you can find on our website or on Facebook, that are perfect for sharing and educating others through social media. This year, however, we have a big way that we can all work together to make a difference and help bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows.

Proclaiming Awareness: Petition for a National Proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation has started a petition to get a national proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day. Several of our volunteers have already gotten proclamations made from their cities and localities. This year, we are petitioning to have February 2nd proclaimed as Rheumatoid Awareness Day at the federal level. Add your voice! Click below to read and sign the petition.

Add Your Voice - Sign the Petition

In addition to signing the petition, we are also asking people to write a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, encouraging him to get the President's attention on this matter. Vice President Pence has a relative with rheumatoid disease, and has himself participated in a fundraising event for the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation back in 2013. Due to this personal connection, we will be asking Vice President Pence to help push through our petition for a national proclamation. If you'd like to send him a letter yourself, we've created a sample letter that you can work from. Click here to view the sample and click below to send Vice President Pence a letter asking him to support the national proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day.

E-mail Vice President Pence

Bring Rheumatoid Disease Out of the Shadows

Help us bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows. Here are some other ways that you can help get the attention of the White House and encourage others to get involved:

    • Write a physical letter to the President and/or Vice President
    • Call the President: You can leave comments at 202-456-1111 or reach the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414.
    • Tweet a note to Mike Pence (@VP) or Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump or @POTUS) - encouraging them to support the petition and proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day
    • Share the petition with those you know via email or social media


Together, we can work to bring rheumatoid disease out of the shadows and into the spotlight for greater awareness and understanding. Together, we can do more.

by KatieB

Donate Blood to RA Research – Get $50 and a Donation to RPF!

January 30, 2015 in Important

One of the goals of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is to contribute to and promote scientific discovery that leads to a cure. Here's one simple way that you can get involved to help accelerate research and perhaps get us one step closer to that ultimate goal of a cure.

Sign up to give a simple, one-time blood donation for RA research, and you can earn $50 for your time plus a $25 donation to a non-profit organization of your choosing (including RPF!).

Rheumatoid Arthritis Research - Donate BloodHere's how it works:

1. Sign-up via this link to volunteer to donate blood for preclinical RA research.

2. Sanguine Biosciences will contact you for additional information. If you meet the current study criteria they will schedule a simple 79mL blood draw. The best part? It can be done from the comfort of your own home at a time that's convenient for you!

3. You will receive $50 for your donation, and you can select a non-profit organization to receive an additional $25 donation.

4. Your blood sample will be sent to a biomedical research group to be used in a preclinical rheumatoid arthritis study.

Sign Up Now!

In the current study, researchers will be studying blood samples divided into three cohorts based on responsiveness to specific treatment types (Non-responsive to methotrexate; Non-responsive to anti-TNF treatment; and Responsive to anti-TNF treatment). If you don't qualify for the current study, Sanguine Biosciences will keep your information on file and contact you when they have a study that's a match for you. Please note, you must be 18 years or older to donate, and you must live within the specified geographies on the sign-up page.

Visit the Sanguine Biosciences website to learn more about the company and the donation process.

by KatieB

15 Ways to Spread Rheumatoid Awareness in 2015

January 22, 2015 in Advocacy, Events, Important

by Dana Symons

rheumatoid arthritis disease awareness - indigo and gold colorsIn honor of the New Year and the upcoming annual Rheumatoid Awareness Day, I'd like to challenge everyone with 15 ways YOU can help spread awareness of Rheumatoid Disease in 2015. Get involved in time for Rheumatoid Awareness Day on February 2nd, and see how many of these you can complete by the end of the year!

1. Share Awareness Images on Social Media
We've created a whole gallery of images that you can share to spread awareness just through your social media profiles. Share an image on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Click here to choose from any of ours, or create your own!

2. Sport Awareness Gear or Colors
Visit our store to pick up awareness merchandise for Rheumatoid Awareness Day or all year round! Or, simply put in Indigo and Gold in support of Rheumatoid Disease. RPF Members -- don't forget to wear your pins!

3. Add a Twibbon to your Social Media Avatars
Click here to add a virtual Rheumatoid Disease awareness ribbon to your social media avatars through the Twibbon website.

4. Change your Facebook Cover Photo
Use one of our Facebook Cover images to help spread awareness, or create your own image!

5. Join #Rheum Chat - Special Chat to be Hosted February 1st at 3pm!
Follow the hashtag #rheum on Twitter to join in conversation about rheumatoid disease with other patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and industry professionals. It's a great spot to connect with others for encouragement and asking questions! Join us for a special #rheum chat prior to Rheumatoid Awareness day -- on Sunday, February 1st at 3pm. Click here for details.

6. Hand Out Awareness Cards
RPF Members may have received some Awareness Cards in their membership kits, but we also have a digital version that you can print out or share online. These few simple facts about Rheumatoid Disease can help set the record straight! Keep one in your purse or wallet as an easy reference when somebody asks you about RD. Click here to download a PDF.

7. Get an Official Proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day in your Locality
Several RPF Members have already worked with their local governments to get an official proclamation for Rheumatoid Awareness Day on February 2nd. This can make a big impact on a community and may even attract the attention of local press. Read stories from other patient advocates here and here, or click here to get tips on how to be an advocate.

8. Tell Your Story
Your own story is so important. Sharing your experience with Rheumatoid Disease and how it has affected your life can go a long ways to create awareness and understanding of this illness. If you want to take it a step further, share your story online -- contact us and we'll post your story on our blog!

9. Become a Member
Become a Member of RPF and help support our mission of improving the lives of people with Rheumatoid Disease. Your support helps us extend our reach!

10. Support our Partners
Several individuals and corporations have teamed up with RPF to offer additional support through corporate donations or by donating a portion of merchandise sales. Visit our Partners page to learn more.

11. Create a 15 Second Awareness Video
This year, for Rheumatoid Awareness Day, we are encouraging individuals to shoot a simple 15 second video telling the world why we need a cure for Rheumatoid Disease. Post the video online and ask your friends and family to share it -- or create their own! Read more about the Rheumatoid Awareness Video Challenge here.

12. Educate Yourself to Better Educate Others
Keeping sharp on your own knowledge of Rheumatoid Disease is one of the best ways that you can spread awareness and accurate information to others. Click here for a list of key resources to learn more.

13. Host a Fundraiser
Use your creativity to plan and host a unique fundraising event! RPF members have done fundraising through selling merchandise, doing a race and even a paddle boarding event! The sky is the limit -- create an event that suits you and your friends and family. Contact us with your idea, and RPF will help you promote and support the event.

14. Donate a Photo
As RPF creates new images and publications, we are always looking for patient photos to use instead of stock images. We want to show the true faces of Rheumatoid Disease. Consider donating a photo for use by RPF. Click here to donate.

15. Plan Your Own Rheumatoid Awareness Day Celebration
There's not much to celebrate as relates to Rheumatoid Disease, but awareness and public education is something to get excited about! Host your own Awareness Day event and do something fun. Click here to send us photos and a description of your celebration and we'll post it on our blog!

There you have it. 15 ways to get involved and spread awareness for Rheumatoid Disease in 2015! Each of us has a sphere of influence. Combined, we have the ability to reach so many people with the truth of Rheumatoid Disease in order to create a better understanding of what people with Rheumatoid Disease live with, to boost research funding, to encourage better care and accommodation, and to bring hope to others by letting them know they are not alone. Pick one of the above, pick 5, or pick them all -- every little bit helps! Together, we can do more!

Give Now to Double Your Donation, Double Your Impact

January 21, 2014 in Important

Matching Donation Challenge - Double Your Donation to the Rheumatoid Patient FoundationIn honor of Rheumatoid Awareness Day, Crescendo Bioscience is offering a matching grant to the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Now through February 8, 2014, all donations made to RPF will be doubled by Crescendo Bioscience – up to $15,000!  Thanks to this generous matching grant, you have the opportunity to double your dollars and double your impact for RPF. Your donations are what make the RPF possible, and together we can make a difference in the lives of those with Rheumatoid 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 gift as simple as $7 -- which will be doubled to $14 -- in celebration of the 2014 Rheumatoid Awareness Day. Click here for more ways you can get involved in Rheumatoid Awareness Day.

Or maybe one dollar for every year that you or your loved one has lived with rheumatoid disease.

Give Now

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

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation
PO Box 236251
Cocoa, FL 32923

All donations are tax-deductible in the United States. Feel free to visit our Financial page.


Crescendo Bioscience is a molecular diagnostics company focused in rheumatology and located in South San Francisco, CA. Crescendo Bioscience develops quantitative, objective, blood tests to provide rheumatologists with deeper clinical insights to help enable more effective management of patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. For more information, please visit the company’s website at