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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

Last year, 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!

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.

Billboard Public Service Announcements for Rheumatoid Disease

May 18, 2017 in Exciting, RPF News

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation is excited to announce the launch of a billboard campaign through Lamar Advertising, featuring public service announcements (PSAs) for Rheumatoid Disease.  By running these as a PSA, Lamar donates the billboard space to us, so RPF only has to pay the printing costs for each billboard.  We will be starting with two billboard designs -- one in Orlando and one in Chicago.  The specific location of the advertisement will vary throughout the year depending on when and where Lamar has open space in each of those markets to run a PSA.  This means, if you live in the Chicago or Orlando areas, you may see our ads in multiple locations throughout the course of the year! Follow us on Facebook to keep up to date on where you can find the billboards.

Our initial campaign will feature one ad with messaging that brings awareness to the fact that Rheumatoid Disease is not "just arthritis," and another ad focused on the invisible nature of this disease.  Check out the previews of our designs below!

Rheumatoid Arthritis billboard advertisement PSA

Rheumatoid Arthritis Billboard advertisement PSA Invisible Illness

We want to give a big shout out to Barbara at Lamar who helped us set up this program, and also to the RD patients who donated the photography that we used in these ads.  Want to see your face on a billboard? Donate a photo, and you could be next!

2017 RPF Scholarship Program

March 17, 2017 in Exciting, RPF News

graduation for sidebar The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) is pleased to announce its third annual Scholarship Program supporting students whose lives have been affected by rheumatoid disease (RD). Offering support to people with rheumatoid disease is one of RPF's core goals, and we seek to do that through this scholarship program by providing financial assistance to people with RD.

This year, we are doubling the opportunity and will be awarding four scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each. The scholarship is open to U.S. students of any age who have a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis -- or who have a parent with such a diagnosis. The scholarship funds may be used toward any higher education or vocational institution. This means that the scholarship is not only available to high school seniors and current college students, but also to those looking to change careers or advance their education.

Applicants are required to submit a written response to an essay prompt, along with a completed application form. All submissions must be received by May 31, 2017. Winners will be announced this summer. More details about the scholarship program and a downloadable application form can be found on our Scholarship Program Page.

View Scholarship Details & Download Application

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.

RPF Scholarship Award Recipients

June 2, 2016 in Exciting, RPF News

The Rheumatoid Patient Foundation has completed its second year offering the RPF Scholarship Program. This program offers students who have rheumatoid disease or who have a parent with rheumatoid disease the opportunity to get some financial assistance as they pursue higher education. This year's program offered up two $1,000 scholarship awards. We had an overwhelming response with more than double the number of applicants this year as last -- which underscores the need for this sort of program. The scholarship program required applicants to submit a written response to several essay prompts. We had many excellent submissions and would like to say thank you to all who took the time to apply for this scholarship program. We wish you all the very best in your higher education and vocational pursuits.

Our judging panel has selected this year's winners and we are pleased to announce and introduce to you this year's RPF Scholarship Award Recipients:

Kristine Malixi

Kristine was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2008. Since then, she has earned a Master’s degree in occupational therapy and is now pursuing a PhD with a focus on the quality of life of young adults diagnosed with rheumatoid disease.

"I am so humbled by the work of organizations like Rheumatoid Patient Foundation that are so dedicated to advocating for people like me. Together, we can take down the barriers of disease to build the brightest of futures for our community!"







Ariella Phillipo

rheumatoid patient foundation scholarship winner

Ariella Phillipo grew up in Upstate New York. She was diagnosed with Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) at seventeen months of age, and later developed Anterior Uveitis at the age of two. She has battled with her rheumatoid arthritis her entire life, but refuses to let it hold her back from a successful education and career.

She is currently studying advertising and public relations with a 4.0 GPA at Columbia College Chicago in Chicago, IL. She hopes to peruse a career in pharmaceutical advertising and strives to create transparent messages that inform and engage audiences within the medical community.




Congratulations to you both!  For more information on the RPF Scholarship Program and for information any any future award opportunities, please click here.

Click here to view our 2015 Scholarship Winners.

RPF Scholarship Winners

May 22, 2015 in Exciting, RPF News

RPF is excited to announce the two winners of our very first scholarship program: Amanda Jones of Montgomery, Alabama and Melissa Eller of Hickory, North Carolina. Congratulations! We had many excellent entries and we want to thank everyone who took the time to submit an application and essay. We wish you all the best in your educational and vocational pursuits. If you are a higher education student (or will be next year), we encourage you to keep an eye out for this year's Scholarship Program to be announced later in 2015.

Here's are a few highlights about our winners.

Amanda (Mandy) Jones

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation scholarship winner Amanda Jones

Mandy was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease in 2012. She is currently a senior in high school and is in the process of selecting the university that she will be attending in the fall.

"I am pursuing my dreams to become a biomedical engineer. I have been accepted to Saint Louis University, University of Alabama-Birmingham, and The University of Tennessee, with scholarship to all three. Take that, RA!"

Melissa Eller

Rheumatoid Patient Foundation Scholarship winner

Melissa was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Disease when she was in her thirties and has been living with RD for over six years. She currently works as an Activities Coordinator at an assisted living facility and is pursuing continuing education at her local community college.

"I wanted to express my gratitude to you all for this opportunity. I had given up hope on ever being able to become an event planner but now thanks to this scholarship I can say that my dream job is with in reach now!"

Congratulations once again to our winners! RPF recognizes the financial and career challenges often posed by Rheumatoid Disease. We are happy to be able to offer this scholarship opportunity to help support students affected by RD. Details about the next scholarship opportunity will be posted at the following link, when available: