I Support RPF Because Patients Are the Best Advocates for Patients

January 28, 2014 in Advocacy

Rheumatoid Awareness Day is only a few days away, February 2. RPF member Elizabeth Riggs shares why she and her family support RPF. Dr. Riggs has served as a healthcare professional, educator, caregiver, and now as a patient gives her invaluable perspective on patient advocacy.

By Elizabeth Riggs, PhD

I support RPF because: There is no other charity just for Rheumatoid Disease.

Ted-Eliz-Shan-ACR13On a personal basis, as I have RD, and follow the rawarrior.com community, I am very much aware of the gaps in the support available for people living with rheumatoid disease (PRD). My husband, who has cardiac and lung disease, works hard to help me with my activities of daily living (ADLs). We cannot afford homemaking or personal services and don't qualify for any government-supplied services. Only through increased public awareness would those gaps in care be closed, so these kinds of services ever become more available. We don't qualify for drug assistance, so I cannot get on any of the biologicals. So far, I haven't qualified for any clinical trials, so I am "stuck" with "older" medications which are inadequate to my disease state.

Although we are personally blessed to have nearly all of our family members and many of our friends who are both understanding and supportive, there are many people who do not have these blessings. Only through improved public awareness will these gaps in support begin to be closed.

Many rheumatologists, especially in the USA, don't seem to have a clue (!) as to the pain and disability we PRD experience. So, they can’t do all our advocating for us. And we must help them understand. Only through professional education will we bring medical professionals to the level of understanding that will make a difference to PRD.

Drug companies don't seem to realize the suffering experienced by over two-thirds of PRD who don’t respond adequately to current treatments. Helping them see the need for more research, additional patient support, and reduced cost of drugs for RD is absolutely necessary!

The RPF addresses these needs and more through public awareness, professional teaching and education, patient-driven research, and PRD support.

The RPF can ONLY address these needs if we provide the money and volunteers to support RPF!

So, my husband and I support the RPF in every way we can!

Cheerio!
Elizabeth Riggs

You can read more from Elizabeth on her blog – click here.