by Dana Symons
In 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!