By Shannon Ragland
Over the past three weeks I have seen daily posts on social media from family and friends enumerating blessings for which they are thankful during this month of Thanksgiving. These posts in my feed have inspired me to ponder the things in my life for which I am most thankful, as well.
As in previous years, I am thankful for my family and friends. For a roof over my head and food on the table. For my sweetheart and for my gentle little dogs who keep me company. That I am still here in my 38th year. But this year I can share that I am thankful that so much work is being done by good people to find new treatments and a cure for Rheumatoid Disease, a.k.a. Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I know this because I was a volunteer last week with the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) at the annual scientific meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in Washington, D.C.. This was my second year helping with the RPF's booth in the exhibit hall, but was able to explore more of the meeting this year. To be able to read endless posters and meet scientists representing research in rheumatology and immunology from around the world was my pleasure and privilege. We also met many clinicians and individuals from the pharmaceutical industry and other patient advocacy organizations who stopped by our booth to find out what the RPF is all about.
We, the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation, are proud to be an organization conceived and created by patients, for patients. We represent an open door for better communication between patients and clinicians, and between patients and researchers. Patients yearn to be part of the solution, helping those dedicated to helping us.
Improving lives by educating and supporting patients, and improving care for all Rheumatoid Disease patients by endorsing a patient-centered approach, is what the RPF is about. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for Kelly Young, Katie Beth Young, the RPF Board of Directors, our RPF Advisory Board, and RPF volunteers for working to give Rheumatoid Disease patients a voice.