Most people hear the word "arthritis" and they automatically think of the common form that 1 of 2 people will develop at some point in their lives - Osteoarthritis, which is a localized joint condition caused by age, wear and tear, or injury. Over 27 million people just in the US have this common type of arthritis, all at varying degrees (from mild to severe). However, only about 1/3 of that number are affected by Autoimmune or Autoinflammatory Arthritis, because it's a type of arthritis that happens in conjunction with Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Diseases.
Photo: WAAD15 Winners: Top left, Third Place - Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness & Support Foundation, Top right, Second Place - National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, Bottom, Grand Champions - International Pain Foundation
For the third year in a row WAAD has been hosted as a virtual car race, with over 2 dozen Nonprofit Race Teams 'driving' the awareness via social media posts. This year, however, we are putting a little spin on the event in order to REALLY "drive" awareness - we are putting YOU, the public, in the drivers seat AND targeting the real racing community in order to reach a whole new population of people who may not understand that #ArthritisHasTypes.
The Nonprofit Teams are really eager to get the awareness going this year. IFAA, the Hosts of the event and 5th place winners in 2015/2016 and former Grand Champion (2015) and 3rd Place winners (2016) the International Pain Foundation (Team #iPain) are already starting to develop creative graphics to get their teams noticed. Barby Ingle, President of #iPain says, "We are planning to come on strong in #WAAD17. We already made space on our shelf for the big Grand Champion trophy!" Is this a challenge to 2016 Grand Champion winners US Pain Foundation?
While anyone can participate in #WAAD17 by posting and sharing, we encourage everyone to help these Nonprofits earn mileage points too - just tag them/mention them in your posts. Then every "like" and "share" you get that includes their name will earn them mileage points towards winning the event. Just don't forget to always use the hashtag #WAAD17 so we can track the mileage! The top 5 Nonprofit Race Teams who spread the most awareness during the event will win! They will receive trophies and have bragging rights through 2018. But more importantly, they will have made a big difference, with YOUR help, in reaching as many people as possible and educating them about our diseases.
Who will win #WAAD17? Will Team #iPain take back their Grand Champion title in 2017? Will US Pain Foundation hold on to the winning position? Or will IFAA pull into the lead, leaving them both in smoke? Tune in May 19th-21st, 2017 via Facebook and Twitter - and RIGHT HERE - to keep up on all the action!
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Misunderstanding about types of arthritis leads to delays in detection, proper diagnosis, and treatments - which are necessary early in disease onset to avoid permanent and irreversible damage to joints (and tissues and organs). These delays can result in higher healthcare costs, not only for the patient but for the whole system. Additionally, the misunderstanding causes relationship conflicts, as patients living with these diseases, and this type of arthritis, often 'look normal' because the disease is attacking them from the inside out (at a cellular level). Family, friends, and peers - only understanding degenerative arthritis - often find it difficult to relate to what these patients are going through. It's time to start educating the world - public, physicians, policy makers, family, friends, peers. So let's start TODAY!
While there are many points surrounding misunderstanding, one major misunderstanding involved age of onset. Degenerative Arthritis (Osteoarthritis) has an average onset age of 55 or older. Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory Arthritis occurs with diseases that have onset typically prior to age 40 - including during childhood. This is because they a result of a faulty immune system and have a genetic component - wear and tear/age is not a factor. We have chosen this point - Age of Onset - to strongly focus on during this awareness event.
Join 2 dozen Nonprofit "Race Teams" by downloading our Age of Onset awareness poster, following the directions to locate the NASCAR Race Car driver whose car # is the same - or closest to - YOUR age of onset. Use our pre-written post examples, tag your driver, and ask them to "drive" awareness for us by sharing!
We know we have a lot of work to do to break through the misunderstandings. but we think this is a good start in the right direction! Together we can make a difference!
May 10th, 2017
This year we are taking WAAD - and awareness - to the next level...and by "we" we mean YOU too! We are playing on the "AUTO" in autoimmune/autoinflammatory to drive awareness about this type of arthritis to a new community - the racing community.
Just as patients living with Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory diseases with arthritis as a major component, the Nonprofit Race Cars need some time to "warm up" as we start our 47 hour race to awareness this #WAAD17. And we have a few teams this year who are making their marks early on this year: National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases, EULAR, Lupus and Allied Diseases Association, and Arthritis Consumer Experts/JointHeatlh. We've seen them actively posting and sharing - driving awareness via Facebook and Twitter - will they continue to hold a lead? We'll have to wait and see! If you want to help them continue spreading awareness just download the WAAD17 Program to locate their social media sites and/or tag them in your posts (along with #WAAD17 so we can track it!).
For the first time since the WAAD "virtual race" began in 2015, we are taking the AUTO in AUTOimmune and AUTOinflammatory Arthritis and pushing it to the next level - which includes selecting an event "mascot". This year the patients have spoken, and the winner is the Michelin® Man.
Why the Michelin® Man?
"These diseases are caused by the immune system going awry, which leads to inflammation at the cellular level," explains WAAD17 Event Host Tiffany Westrich-Robertson, CEO of IFAA and a patient living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Axial Spondyloarthropathy, and Sjogren's Syndrome. This type of cellular level 'chaos' causes extreme fatigue - or being "tired" at a magnified level. Who better than the Michelin Man, who is made up of levels of "tires" to parallel this?"
In addition to "tired", the Michelin® Man represents many other things to these patients. "Patients living with these diseases experience severe stiffness in the mornings or
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World AUTOimmune & AUTOinflammatory Arthritis Day
May 20th, 2018
May 19th, 2017
Graphics created by Team IFAA and Team #iPain.
To see which Nonprofits have signed up to race in 2017, visit the WAAD17 Official Nonprofit Race Teams page.
We are now over half way through the race to raise the most awareness for AUTOimmune & AUTOinflammatory Arthritis and while most teams are clustered in one pack, a few patient drivers are keeping Arthritis Foundation, US Pain, and Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation in the race. But leading is still International Pain Foundation, followed by Relapsing Polychondritis and Arthritis Consumer Experts/JointHealth. US Pain were our winners in 2016, they need help getting their mileage up to place again in 2017. To support your favorite Nonprofit Race Teams just post anything about awareness today, use the hashtag #WAAD17 so we can track it, and tag the nonprofit or mention them in your post!
Awwww boy. The Chicks and Roosters have had enough with the lack of awareness between degenerative arthritis and autoimmune/autoinflammatory arthritis and they've taken action by picketing on the race track!!!!! And they are asking everyone to to get NASCAR Race Car Driver, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. - #17 (same number as the official #WAAD17 Race Car) to ‘drive’ one specific poster. If he just shares it ONCE, then we have reached a whole new audience. Will you help RA Chicks : Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Roosters get a share (drive for awareness?)
1. Just GO TO THE POSTS WE WANT TO SHARE (pictured below) at : http://bit.ly/RickyJrFB and/or
the Twitter post here: https://twitter.com/WAutoimmuneAD/status/865997483251519488 and share that post on your page.
2. Tag Ricky Facebook and Twitter: @StenhouseJr on both
3. In your post ask Ricky to please ‘drive’ the post further by sharing to his page/Twitter. Make sure you use the hashtag #WAAD17 so we can track how many posts are going out there!
Let's help the Chicks and Roosters!
And your #WAAD17 Nonprofit Race Team Winners are:
Grand Champions: International Pain Foundation
2nd Place: Arthritis Consumer Experts
3rd Place: Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness and Support Foundation
4th Place: International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis
5th Place: Arthritis Foundation
Thank you to all of the Nonprofit Race Teams who care so much about our community that they understand the need to bring more attention to the AUTOimmune and AUTOinflammatory diseases with Arthritis as a major component. Understanding the differences in the public - from peers/family/friends to policy makers to practitioners - will only lead to more research dollars, earlier detection, diagnosis, and treatments, and less frustration for those patients who constantly have to explain that their 'arthritis' is not the same as the more commonly understood degenerative arthritis.
World AUTOimmune/AUTOinflammatory Arthritis Day is an online awareness event in the form of a virtual car race - which plays on the "auto" in AUTOimmune and AUTOinflammatory. It is becoming more appropriate to differentiate inflammatory arthritis in this way because research has shown that there is some level of inflammation involved in Osteoarthritis and it's also associated with gout. Too big of an umbrella = far too much misunderstanding. The event reached 1,000's of patients and supporters in 62 countries around the world, but the awareness doesn't stop with the end of this event.
According to the US Arthritis Foundation "With autoimmune and inflammatory types of arthritis, early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is critical. Slowing disease activity can help minimize or even prevent permanent joint damage." The American College of Rheumatology & EULAR - European League Against Rheumatism agree, which is why they both work hard to keep our treatment guidelines up to date. All progression of these diseases is permanent and irreversible - so early intervention is necessary, not only to avoid unnecessary damage and disability, but to avoid overburdening an already exhausted healthcare system (regardless of country) that long term disability healthcare costs would add to the problems.
IT'S TIME TO START IDENTIFYING AUTOIMMUNE TYPES OF ARTHRITIS AND AUTOINFLAMMATORY TYPES OF ARTHRITIS FOR WHAT THEY ARE - ARTHRITIS ASSOCIATED WITH AUTOIMMUNE AND AUTOINFLAMMATORY DISEASES. Not only will it help patients, who live with constant frustration having to explain their arthritis is NOT the same as osteoarthritis, but it will help expedite early detection, diagnosis, and treatment, help long term healthcare costs, and lead to more research for a cure.
May 19th, 2017
But also coming on strong, determined to get their 2015 Grand Champion title back this year (placed 3rd in 2016) is the International Pain Foundation. From homemade posters to live Facebook videos, they have the pedal to the metal! Also hitting the track strong is 2015 3rd place winners Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness and Support Foundation and WAAD17 Hosts, IFAA - International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis.
We are early in this race, but we definitely have some teams in this to win it. Who will come out on top in 2017? We shall see!
With International Pain Foundation still in the lead, followed closely by Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness and Support Foundation, Arthritis Consumer Experts, and International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis all neck and neck. Then, out of nowhere, the Arthritis Foundation gasses it on the inside track?!
So how will this all pan out? Will iPain retake their 2015 Grand Champion spot? Will the Arthritis Foundation pass everyone and end up taking it all?
after periods of rest or inactivity. Some will describe it like having restrictive bands - and we actually hear patients often say "I feel like the Michelin® Man". So when it came to choosing an honorary mascot for our event, he was the perfect choice!" Additionally, they liked that he is always active and happy, which makes him relatable and admirable.
The event coordinators had another reason as well – the tires themselves. “We like their Research and Development strategy, as it focuses strongly on innovation and technology while considering ‘the real world needs of consumers in a highly fragmented industry’. We are constantly considering the ‘real world needs’ of our community, particularly as research progresses to be more personalized. We listen to patients, they listen to consumers, then create solutions.”
The #WAAD17 event will take place on May 20th, celebrated in all time zones around the world (or 47 consecutive hours). While it will officially begin at 6am EST on May 19th and end at 5am EST on May 21st, those hosting the event hope this will merely jump start the awareness efforts and that posts developed for #WAAD17 will be "driven" around social media for weeks to come.
So how will the Michelin® Man be incorporated into this live event? You'll just have to tune in to find out!
Photo credit: Facebook/Michelin UK
We also thank our Sponsors, Resource Kiosk supporters, and YOU - the community who make #WAAD17 awareness drive to new levels! Congratulations to our 2017 Winners!
The second leg of #WAAD17 s virtual car race for AUTOimmune and AUTOinflammatory Arthritis awareness is winding down, as we - patients ourselves running this online extravaganza - need rest. So we have Christine Miserandino, author of the Spoon Theory, waving us in with her big spoon to let us know it's time for a Pit Stop. Thanks, Christine! Sometimes we patients push way harder than we should!
Still in 1st Place, and trying to reclaim their 2015 Grand Champion title, is International Pain Foundation. Then 2nd and 3rd place is neck and neck, with Arthritis Consumer Experts/Joint Health and Relapsing Polychondritis Awareness and Support Foundation closing in on that 2nd and 3rd place spot. IFAA, hosts of WAAD17, are behind them and from there we have support for US Pain Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, and Lupus UK.