Advocating for RA from Small to Big
I think it’s important to realize that any way of advocating for RA is good, no matter how big or small of an action it might be.
I’m going to start with smaller types of advocacy – and then move on to bigger types – because I think that sometimes we don’t think of these or even consider them advocacy at all.
RA and social media – The Internet is an amazing thing, and allows us to do so much for free. Using your personal Facebook or Twitter account to raise awareness is an easy thing and may be something that you already do without doing it intentionally. If you aren’t really into sharing personal stuff, share articles related to RA, including things that make the news like new treatments. Post about awareness month activities. Change your avatar to something that is RA related.
Start a blog to share your story and raise awareness. There are a variety of free blogging sites out there, such as Blogger, Tumblr, and Wordpress.
Get involved in writing for RA-related magazines such as Arthritis Self-Management and Arthritis Today.
Contact your representative or members of congress for your area and let them know that you have arthritis and that finding a cure is important to you, and should be important to them, too. You can do this via phone, snail mail, or via the Internet.
Take part, even if only virtually, in World Arthritis Day activities.
Take part in walks and other events held by The Arthritis Foundation – I personally have always had a problem with the awareness walks. I do not feel that they play to the strengths of this constituency. When many of us suffer from mobility problems and pain, and many of us require limited sun exposure due to medications, is an outdoor walk really the best we can do?
Some organizations are holding virtual walks, where you can log miles on your own over a period of time, and you can log as little as one mile for the entire period. This isn’t a perfect solution, but it could be a better way to include those who are not able to take part in traditional walks.
Go to Capitol Hill and take part in the Advocacy Summit or testify before congress.
Obviously, some of these advocacy ideas take little time and effort and can be done from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Some of these require traveling and even speaking to large crowds.
What’s important is to do what feels right for you. Not everyone wants to drag out their soapbox and speak to congress. If that’s your thing, great! If not, do what you can. And be careful not to compromise your health in the process.