Are you looking for ways to become more involved in the psoriasis community and to meet more people like you? Check out these seven events designed with psoriasis in mind!
Team NPF** When:** Varies** Where**: Various locations
The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) is the number one organization in the United States for the psoriatic community. Since 2007, the NPF has raised over 10 million dollars for research, advocacy, and resources for patients, as well as medical support. The team NPF events are designed to help raise money for the foundation to help with various initiatives for those living with the disease.
The main events given by the NPF are walks, runs, cycling events, and bingo, which take place across in the U.S., including in Illinois, Texas, North Caroline, California, Georgia, New York, Florida, Washington D.C., and Oregon. If you don’t see your state listed, no worries! The NPF has the “DIY” initiative in which they provide a guideline to help individuals plan their own events.
International Dermatology of Outcome Measures Meeting** When:** May 5-6
Where: Washington D.C.
I’ve been a part of this group since 2014. It’s composed of about 10 patients, and 50 doctors and researchers. The group is looking to create a global survey, which can then be used in clinical trials concerning skin diseases. Patient involvement in this event is imperative. Our jobs as patients is to give the medical professionals in the group an idea of what it’s like to live with this disease and to also express what’s important to us. If you want to be involved with psoriasis advocacy from a more clinical and scientific standpoint, this is the group — and event — for you.
According to the NPF, 30 percent of those living with psoriasis will also acquire arthritis. These workshops are designed to address the unique issues of those living with psoriatic disease. During these events, leading doctors in dermatology and rheumatology give talks about various challenges surrounding psoriasis. Attendees receive expert advice on how to manage PSA and can ask doctors questions. These events usually occur on the weekend and last about two hours. If there isn’t an event in your area, the NPF provides a webcast for those to attend online.
The National Psoriasis Foundation Volunteer Conference** When:** August 4-5, 2017
This is by far one of my favorite psoriasis events, and it takes place every other year. I went to my first conference in 2011. This conference brings together those with psoriasis, caretakers, families, and leading dermatologists. There are a variety of workshops for participates to attend. Registration for the event starts on April 1, 2017. The foundation also has scholarship opportunities for those who may not be able to afford the conference but want to attend. This event inspired me to start my blog “Being Me in My Own Skin” and was my stepping stone to psoriasis advocacy.
Camp Discover** When:** June-August
Where: Various locations
This camp, sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatology, is designed for kids ages 7-16 with a variety of skin diseases, including psoriasis. It’s a one-week camp that takes place in six different cities across the U.S. on a different week throughout the summer. During this time, kids are able to enjoy summer activities such as horseback riding, swimming, archery, and much more in a safe and judgement-free environment. I was a camp counselor at Camp Dermadillo in Texas in the month of August.
I was a camp counselor in August 2016, and I found it to be an awesome experience that I wish I knew about at that age. It was wonderful to see the kids interacting without having to worry about someone teasing them for their skin condition. I had the chance to speak to a junior counselor with eczema who was once a camper. (After the age of 16 former campers can come back as counselors.) He told me when he was in his early teens he lack confidence before attending the camp. Once he visited the Camp Discovery, he advised he was never the same again, and was able to let go of the shame he felt with his disease.
Camp Wonder** When:** June 19-24, 2017
Where: This camp is sponsored by The Children’s Skin Disease Foundation and is also designed for children with skin diseases. It takes place every June for one week. The location for 2017 is still pending, but be sure to take a look at the site for updates.
Alisha Bridges has battled with severe psoriasis for over 20 years and is the face behind Being Me in My Own Skin, a blog which highlights her life with psoriasis. Her goals are to create empathy and compassion for those who are least understood, through transparency of self, patient advocacy, and healthcare. She is currently a post-bach student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a Physician’s Assistance—her passions are dermatology and sexual health. Alisha also shares her passion as a Social Ambassador of the Psoriasis HealthCentral Facebook page where she shares timely tips, stories and insights on living with psoriasis. You can also find Alisha on Twitter.
Alisha Bridges is a freelance health writer on the topics of sexual health, skin care, and psoriasis. She has lived and thrived with psoriasis for over two decades. Alisha is the creator of www.Beingmeinmyownskin.com, a site dedicated to sharing what it’s like to live with psoriasis. She is also a student at Georgia State University pursuing a career as a physician assistant with a concentration in dermatology. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram @alishambridges.