(IFAA) International Foundation Autoimmune Arthritis Advocacy Volunteer

I am so excited about my latest venture in the realms of advocacy for Autoimmune Illnesses! I met this incredible lady through a friend of mine about 5 months ago. She is just an amazing, energetic, ball of fire, that has really put together an incredible Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis on the map! Tiffany Westrich is also a sufferer of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). She also found out after several years of not knowing what her diagnosis was. Like many of us who have wandered around in the dark sometimes for what seems like eons, not really knowing what the heck is wrong with us. Then finally you KNOW! And you are actually RELIEVED to know something is REALLY WRONG! How crazy is that??? But, it is true. Many of us go, in fact the majority of us go for years, through test after test, doctor after doctor, diagnosis after also the terms, you are a complicated patient, you are difficult, we are not sure what is wrong with you, and so forth... then finally the light shines through, and there you have it, you have an "Autoimmune illness"? And now, what does that mean? Since there are literally 100's of them... which one or ones is it? RA, Lupus, MS, Sjogren's. Raynaud's. Diabetes 2, and many others that come to light. As you begin to try to figure out what all of this means for your future, you also begin to see that you will almost know more through your own research about "your illness(es)" than your doctors. You will also find out having "one" Rheumatologist, Internist, PCP, Hematologist, Neurologist, Eye Specialist, Nephrologist, Heart Specialist, and that list goes on and on... any and all of them may or may NOT know what is happening to you.

Back to this exciting realm of Tiffany and her Foundation. I recently found out I could become at "active volunteer" with her. Her foundation is unique in the fact that patients, those that are ill with these diseases are the ones that really do all of the work, or at least 99 percent of it. Also, 85 percent of the foundation is ran online. This makes it viable for those who are ill, in bed, with a flare, who are not able to get out possibly, be able to be actively involved in this Foundation. It is growing by leaps and bounds, and just recently went from what was a thought of Tiffany's once she was diagnosed, to design a bracelet from a "belt buckle", and was called "Buckle It Up", to the Autoimmune Arthritis Movement, and now has became a full fledged "non-profit" organization, hence the name now is International Autoimmune Arthritis Foundation! International? Yes! She has had stories from all over the world come in about patients, many of them very young, from their Mom's and families telling about these young people and the life they live with their illnesses.

I am currently "in training" to become one of the active volunteers. It is a 3 month training period, or for me hopefully, I am "fast tracking" and will be finished in about half that time, so I can begin helping out with all of the projects, programs, advocacy, and making a difference!

I am so honored to know this wonderful woman, and hope someday to get to meet her in person. She is just a joy in my life already, and I am sure working with her will be a wondrous motivation for me.

Please take a moment and look at their new website:

http://www.ifautoimmunearthritis.org/Home_Page.html

The rest of the story, as well as all they have already done is there. I hope you get as much inspiration from it, as I do....

Rhia
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