My RA Story

Sinead Moriarty and Grainne O'Leary

 

Book written by people with rheumatoid arthritis to tell their stories

Best-selling author launches nationwide campaign

 

Best-selling author, Sinéad Moriarty, today launched a campaign inviting people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to tell their stories of what it is like to live with the condition.

Arthritis Ireland is going to publish a selection of these stories in the autumn as a book, which it is hoped, will be a valuable information resource.

The condition affects 45,000 people in this country; 70 per cent of them women. Two thousand new cases are diagnosed annually; the vast majority of them in their thirties, forties or fifties. 

Three years ago, Sinéad Moriarty became very unwell, ended up in hospital and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

“I was desperate to find information about this condition,” she said, “and I trawled the internet for hours. I eventually found a story about a woman in the UK who had the same illness. This was a lifeline for me – and it gave me hope.”

 

 

According to Gráinne O’Leary, Chief Executive of Arthritis Ireland, “The purpose of ‘My RA Story’ is to increase awareness and understanding of rheumatoid arthritis, of what it is like to live with this chronic condition with its invisible pain and life-changing impact.

“In so doing, we hope to give a platform to people to tell their own story, so that they can be heard. We also wish to provide a resource for people who are newly diagnosed with the disease and uncertain of what the future holds,” she said.

RA is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system aggressively targets the body’s healthy tissues and joints rather than germs and viruses. When this happens, the joints can become stiff and inflamed and cause pain.

Early diagnosis is key to better long-term outcomes. If ignored or left undiagnosed, RA can impact other organs such as the heart, eyes and lungs, and ultimately can increase mortality. While symptoms of RA can vary from person to person, the most common are pain and swelling in the joints, stiffness in the joints, redness, inflammation and fatigue.

“Rheumatoid arthritis can have a considerable impact on people’s quality of life, particularly in relation to their career, relationships, lifestyle and mental health. These are the invisible effects of living with the disease,” Gráinne O’Leary said.

“This book is going to capture that breadth of experiences,” Sinéad Moriarty added. “We want to hear people’s stories – the good, the bad and the ugly. It is by sharing them that we better connect with each other and understand how to live with this condition.”

Sinéad Moriarty’s novels have sold over 700,000 copies in Ireland and the UK. In 2015 she won the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction. Her fourteenth novel, ‘Seven Letters’ was published on 2 May.

Details of how to participate and submit your story can be downloaded here.

“My RA Story” is supported by a grant from MSD Ireland.

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