Movement and Connection Power Florida Connect Group 

RA patient and yoga teacher Sherry and her spouse Sandy lead a Live Yes! Connect Group that incorporates movement—whether on the mat, at the beach or walking a trail. 

Sherry’s Diagnosis story 

In early 2018, I was tested for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and told that I did not have it based on my bloodwork. By the time I was diagnosed with RA in September 2019, the pain in my hands had become unbearable. It was difficult to wash my own hair, and cutting my own food was out of the question. The day I was finally diagnosed, I was relieved to finally have a name for the aggressive and inexplicable amount of pain in parts of my body. But I also felt terrified for what this would mean moving forward.  

How did you become involved with the Arthritis Foundation?  

When I was diagnosed, I left the rheumatologist office feeling numb, terrified and turned inside out. The only thing I knew to do when we got into the car was to Google the Arthritis Foundation in Florida. The very next day, I connected with a Connect Group leader on the telephone. She immediately enfolded me into her care and made sure I knew that I was not alone. She introduced us both to Jingle Bell Run and other events that would continue to help us feel buoyed by hope. She helped Sandy and me become a part of the Arthritis Foundation family. Now my spouse and I get to be that anchor and help others who are newly diagnosed. It continues to help me feel empowered, valuable and strong to be able to help others who are going through similar circumstances. Finding the Arthritis Foundation office in Florida changed the trajectory of my life with this disease.                                                                       

How can yoga help with arthritis pain, physically and mentally? 

Sherry (on left in photo): Having a chronic illness like rheumatoid arthritis can make me feel like a stranger in my body. What used to feel familiar is no longer familiar to me due to pain and mobility issues. Doing yoga helps soothe that feeling by bringing my body and mind back together to work as a team, in union. The meaning of the word yoga is “union.” When I do yoga, I can allow myself to forget what hurts, or what is swollen or inflamed. Yoga has this uncanny ability to meet you and your body where they are in the moment, which is perfectly suited to anyone with a chronic illness like arthritis. Chronic illness, injury or pain can make you feel disconnected from your body. It can be so frustrating to lose mobility, feel like you can no longer do the things that you used to do. I have found that yoga can soften those thoughts and help me feel strong, which is what I need to keep going.  

Sandy (center in photo): Importantly for me, yoga presents the opportunity for my otherwise overly active mind to focus more singly. It slows me down to breathe and follow the instructor’s cues and experience how the movement feels in my body. It is a timeout for my mind, helping me become more fully refreshed in mind and body after class, which is important for everyone, especially those who are also caregivers. This marriage is available for anyone who comes to yoga willing to try. It is a great “sport” for those with challenged bodies to feel successful.  

How and why do you incorporate movement into your Connect Group?  

Our Connect Group started during a time when groups could only meet virtually, so we had members from other states. When the Arthritis Foundation began stepping back to in-person gatherings for Connect Groups, Sherry especially felt that we could bridge movement and connection for our virtual members and for those who join us in person. Movement and connection are naturally good friends. Some have walked with us during our Connect Group from their own space and joined us for a yoga session 

When we share yoga or go on walks, there is an inherent camaraderie with others who are there, too. This was an easy idea for us to build on and marry movement with our Connect Group. From the moment we say hello and welcome attendees, they want to share with one another because there is already a common denominator by taking part in an activity together.    

Being heard is a very important part of support for those with arthritis, and Connect Groups are a great avenue for this to happen. Group members tell their stories and share their concerns, hurdles and successes. We give one another permission to be ourselves, to walk or take part in yoga and to share.

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Every gift to the Arthritis Foundation will help people with arthritis across the U.S. live their best life. Whether it is supporting cutting-edge research, 24/7 access to one-on-one support, resources and tools for daily living, and more, your gift will be life-changing.

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Help millions of people live with less pain and fund groundbreaking research to discover a cure for this devastating disease. Please, make your urgently-needed donation to the Arthritis Foundation now!

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Become an Arthritis Foundation member today for just $20 and you'll receive access to helpful tools..... and more. 

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Honor a loved one with a meaningful donation to the Arthritis Foundation. We'll send a handwritten card to the honoree or their family notifying them of your thoughtful gift.

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Volunteer Opportunities

The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing information, advocacy, science and community. We can only achieve these goals with your help. Strong, outspoken and engaged volunteers will help us conquer arthritis. By getting involved, you become a leader in our organization and help make a difference in the lives of millions. Join us and become a Champion of Yes.

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Live Yes! INSIGHTS


Give Just 10 Minutes.

Tell us what matters most to you. Change the future of arthritis.

By taking part in the Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment, you’ll be among those changing lives today and changing the future of arthritis, for yourself and for 54 million others. And all it takes is just 10 minutes.

Your shared experiences will help:

- Lead to more effective treatments and outcomes
- Develop programs to meet the needs of you and your community
- Shape a powerful agenda that fights for you

Now is the time to make your voice count, for yourself and the entire arthritis community. 

Currently this program is for the adult arthritis community.  Since the needs of the juvenile arthritis (JA) community are unique, we are currently working with experts to develop a customized experience for JA families. 

How are you changing the future?

By sharing your experience, you’re showing decision-makers the realities of living with arthritis, paving the way for change. You’re helping break down barriers to care, inform research and create resources that make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.

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Meet Our Partners

As a partner, you will help the Arthritis Foundation provide life-changing resources, science, advocacy and community connections for people with arthritis, the nations leading cause of disability. Join us today and help lead the way as a Champion of Yes.

Trailblazer

Our Trailblazers are committed partners ready to lead the way, take action and fight for everyday victories. They contribute $2,000,000 to $2,749,000

Visionary

Our Visionary partners help us plan for a future that includes a cure for arthritis. These inspired and inventive champions have contributed $1,500,00 to $1,999,999.

Pioneer

Our Pioneers are always ready to explore and find new weapons in the fight against arthritis. They contribute $1,000,000 to $1,499,999.

Pacesetter

Our Pacesetters ensure that we can chart the course for a cure for those who live with arthritis. They contribute $500,000 to $999,000.

Signature

Our Signature partners make their mark by helping us identify new and meaningful resources for people with arthritis. They contribute $250,000 to $499,999.

Supporting

Our Supporting partners are active champions who provide encouragement and assistance to the arthritis community. They contribute $100,000 to $249,999.