The History of RA Chicks
by Niki Wyre
If you would of told me two years ago or even a year ago that today I would be where I am now, I would of most likely laughed. I have had the pleasure to meet some many amazing individuals suffering with Autoimmune Arthritis whether it be through the forums here on RAChicks.com or Facebook. I have even been able to meet over a dozen in person in this time as well. I have heard so many different stories and experiences from these individuals. Literally thousands upon thousands. One thing always remained the same, at one time or another we suffered alone or needed support. Who better to understand or support each other than someone that was going through the same pain and struggles?
As funny as it sounds, RA Chicks was created by a few of us “Chicks” chatting online and joking about having a club where we could let loose. While we did visit other sites online and on Facebook none of them fit just right for what we needed. One of us had found a hat on a t-shirt site for a roller derby team that had a skull on it with the words “RA Chick”. That ended up being our first profile picture as the page was made and how our name was born.
What started with a small group celebrating our 20 members has quickly grown into an online community of over 11000 members and growing each day. The RA Chick name may have started to represent women with Rheumatoid Arthritis but the umbrella grew to accept and welcome individuals with other forms of Autoimmune Arthritis and even Roosters too. We have built a foundation for an online support group of members of all ages, races, sexes, religions, countries. Arthritis does not discriminate and neither do the Chicks.
Since the beginning of its creation, RA Chicks has become actively involved in raising money for the Arthritis Foundation (arthritis.org) and their efforts. Our group has contributed to several walks, fundraisers, and have helped others raise money for their foundations. I am now an Ambassador / Advocate for the Arthritis Foundation and am looking forward to taking a more active role in the planning of next year’s events with the Tampa chapter of AF. In addition I have been asked to be a spokesperson and face of arthritis as an adult honoree at 2013’s walk in Tampa.
In 2012, I became a volunteer for IAAM (International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement, iaamovement.org) and a public supporter for their efforts. I am currently in the process of working with other nonprofits around the globe to bring together a group of global resources to help all in the Autoimmune Arthritis Community.
Also this year, 2012, Wego Health Activist Awards awarded me Best in Show – Facebook award for the work I do with RA Chicks and our wonderful community. I am lucky to have been able to support other RA or Autoimmune Arthritis groups both online or through Facebook. My goal is to help contribute to both awareness and the search for a cure for Autoimmune Arthritis.
I am thankful every day for being blessed enough to be a part of so many amazing people’s lives. I have learned so much from them as well as the support to keep this going.
Thank you and I hope you continue to enjoy the atmosphere that RA Chicks tries to keep alive.