RA Awareness Week 2017

RA Awareness Week - Behind the smile poster

Thank you to everyone for making RA Awareness Week such a huge success. 2017 really has been the biggest one so far. The team, including Penny Prideaux, one of our NRAS Members, and our PR company, Mash PR, worked exceptionally hard in promoting the week far and wide.

The theme, invisible illness, having been voted for by our HealthUnlocked and Facebook communities, proved to be incredibly popular and something that resonated with so many people. The different themes we promoted each day focussed on a variety of perspectives; from surveying the general public in a street poll, to a social media quiz on the S Factor to the release of our Lilly collaboration film, Behind the Smile 2. We have been overwhelmed with comments and posts during the week.

One of the main highlights of the week was a vox pop video. We surveyed 50 people on the street, asking them 3 simple questions: ‘Have you heard of rheumatoid arthritis’, ‘What do you think of when you hear ‘rheumatoid arthritis’’, and ‘What do you think is the most common ‘invisible disease’ in the UK?’ The results really do go to illustrate the confusion people have between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; with over 88% either not knowing what RA is or getting it totally wrong.

The invisible illness theme sat well along the launch of the second ‘Behind The Smile’ film – a collaboration with Lilly pharmaceuticals. The film was a continuation from the first film released in October 2016, depicting a young working mum, Jane, trying to juggle work and life whilst coping with the impact of RA. Both films explored what goes on behind peoples’ smiles and the key messages were about the importance of talking to your rheumatologist. The second film delved further into Jane’s thoughts, but looked at a better outcome when she actually talks to her consultant and the consultant takes the time to listen.

At the end of the week, we released a film about the importance of support and talking about RA, whether that was to a family member, a friend or a Group. We partnered with My Life films, to produce a short video about NRAS through the eyes of one of our Members and her family. Katy Pieris, who co-ordinates the Croydon NRAS Group, talks about her diagnosis and how the Group, together with her family, have supported her through her journey. Her sister Lucie and husband Marc both talk about NRAS and how having the correct information and support has helped them all talk about RA more openly as a family.

We have reached many more people this year and had more conversations than ever before. Overall, here's how we did:

Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week 2017 Results


NRAS CEO, Ailsa Bosworth said:

I think this year was our best ever RA Awareness Week. The fact that we launched something new every day not only raised more awareness with different audiences, it held people’s attention for the whole week. I have to congratulate our Marketing and Communications team and everyone who contributed for all their hard work, and for achieving a stunning result in reaching many more people than in any previous year, and raising a whole lot of awareness on this misunderstood and invisible disease.”