I am keeping it real with




awareness challenge

The inspiration behind the I Am Keeping It Real With concept is my journey living with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. For several years I kept my diagnosis private, only telling those closest to me for fear of being treated differently. Over time, as my disease progressed I realized I needed to fully accept this part of my life. By being true to myself, I was able to let people know what I was experiencing.

During some of the hardest times with my health, I thought my illness would control my life forever and that it would define who I was. However, that was a completely false perception that I had of myself and my life. In fact, what is true is that my illness is not who I am. It is only a part of my story. There are so many qualities to who I am besides being, “that girl with RA.” I still enjoy the same hobbies, spending time with loved ones, making people laugh, traveling, writing, going to the movies- anything that had brought me joy before I was diagnosed, I still incorporate into my life one way or another now that I have a chronic illness.

So I created this awareness challenge to ask others out there who are dealing with similar struggles- what type of arthritis, knee or hip replacement, chronic illness or disability are they, Keeping It Real With.

The goal of this is not only to raise awareness for these conditions, but to encourage and empower those of us living with invisible or visible illnesses, to continue being our authentic selves.

Take the time to get involved in a creative form of self-expression, using just a phrase and picture.

Follow These Steps:


  • Write down I Am Keeping It Real With  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  (Fill in the blank with the form of arthritis, joint replacement, chronic illness or disability you are living with).


  • Share a photo either of yourself (selfie) or one doing something your passionate about (hobby, job etc.) and write down the health condition (s), you are Keeping It Real With.


  • Post it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #iamkeepingitrealwith 
    Note: Photos shared on Instagram and Twitter will be reposted @iamkeepingitrealwith Instagram account. Go here to view those who have joined the challenge so far!

  • Then nominate and share this with someone else do the same.


*Illness can be complex. A person may have one or several health conditions going on at once. Share as much detail as you like.





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