Kayla Arielle • Founder of The Spoonie Sisterhood

Patient Leader

I was diagnosed with severe Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis just after my 13th birthday 17 years ago. I reeled in the irony and shock for years until a book called Conquering Arthritis came into my life at 15. Still, by then the extent of damage was already so dramatic that both knees and both elbows needed completely REPLACEMENTS. They said the x-rays looked exactly like their "90 year old patients", and that is a quote I'll never forget. Depression, anxiety, and medical trauma go hand-in-hand with such chronic illness and chronic pain conditions, and feeling like I was the only one only worsened it all. There was ONE person there in her way, though... With help from the aforementioned book by Barbara Allen, I finally found a hand outstretched in the vast darkness. Her insights on food allergies, various inflammation triggers, advice on fasting -and- keeping a food journal, tips on exercise and maintaining + building muscle despite suffering severe arthritis changed my life by 16. Still, I could never find a similar patient online or ANYWHERE at all... And I looked HARD! Thankfully, since the late 90's/ early 2000s, the internet has been flooded with patients with the help of social media platforms and that has changed completely! As soon as I realized what an opportunity was finally available to bring us all together, I created The Spoonie Sisterhood. It has been my greatest honor to create a space in which I am able to uplift and give additional voice to the amazing thousands of women worldwide who identify as an autoimmune patient -- AKA a "spoonie" (Google "The Spoon Theory") -- and in that process help one another to heal and grow! That is our mission statement. Now, we are roughly 25,000 patients globally and indeed growing every day. This is only the beginning. xo

Location

Long Beach, CA

Nominations

Best in Show: Community Best Kept Secret
Kayla Arielle • Founder of The Spoonie Sisterhood

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