To followers of my social media, none of this will be news. However, I mustn’t assume that everyone is following my socials, and it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on the website, so here’s a roundup of what you may have missed.

WEGO Health Awards

The big news is that my ‘Joel vs Arthritis’ Facebook page won the ‘Best in Show: Facebook’ award at this year’s 10th WEGO Health Awards, which is probably the most significant moment in my advocacy career to date.

Unbelievably, I was nominated for a staggering eight categories, in what was my first time being nominated for anything regarding ‘Joel vs Arthritis’. What makes the achievement even more incredible is that anyone can nominate a member of the WEGO Patient Leader network, but the six finalists for each category are decided by the three nominees with the most endorsements from other patient leaders and the other three being ‘judges picks’. I am a novice in this field, so I received very few endorsements and didn’t chase for them on social media. So it feels extraordinary for the judges to notice my Facebook page out of 21,000 nominations!

What are the WEGO Health Awards?

For 10 years, the WEGO Health Awards have proven to be one of the best ways to honour, recognise, and celebrate the work of patient advocates, influencers and healthcare collaborators who are changing the patients’ lives and transforming healthcare – often without any formal recognition.

Top industry experts and sponsors select the winners based on their use of social media, their fit for the award for which they’ve been nominated, and how effectively they engage their online community. The limited feedback I received has complimented our community on levels of engagement, my candidness and how you respond to that. Hence, I have to thank all of you for your comments, shares, and how you selfishly support one another on my Facebook page and support group.

You can find a complete list of my award nominations here: https://www.wegohealth.com/Joel4/awards.

To view the brief awards ceremony, you can watch the recording here: https://fb.watch/8qHCP1R6_1/; note that the Facebook Category starts around 9m20s into the video.

Many tears were shed! 😀 My Instagram post (below) at the time explains why.

What’s next?

The most remarkable part of winning a WEGO award for me is the recognition from your peers and industry experts. Validation that what I am doing is having an impact somewhere. What started as one guy sharing his story, out of frustration more than anything, has lead to this moment in just two years. I never thought my words could help others. Still, now I know they can, it’s a powerful thing, and I plan to do as much as possible for arthritis and psoriatic disease awareness now that I appreciate the opportunity all of this presents.

I have already started to see the doors that this award can open in my inbox, and I am talking to a couple of parties about how we can use this to raise awareness on a bigger platform. However, the award itself also comes with a significant prize pack, including:

• Recognised as a HLTH social media ambassador
• Featured as a world’s top patient expert at the HLTH Conference (Boston, MA), as well as industry exposure opportunities throughout the year
• Seat as compensated 2022 WEGO Health Patient Leader Advisory Board member

So you can expect to hear a lot more from me over the coming year!

I also have the opportunity to attend the HLTH International Health Conference in Boston (USA) this month – more on that soon as I try and navigate all the various Covid restrictions with a disability at short notice! Watch this space 😉

IFPA International Psoriatic Disease Ambassador

I am delighted and honoured to announce that I have been appointed as an ambassador for the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA).

As just one of a handful of global ambassadors, this new pilot Psoriatic Disease Ambassador Program will support individuals in communicating their lived experiences with psoriatic disease.

This program was created to promote the role of people living with psoriatic disease in advocacy, research, and community-building around the world. Thus, giving me an international platform in which to raise awareness.

About IFPA: A non-profit organisation uniting national and regional psoriasis associations from around the world.

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis affect millions of people across the world. This is a serious global health challenge, with a range of unmet needs. People with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis may struggle to get a correct diagnosis or adequate treatment, have limited access to care or face persistent stigma and discrimination.

As the key global psoriasis advocacy organisation, IFPA campaigns on behalf of all people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Most psoriasis associations across the world are IFPA members. Their goals are to empower its members, improve living conditions for patients, raise awareness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and cooperate with fellow stakeholders.

It is a true honour to be offered this role, and I thank every one of you for encouraging and supporting me to keep moving forward with my advocacy. I could not do this without you.

Keep an eye on my social media channels for more information and content regarding this ahead of World Psoriasis Day on 29th October.

NRAS ‘Rheum for Inclusion’ Advisory Board Member

I’m super excited to announce that I have been appointed to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) Rheum for Inclusion advisory board.

As a group, our mission is to promote NRAS’s services and diversity and ensure that the charity reaches and caters for all communities.

I’ve already forged some great relationships with people at the charity and have been eager to be more involved since the launch of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis – JIA at NRAS, so this feels like the perfect opportunity to contribute and give something back.

I think that’s enough for one day. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top this post in terms of announcements! 😀

Website | + posts

Arthritis and Psoriasis Patient Advocate, Writer And Consultant. Owner Of The Pain Company.

I share my story of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis to raise awareness and specialise in pain, parenting (with disability) and the mental health impact of living with chronic illness. I write and campaign for leading charities and organisations. In addition, I provide patient experience consultancy for both charities and global healthcare companies.

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