A positive attitude and a healthy dose of humor are Molly Schreiber’s go-tos when it comes to dealing with her chronic conditions. Anyone scrolling through her tweets or Facebook posts will find themselves smirking from her witty comments and her humorous approach to a challenging life with Rheumatoid
Arthritis and Type 1 Diabetes.
However, humor wasn’t always in the picture. When she was initially diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, she turned to the Internet in hopes of not feeling so alone, only to find some alarming information.
We’ve all been there – a simple Google search unexpectedly reveals terrifying side effects and horror stories – a harsh contrast to the information you envisioned finding! Like so many people, Molly’s illnesses began to make her feel afraid and alone.
That is the sole purpose of Molly’s health advocacy; to make sure others are not alone. Especially when it comes to a condition like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Molly explains “…it can really alienate you from others, simply because the disease isn’t easy to understand.”
This connection is her absolute favorite part of health advocacy. The impact of two individuals sharing a similar experience can be so powerful! In fact, her favorite conference has been HealtheVoices simply because she was able to connect with so many individuals, even those with different diseases, and create friendships that will last a lifetime!
Unfortunately, like many, Molly recognizes the disconnect between patients, providers, insurances companies and drug manufacturers. She makes the point that “Everyone is fighting for their own bottom line and the person behind the patient is lost in all of this.”
But all hope is not lost. Molly hopes her advocacy efforts can fill that void. Her wish is that “…a newly diagnosed patient with RA or Type 1 would immediately know that there is a huge community out there with open arms.”
Kristen Long is the Health Activist Awards Coordinator at WEGO Health. Her own health experiences have inspired her to empower other patients and encourage the power of patient advocacy. Follow Kristen on Twitter andFacebook.