AR - Fayetteville

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Arthritis Support Network launched: 2018

Arthritis Support Network Leader: Janet           Type of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

Arthritis Support Network Leader: Tessa           Type of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis

About this Arthritis Support Network:   

We are excited to see an Arthritis Support Network created in NW Arkansas. We envision a network of people living with any chronic illness, arthritis related, meeting on a regular basis connecting and relating what it is like to rise above the challenges of everyday life. Who better to understand what it's like than those of us living it, day in and day out. Those in our family or close circle of friends will be welcome too. Network to Connect, Empower and Educate and have some fun too? Ultimately our vision is to support others and their caregivers in their journey with arthritis. Creating a support and encouraging environment that allows everyone to live their yes!

About: Janet

My name is Janet and my journey with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia began 29 years...many of those years I felt like I was on a roller coaster... but I have learned to not only survive but to thrive in the midst of it all. I was at the beginning of a career as a registered nurse and pharmaceutical sales rep when I had to take on the full-time job of managing my health care and medically retired at a young age. I was a new mother and I had to have numerous surgeries that followed by setbacks. When my health allowed, I became very involved in the Arthritis Foundation and volunteered in many ways. The Arkansas Office was very helpful and such a great resource.

I am leading a group in my area because I am familiar with the Arthritis Foundation through many leadership roles I took as a volunteer in the past. I have taught exercise classes (pool and land base), done speaking engagements, taught self-help courses, chaired large fundraising events and served on the Board of Directors. I certainly love sharing the resources that helped me through the years and I love seeing all the positives we can find in living with a chronic illness by connecting with others.

About: Tessa

I am a mom to a beautiful daughter as well as a social work major. I’ve had Rheumatoid Arthritis for more than 10 years. I was officially diagnosed in 2015. I am passionate about helping others. I enjoy attending concerts, swimming and cooking in my spare time.

I am leading a group because I would love to connect with others who are facing similar challenges so that we can help each other find new ways to face obstacles and enjoy life despite arthritis.


To join this Arthritis Support Network, please click on the "Join this Group” button above and we will send you updates about upcoming events via email.

Meeting Location and Times: 

Head over to the Calendar of Events to RSVP your attendance.

Complete details with location and times will be posted on this website and cross-promoted to our Arthritis Support Network – Fayetteville, AR. Facebook Page. Please like and follow us!


All group participants agree to adhere to the Support Group Participant Guidelines.



Janet Gilmer

My challenge-filled journey with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia began 29 years ago.  During most of those years, I felt like I was riding a crazy, unpredictable roller coaster but along the way, I learned not only to survive but to thrive in the midst of difficult times.   When my diagnosis came at age thirty-five, my promising career as a registered nurse and pharmaceutical sales rep came to a screeching halt. I was forced to retire from a lucrative job that I loved and take a new one…one I didn’t want;  the job of managing my own health care. 

To add to the stress, I was a new mother of a son with health issues of his own; I had numerous surgeries followed by setbacks; I went through a painful divorce.   But when the smoke began to clear and my health started to stabilize a bit, I wanted to share what I had learned the hard way.   I became an active and involved volunteer in the Arthritis Foundation and accepted numerous leadership roles. I taught self-help and exercise classes, spoke on behalf of AF, chaired large fundraising events and was honored to serve on the Board of Directors.

Through the Arthritis Foundation, I met wonderful people who were on their own journey.  I found such solace in their support and encouragement and they did mine.  All the while, the Arkansas office was a tremendous resource and assisted me every time I reached out for help or information.

So, through the years, I have become of fan of this organization that has helped me…and continues to help so many.  I am thankful that my health has improved to the extent that I once again can co-lead a support group; The Arthritis Support Network…the first of its kind in the state!

I feel blessed to share the AF story. Living with a chronic illness is not the “adventure” I would have chosen but the Arthritis Foundation has been instrumental in showing me the many positives that can be realized with accurate information and by connecting with others.  There can be a wonderful life after a devastating diagnosis.  I am proof of that.


Live Yes! Arthritis Network provides personalized help and support to Adults living with all types of arthritis and rheumatic conditions and Parents/Guardians of children living with arthritis. Our programs offer opportunities for connection, education and empowerment via support groups, online community and conferences.

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