WI - Milwaukee

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Live Yes! Connect launched: 2016

Live Yes! Connect Facilitator: Deserae     Type of Arthritis: Juvenile Arthritis

Live Yes! Connect Facilitator: Kristine      Type of Arthritis: RA, OA, Raynauds, Sjogrens

About this Live Yes! Connect Group:                       

We look forward to collaborating with the group participants to find our particular group style while creating an all-inclusive, safe and understanding environment filled with empathy, laughter and empowerment. Our vision for this group is for people with all types of arthritis to connect, whether you are newly diagnosed or a seasoned veteran. We can all learn from each other.

About:  Deserae

Hi There!  I'm Deserae.  I'm a freelance writer, a poet, a storyteller, a Jedi, an event planner and much more.  I'm also a founding board member of Arthritis Introspective, a former AI national Conference chair and I am now the facilitator for Live Yes! Connect Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1983 at age 8.  After 33 years, "Arthur" and I have found a way to cohabitate in this little, old body of mine. 

Most of my adult life has been spent working and volunteering for non-profit organizations.  I spent six years as a Community Relations Specialist for the American Cancer Society where I led several Relay for Life events throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, raising nearly 1 million dollars for the fight against cancer.  In 2009 with my right hip deteriorating and the physical toll of 24 hour, overnight events wearing out my body, I made the difficult decision to take medical retirement.  Since then I have continued to write while also volunteering for the Arthritis Support Network as well as a Milwaukee-based non-profit storytelling organization.  I've been involved with the Arthritis Foundation ever since I was diagnosed, first as an AJAO conference attendee, then as a camper at Camp Wekandu, then attending Washington DC as a national arthritis ambassador and finally as AI and the AF has formed our new partnership.  Being around others with chronic illness, sharing our stories, our laughter and our tears, has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I don't know where I would be had I not found my "arthritis-family."

Outside of my writing and volunteer work I enjoy singing karaoke, theater, art shows, reading, checking out new restaurants with friends and family, dancing, crafting and laughing.  We must laugh to make it through this life with a chronic illness.  I look forward to seeing this group grow and relationships flourish.  Regardless of our actual illnesses, we Spoonies can all relate to the challenges of life with chronic, autoimmune disease and we all bring our own voice and unique perspective to this incredible support community.

As the Event Chair of the 2015 AI National Gathering Conference in Milwaukee, I met so many people from various parts of Wisconsin all of them looking for a community they could both laugh, cry and grow with.  Some of the attendees had never met someone else diagnosed under the autoimmune arthritis umbrella.  Knowing now that there are people out there who need a safe, understanding space to share their experiences with their illnesses, I feel now is finally the time for me to get a group running in the Greater Milwaukee area.

About: Kristine

I'm married, and we have a dog and 2 cats. I love to read and still go the library weekly even though I have a Kindle. There is something about holding an actual book. I am passionate about gardening and am very glad that my husband can kneel to plant things even though I can't, Love to cook and eat.

I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis many years ago. I have had both knees replaced, have had a spinal fusion and numerous other surgeries due to OA. I have Fibromyalgia as well. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis, along with raynauds and sjogrens.

I still have hope that they will find cures or even better treatments for what we are going through. In the meantime, laughter keeps me going.

I am joining Deserae in facilitating this group.  She and I seem to have the same sense of humor and we compassion for people. We live near each other, so it makes it easy to work together on projects, carpooling, etc. Plus, I just like her.


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Meeting Location and Times: 

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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 Live Yes! Connect Groups, Online Community and Conferences.

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