CA - West Los Angeles

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Live Yes! Connect launched: 2010

Live Yes! Connect Facilitator: Haydee            Type of Arthritis: Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis

Live Yes! Connect Facilitator: Ashton              Type of Arthritis: JIA

About this Live Yes! Connect group:

Together we are empowering people to not just survive with arthritis but to thrive! 

About Haydee:

Hello, my name is Haydee (pronounced Heidi) and I am the facilitator for the Live Yes! Connect group in West Los Angeles. Together we are creating a Fun, Empowering, and Supportive Community and Network of People Living with Arthritis and Rheumatic diseases.

You may be wondering why I took on organizing and facilitating a group. Simply - there is a real need for a group on the Westside and I got tired of waiting for someone else to step up and start any kind "local" arthritis support group. After attending my second Arthritis Introspective conference I was in my rheumatologist’s office and heard another patient say she wished there was a group on the Westside. It was like the universe was kicking me in the pants, saying “Come on already - call Kevin Purcell and get yourself trained to lead a local support group”. So I made the call and haven’t looked back.

So what makes me qualified to be a group leader?   Well, for over fifty years I have been on the Rheumatoid Arthritis rollercoaster. I was diagnosed with JRA at the age of seven and have dealt with being a young person living with an “old” person’s disease. I've had multiple surgeries including bilateral hip replacements. Like most people living with arthritis I have tried almost every treatment out there. My condition is currently controlled through a combination of medications & self-management techniques. In 2004 I choose to "medically retire" after working for 25 years in retail as an Operations and Human Resources Manager. In 2016 I returned to the workforce and am the Director of Live Yes! Arthritis Network  training for the Arthritis Foundation National Office.  I am thrilled to be training new faclitators and rolling out new Live Yes! Connect groups across the country.

I am someone who loves volunteering and making a difference as my energy and condition permits. I volunteer as the West Los Angeles Arthritis Support Network Leader. I've also volunteered with the Greater Los Angeles office of the Arthritis Foundation as a Speakers Bureau Chairperson, Certified Speaker, and Arthritis Advocate to educate people about living with arthritis. I'm trained to facilitate Stanford’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.

One of the things I have learned is that it makes a world of difference to connect with people who "really" understand what we deal with and get it. Living with a chronic illness can be super challenging especially when you are still young. It can be so overwhelming balancing it all - working, relationships, navigating the healthcare system, managing one’s health etc. It is important to educate ourselves, to have fun and get to a place where you are not just surviving arthritis but are thriving. The West Los Angeles Arthritis Support Network is accomplishing this through a combination of social and educational activities. So, no sitting in a church basement, drinking stale coffee, and being negative. I’m all about exploring new places, seeing things and looking for the positives in life.

If you are living with Arthritis and its related rheumatic conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Arthritis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis or Osteoarthritis, newly diagnosed with arthritis, a seasoned vet or somewhere in between, you are invited to join us. And yes loved ones and friends are more than welcome!  If I were to use three words to sum up AI they are Connect, Empower and Educate.   I look forward to connecting and meeting you soon!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!


About: Ashton

I was diagnosed with JRA at the age of 2 and have been living with it since. I would like them to know that accepting our lives is not easy but is possible and that through acceptance we can still have a light in our life.

My vision for this group is to make it even more of a safe space for its members to share their stories and their feelings. Connecting with others that share the experience of living with rheumatic diseases and being supportive of one another is important, so I'd like to make that social aspect a strong part of each meeting.

I became a facilitator to have more opportunities to advocate for the Foundation not only locally via the group, but on a larger scale.


To join this Live Yes! Connect group, please click 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 see upcoming dates and to RSVP your attendance.

Complete details with location and times will be posted on this website and cross promoted to our Facebook page. Please like and follow us!


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Haydee's picture


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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