Our highlights of the year

24 December 2019
Our highlights of 2019 with fundraisers, families and events.

A massive thank you to each and every one of you who’ve come together to help us raise awareness of the impact of arthritis. From our volunteers, researchers, campaigners and to those you who’ve shared your stories. Together we’re making real headway and we're committed to do more in 2020.

As the year draws to a close, we want to share our biggest achievements with you. 

Adding your voice 

We continued to push back against arthritis with our #DefyArthritis campaign this year. To date over 80,000 people have chosen to stand with people with arthritis. 

“Thanks to the awareness that’s being raised I’ve gone from being a really private person about my condition to feeling like I no longer have to dismiss my pain and that I don't have to let it define me.” 


And because of that, people like Kaytie now feel empowered to speak about their arthritis, rather than feel like they need to hide it away. If you haven’t already, you can still join us.

Taking action  

This year, we've continued to campaign relentlessly to increase public understanding of the impact of arthritis. Our priorities have focused on: 

  • Ensuring people with arthritis have the support they need to stay in or return to workRead more in our Working it Out report. 
  • Getting the needs of people with arthritis up the political agenda. In May, MPs demanded an improvement in workplace support for people with arthritis during a debate on arthritis and employment in Parliament.Read more. 
  • Recommending improvements to local and national government to improve access to home aids and adaptationsThese can have a positive impact on the quality of life of people with arthritisRead Christine’s story. 
  • Making sure that people with arthritis who need joint replacement surgery get it in a timely fashion 

Collectively and as individuals, we've pushed to make a difference. Our campaigner, Frances shared her story about her experiences of an agonising waiting for joint replacement surgery. Watch her powerful interview with the BBC here. 

As part of the 2019 General Election campaign, thousands of you asked your MP to champion the needs of people with arthritis and hundreds of candidates pledged their support. You’ve taken over 11,000 online actions to push for change and demand more from the government.  

In addition, thanks to the lobbying by families and campaigning by Cymru Versus Arthritis, together with the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) and the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR). Funding has been allocated to set up Wales’s first full time paediatric rheumatology service this year.

"This milestone shows how powerful the voice of young people with arthritis and their families can be when we campaign together for change.” 

Hywel Evans, Policy and Engagement Manager Wales. 

If you aren't already a member of our Campaigns Network, please sign up now and we'll be in touch with ways you can get involved. 

Our inspiring fundraisers

Hundreds of you have got involved and raised more than £770,000 to ensure that everyone with arthritis gets the support they need. 

Collectively, you’ve held hundreds held countless coffee mornings and cake sales, ran 8,080 miles, walked 2,531 miles, cycled 6,702 miles and swam 460 miles! The amazing Wilson family climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in loving memory of their father and granddad. Read their story.

A special thanks goes to our fabulous volunteers like Allison, who tirelessly dedicate their time, energy and expertise to provide support and advice to people with arthritis. From running exercise classes, organising fundraising events to meeting up for a chat over coffee. We couldn't do any of this without you.

Making headway with research 

Here’s some of our research highlights from the last 12 months.

  • The Cloudy with a Chance of Pain study indicates that people with long-term health conditions can be more likely to suffer from pain on days that are humid and windy with low atmospheric pressure
  • We secured £12 million of matched government funding and are committing a £12 million investment to improve understanding and develop better treatments for the millions of people who live with persistent musculoskeletal pain. This is the biggest single investment in pain research in the UK and our largest single commitment to research ever. Read more
  • Celebrating 30 years of the Norfolk Arthritis register (NOAR). This is the largest community-based study in the world looking at the onset, development and long-term impact of inflammatory arthritis.The study has provided important data on potential risk factors and responses to treatment, revolutionising the way healthcare professionals treat rheumatoid arthritis.

We're committed to the research we do, working tirelessly to find new treatments, cures and help people with arthritis live better with the condition.

Sharing challenges together

Your honesty in sharing has helped to inspire others and increase awareness about the reality of living with arthritis from your good days to your bad and the people in your life who support you.

We are here for you

  • You’ve had over 11,000 conversations with the virtual assistant this year, and this has given us a wealth of information about what really matters to you in your everyday lives.

  • We're really proud of our helpline, and this year we've had over 14,000 calls. The work the advisors do to help discuss issues and questions asked by people with arthritis really shows that you don’t need to face arthritis alone. 

Don't forget... 

Over Christmas, our helpline is closed from 12pm Christmas Eve and will reopen at 9am on 2nd January. You can visit our virtual assistant or online community, if you need support. 

Thank you

We know how much strength it takes to live with arthritis. When you need support, we're here to help in whatever way you or your friends and family need us – on the phone, online or in person.

Together, we'll do more to make arthritis visible and make sure no one lives with the pain, fatigue and isolation of the condition.