Rheumatoid Arthritis-Inspired Tattoos

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  • Staying Strong and Raising Awareness

    Staying Strong and Raising Awareness

    Our thanks to the wonderful people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who sent in photos of their tattoos as well as the stories behind them. As you have shown, a tattoo can be a great way to remind yourself to stay strong with RA, and to raise awareness of the condition.

    Keep reading to get inspired by people with RA who aren’t afraid to face their condition head on and share their experience with others.

  • Have Faith

    Have Faith

    I have had juvenile idiopathic arthritis since I was 7 years old and now I am 19 years old. About three years ago, the arthritis started to deteriorate my right jaw joint and I ended up getting an implant this year. The reason why I got this tattoo is because it has been an emotional and long battle but I need to have faith and stay strong. My mom got a tattoo with me as well because she wants to support me through this journey. Arthritis sucks!

    — Brittany Melendez

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  • Giving RA the Finger

    Giving RA the Finger

    This tattoo is on my right middle finger, "as I would love to give RA the finger!" My mom had RA and scleroderma. I was diagnosed when I was 49 with RA, lupus, and now with Sjogren's also. I have had a LTKA [left total knee arthroplasty] and multiple joint surgeries. My ring finger in the picture is seven weeks post- tendon and nerve grafting. My hair is permanently dyed purple and blue.

    — Jo Runnwild

  • You’re Not Alone

    You’re Not Alone

    I was diagnosed with RA in December 2011. I've struggled with this disease just in the few short years I have had it. I just got this tattoo in May 2014 for my 40th birthday and I love it so much. When I look down at my foot I'm reminded that he is always walking with me and helping and guiding me with all my steps in life. With him by my side I can conquer anything...even this disease.

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  • The Pain Passes, But the Beauty Remains

    The Pain Passes, But the Beauty Remains

    This is a quote by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He too had RA. Before his death he was confined to his home. He was visited daily by Henri Matisse. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. One day as Matisse watched the elder painter work in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out, “Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?” Renoir said, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

    This inspired me. Not only because Renoir had RA, but because these words touched my heart in a profound way as I realized that my pain was producing a beautiful brokenness. I have never viewed suffering in the same light since then.

    — Shamane LaDue

  • With Pain Comes Strength

    With Pain Comes Strength

    I was diagnosed 19 years ago and my tattoo tells it all — "With pain comes strength." I never knew how strong I was until I had to fight this disease. All the drugs that make you sick and tired, all the people that make you feel like you are crazy.

    — Dorothy Beringer

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  • One Step at a Time

    One Step at a Time

    I’ve been diagnosed for four years. The RA ribbon on my foot reminds me to take my disease one step at a time!

    —Ginger Clinton

  • Bad to the Bone

    Bad to the Bone

    I was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. My entire life has been a struggle. [I did] not fully understand what this disease was doing to me until I got older—realize what it took from me, and what it continues to take from me… people who are in my life have no way in understanding any of what I go through. It sucks—arthritis sucks.

    —Marissa Ankenbauer

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  • Remember Where You Came From

    Remember Where You Came From

    I am 36 years old and the mother of three children. I was diagnosed with RA three years ago, and one of the first places that RA affected was my left wrist—the hand I write with. Every day is a battle, but I refuse to let it take over my life. I always look at this tattoo remind myself of where I came from, and to keep fighting!

    —Shannon

  • Never Giving Up

    Never Giving Up

    This is a reminder to myself to never give up the fight. Placed on my wrist for the world to see… so they may ask questions, to educate others. The colors represent my fight against RA/fibromyalgia, and the angel is for my dad, who lost his battle due to complications from RA. I’m a survivor.

    —Christy

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  • Raising Awareness Daily

    Raising Awareness Daily

    I am 31 years old with severe RA. I got this tattoo four weeks ago. I had the ribbon put on my left finger, as it was my first deformity. It’s permanently bent. My tattoo raises awareness daily, as most people who see my hand ask what it means. I can hold up my crooked bent finger and say, “RA did this to me.”

    —Jenn

  • Live, Love, and Laugh

    Live, Love, and Laugh

    My tattoo reminds me every day to live, love, and laugh. Each ‘L’ looks like a ribbon, and my heart represents my strength to appreciate my life. Each ribbon represents one of my illnesses: asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid disease.

    —Catherine

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