Autoimmune Portrait Project

RA Guy Community News 11 Comments


Adina, age 30.
Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age 29 and lupus at age 30.
Photo © Jodi McKee


Brian, age 47.
Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and degenerative spondylolisthesis at age 38.
Photo © Jodi McKee

View the complete project at

“I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2008 and started this portrait project of people who have RA and other autoimmune diseases as a way to cope with my illness and spread awareness about invisible illnesses.  My hope for this project is to show the world that there are a lot of younger people out there who are dealing with complicated and often painful chronic illnesses.  Also, I think it is so important for the newly diagnosed to be able to see all of these beautiful, happy faces and know that they are not alone.” -Jodi McKee

If you are interested in participating; please contact Jodi.

Comments 11

  1. jodi

    thanks so much for the shout out! this project makes me so happy. and i’m always on the look out for new subjects, so if any of you are in the NYC area, please let me know!

  2. Deborah

    What a spectacular idea! Anyway, every way, which ever way the word gets out will make this a better place for people with these diseases.

  3. Belinda

    What a fabulous idea…I am not in NY, but am 30 recently diagnoised with RA…but face every day that people tell me “I look well” or “nice” yet I feel horrible … Having RA is hard for many to understand because they can’t see it. good luck with your project 🙂

  4. Sarah Macdonald

    What a great idea! I was diagnosed with severe RA in April 2010. I thought it meant the end to many of my favorite activities. It was seeing and meeting vibrant and healthy people living with RA that helped me realize I could live a full life with it.

    And guess what – by the fall of 2010 I was back playing roller derby with my league up here in Maine. Yes, I play roller derby with RA! It’s not always easy and it’s a huge balancing act, but I’m determined to do everything I possibly can while living with this disease.

    Good luck with your project; it’s exactly what the RA community needs to see.

  5. Rosa

    I love this! Thank you so much taking creating such a special project. It will serve a great purpose for so many people. I have had RA for almost four years now, but in so many ways I am still in the struggling process of acceptance. I will go through the pictures in this photo project, and their profiles, with tears in my eyes; finally finding peace knowing that I am not alone. As for my personal situation, I have found inspiration in my children, 2 and 7 years old, and I thank God for them because I would have otherwise just curled up into a ball and given up.

  6. Cammie

    What a wonderful idea. I live way out in Phoenix, but I think as others do that anyway we can get the word out would be great. Anything to bring awareness. I am one of the older faces of RA. I was diagnosed when I was 46. However, it took 1-1/2 years for my RA to get recognized and diagnosed. The RA did everything it could possibly do me and yet no doctor would figure it out. Some didn’t even try. I was accused of everything from being a cry baby to being a hypochondriac. I was at my lowest when finally I received my diagnosis. I cried, not so much from learning I had an incurable chronic disease but from realizing I wasn’t crazy and it wasn’t all in my head.

    Now I struggle with getting people to understand just how RA affects me. Most people say you look wonderful, or just be glad it isn’t cancer or some life threatening thing. I am often still accused of being a cry baby. They can’t see anything physically wrong so the assume it can’t be as bad as I say. It is maddening at times.

    Best of luck with your project. We need more things such as this to bring awareness and understanding for those of us who suffer with this disease. I also feel that through better awareness and understanding of this disease will come more research into this horrible disease and that one day there may be a cure.

  7. Patty

    I was diagnosed at age 29. I had 2 small girls to raise. It was so hard. Now I’ve had RA 34 years and many joint surgeries.
    It is so sad that when I was diagnosed in 1977 the medical “plan” was to start with the mildest medication and then, while I suffered over time, gradually build until, years layer, I was put on Methotrexate and just this year, ratuxin. Needless to say, by this time my joints are deteriorated and crooked.

    I love this website and I thank you for being so creative in your treatment. I do see this as part of your treatment and treatment for all of us; speaking the truth of these diseases and knowing that others really hear it.

    Thank you.

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  9. Daniel Wilde

    I have had R/A now for almost 29 years. I like web sites like this for gives you feeling of not alone. Just about every Joint in my body is effected plus my lungs and sometimes heart. I’m Thankful everyday that I live in the great country of the United States of America with the best medical Doctors in the world.

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