Show Us Your Hands! Annual Report: Empowerment and Pride

SUYH-Logo-128x128To celebrate the first anniversary of Show Us Your Hands! as a non-profit, the Board of Directors is writing a series of blog posts about the past year. Each of us writes about a different topic, relevant to us as individuals, to the organization and to the community. We welcome your comments and hope you’ll share these posts with others to continue the conversation. In the first post, Jessica Murphy, Director of Communications, writes about empowerment and pride (part of our vision and values) and how acceptance has influenced her own journey towards acceptance.

In our first year as a non profit, defining our core organisational vision and values has been an important step towards developing our culture and objectives. We aimed to create a vision that captured the spirit and purpose of our organisation. Pride and Empowerment are central themes in our vision, and for me personally they are at the very core of my journey with inflammatory arthritis. We want people to see the positive side of their disease, feel proud of their bodies. Encouraging people to feel empowered and take ownership of their disease is very important. These themes help us refocus as an organisation and ensure that everything we do has a purpose that supports these aims. Our vision and values guide our decision making and ground us.

Recently I defined my personal values for the first time. This was a challenging but liberating process; it helps me realise the importance of integrity, acceptance and reflection in my own life (3 of my core values). As a team we are getting better at taking a step back to check that our actions reflect our goals, but I realised I rarely do this in my personal life. Through Show Us Your Hands! I have developed a stronger sense of what is important to me, and learnt how through clearly defining my core values I ensure I live by them every day.

Embracing acceptance has empowered me; it has given me the freedom to come to terms with my disease and focus my energy on things that are within my control, instead of raging against them. I no longer ‘suffer from’ arthritis, I ‘live with’ arthritis. I call it ‘my arthritis’. Because it is mine! In a funny way, I love it. I know I would not be the person I am today without it. My arthritis has given me the gift of patience. I am accepting of both my own limitations and am not angry with myself if I can’t do things. I am more accepting of others for who they are (and not who I want them to be). I am more reflective, and consder my actions more carefully. I am also more self aware, as I have a lot of time to think about how others actions affect me (for example people kicking my walking stick on the tube). This in turn helps me consider how my actions affect others. So I am all round a better person! And for that reason, if I had the choice, I would choose to have arthritis. It is a terrible yet wonderful disease, and my life without it would be less rich.

Looking ahead, I am excited about what 2014 will bring. Our organisation is starting to take off. I am looking forward to continue to work with my fabulous Directors, and raise the profile of Show Us Your Hands!, empowering and taking pride in our bodies.

Jessica Murphy
Show Us Your Hands! Director of Communication
December 11, 2013

Show Us Your Hands! is a nonprofit charity organization that aims to unite and inspire people who live with inflammatory arthritis. For more information, please visit


Name My Cane!



Thanks to the hundreds of people who suggested a name for my cane. (You can see all of the wonderful ideas here and here.) I have created a short list of my favorites, and would like you–my friends and supporters–to make the final decision!


Update: The winning name is Eileen-as in I lean! Thanks to everyone who took part in the Name My Cane contest–it was a lot of fun, and I now have a great story to share whenever someone asks why my cane is named Eileen.

Don’t forget, when it comes to stuff like having to use canes, crutches, or any other assistive device, be sure to have as much fun as you possible can!


Too Young For Arthritis

This film features young people discussing what it’s really like to have an ‘older person’s illness’ at such a young age and the impact that it has on their everyday lives.

The young people talk very openly and honestly about some very sensitive and difficult issues, including coping with treatments, hidden disability and their experience of being a long term patient.

arthritis-care-logo2At Arthritis Care, we believe that people with arthritis need much more than well-meaning sympathy. They, and their families and friends, need support, understanding, information and expertise, so that they can cope better and get the most out of life.

That’s exactly what our organisation does, through a wide range of services designed to improve life for everyone with arthritis.

If you are affected by arthritis we can support you through our helplines and self-management courses; our information and booklets; our local groups; and our campaigns to change attitudes and improve services.

People with arthritis are central to everything we do, and are involved at every level of the organisation. We need your support to represent people with arthritis, and to maintain and develop our services. You can beinvolved as a member, a donor, a subscriber or a volunteer. Your support is vital.

Arthritis Care works on behalf of over 700,000 people in Scotland who are affected by arthritis. It provides services and support for people with all types of arthritis, their families, and those who work with them.

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Live Art.fully: The Art Of Living Well With A Chronic Condition

Live Art.fullyby Jennifer Le Blanc

“This is the first post of a new blog series. The posts in this series will include my thoughts on a variety of subjects, all beginning with “The Art of.”

Today I want to talk about the Art of Living Well with a Chronic Condition. [...]

Create or maintain a support system. When you are able, be there for others. When you need help, learn to ask for it, and accept it. Severe levels of chronic pain quickly cause a sense of isolation. That sense of being alone can be detrimental to your well-being. Reach out! [...]

I hope something here helps you when you are struggling with your reality. Life still has a great deal to offer, and you are not alone!”

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