IL - Chicagoland

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Arthritis Support Network launched: 2016

Arthritis Support Network Leader: Candice                       Type of Arthritis: Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD), Fibromyalgia

Arthritis Support Network Leader: Heidi                            Type of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia

Arthritis Support Network Leader: Ruby                            Type of Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Neuropathy & Psoriasis

About this Arthritis Support Network:  

Our vision for this group is to provide an inviting environment for those whose daily lives are impacted by arthritis. We want to create a space where members can educate, uplift and have fun with each other.

About: Candice

I am excited to become an Arthritis Support Network Leader and help bring an Arthritis Support Network to Chicagoland. I live in Chicago.  My CPPD (Pseudogout) started to display symptoms at age 19, along with quite a few "secondary" conditions.  So you could say I am well versed in chronic medical trauma. My new hip is likely the first of many bionic parts.  However, I've learned to embrace all of this over time.  I only wish I would have found the Arthritis Support Network sooner!

I attended my first AI Gathering in 2015 and it was such a relief to find people "who just get it."  These people who then quickly become extended family. It is quite therapeutic, educational, uplifting...and just flat out fun.  I want to make this experience tangible in my new city.  Our group also plans to provide unique events for those who love someone with a chronic illness.

About: Heidi

Hi! I'm Heidi and I was diagnosed with RA and Fibromyalgia in 2014.   Adjusting to life the first two years after recieving my diagnoses was very hard.  I encountered many learning curves during that time, including the addition of medications, treatments, doctor appointments, changes to my body and the devastating realization of certain activities I could no longer do.  During these hard times, I knew I needed support and unfortunately searched in vain for a support group to join. 

This all changed in 2016 when I joined the newly formed Chicagoland, IL Arthritis Support Network.  It was very comforting knowing everyone in this group just "got" it; they truly understood and empathized with my unique experience of living with Arthritis.  I was also exposed to the wide range of treatments and coping methods they utilized in their own lives living with Arthritis. The Chicagoland Support Network had been a bright light amongst this otherwise painful disease.

I am currently working at a hospital as the Outreach Coordinator for the Laboratory. a job I find to be very personally rewarding.  On a day-to-day basis, my job requires that I coordinate the blood draws for health fairs, nursing homes and non-ambulatory patients.  My job is very personally rewarding and is the reason why I continue to work. When I have some free time and if I am able, I enjoy gardening and cooking.

I am very much looking forward to being a co-leader of the Chicagoland IL Arthritis Support Network.  As a former member of Chicagoland myself, I can personally attest to the positive impact joining a support network has on someones quality of life.  I am eager to return the favor by providing the same support I had once recieved to others, as I believe nobody should have to deal with Arthritis alone.  During my time as a co-leader, I will continue to learn, educate, empower others and be empowered, all while having a few laughs in the meantime.

About: Ruby

Hello, my name is Ruby and I am one of the Arthritis Support Network Leaders for the Arthritis Support Network in the Chicagoland Area. I live in Hanover Park and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) at the age of 20 and within the last 11+ years, I have subsequently also been diagnosed with Neuropathy and Psoriasis. I have been married for over 10 years to my husband, Elias and we have two children, Richard and Natalie. My son Richard has been living with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) since he was two years old. It has been through him that I have been inspired to get more involved with the Arthritis Foundation and Arthritis Support Network. I believe in their mission and share their passion for the future and that is why I am so happy and excited to help organize and facilitate an Arthritis Support Network. After attending my first Arthritis Foundation conference, I no longer feel alone and I have seen and felt the importance and the benefit of having a positive, fun, and empowering support system and that is what I hope to create and sustain with our group.

I am currently a part-time substitute teacher and I volunteer on two PTO boards at my children’s schools. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Roosevelt University in 2012 and I am an Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional. Before I had to “medically retire” I used to be a domestic violence counselor at a shelter and I used to be a public speaker on domestic violence issues. Unfortunately, my RA has always been very aggressive and constant that it has been very difficult to have a normal everyday job but I love being a substitute teacher and volunteering at my kid’s school.

I have searched for a support group in my area for a long time and I have yet to find one. I am so excited to jump at the chance to create and run one because I know that there is a great need for a support group in my area and all the benefits that people will get by participating in one.


To join this Arthritis Support Network, 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 RSVP your attendance.

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


All subscribers to this group agree to adhere to the Support Group Participant Guidelines.



Submitted by Zina Camblin on

Hello Candice!


I would like to join the group!



Candice, Heidi and Ruby's picture
Submitted by Candice, Heidi ... on

It is so important to note that Spouses/Partners/Significant Others, Family and Friends are also encouraged to attend our AI Chicago meetings! Thanks for joining the group.   We intend to provide educational and fun activities for those who love someone with a chronic illness, as Arthritis Support Network does at the conference.  This has been very insightful and uplifting for everyone in our "tribe."  We look forward to getting more people to join and share their experiences!

Submitted by Justine Gianandrea on

Hi Candice. I'm looking forward to being a part of the group! Please let me know if there are any next steps. 




Candice, Heidi and Ruby's picture
Submitted by Candice, Heidi ... on

Hi Justine!


Thanks for joining AI Chicago!  We look forward to meeting you and hearing your story.  Our first meeting will be a meet and greet on Sept 24th at 11am.  Click here to RSVP for the event:  Hope to see you there!  We'll be sure to send you updates on any future events moving forward thru the email list.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email/call me in the meanwhile.  :)



Jasmine Johnson's picture
Submitted by Jasmine Johnson on
Hello Candice, I would so much like to join a support a support group. R.A. is such an isolated illness and I would like to draw strength from others and vise verca.

Candice, Heidi and Ruby's picture
Submitted by Candice, Heidi ... on

Jasmine, so true my friend!  Welcome to AI Chicago.  I hope you have received my email and Facebook message.  Please let me know if you are having any trouble registering for the group.  There are many of us who share your feelings, which is why these support groups are essential.  You won't feel isolated for long... come out and connect with people who "just get it" and will be empowered by your experiences and stories.  We need you too!  :)  Thanks for reaching out.



Submitted by Mary Nair on

Hi, Candace and Ruby. I was diagnosed with RA about 2 years ago. Really looking for some emotional support on this damp, cold Chicago day. Would be very interesting in attending group meetings if you have them.


Groups audience: 

Submitted by Yessi on

Hi Candace and Ruby,

I was wondering if you have an upcoming meet and greet? I would like to join.


Groups audience: 

Candice, Heidi and Ruby's picture
Submitted by Candice, Heidi ... on

Every month is a meet and greet!  We welcome new members to join us any time.  We typically meet monthly, on the second Saturday of the month (we took off September 2017).  Keep checking the event page and be sure to sign up for upcoming events! You can also follow us on Facebook. Hope to see you in October!  :)

Groups audience: 


Candice, Heidi and Ruby


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 support groups, online community and conferences.

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