WI - Milwaukee

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Arthritis Support Network launched: 2016

Arthritis Support Network Leader: Deserae             Type of Arthritis: Juvenile Arthritis

About this Arthritis Support Network:                                     

I look forward to collaborating with the group participants to find our particular group style while creating an all-inclusive, safe and understanding environment filled with empathy, laughter and empowerment.

About:  Deserae

Hi There!  I'm Deserae.  I'm a freelance writer, a poet, a storyteller, a Jedi, an event planner and much more.  I'm also a founding board member of Arthritis Introspective, a former AI national Conference chair and I am now the new Arthritis Support Network Leader for Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis in 1983 at age 8.  After 33 years, "Arthur" and I have found a way to cohabitate in this little, old body of mine. 

Most of my adult life has been spent working and volunteering for non-profit organizations.  I spent six years as a Community Relations Specialist for the American Cancer Society where I led several Relay for Life events throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, raising nearly 1 million dollars for the fight against cancer.  In 2009 with my right hip deteriorating and the physical toll of 24 hour, overnight events wearing out my body, I made the difficult decision to take medical retirement.  Since then I have continued to write while also volunteering for Arthritis Introspective as well as a Milwaukee-based non-profit storytelling organization.  I've been involved with the Arthritis Foundation ever since I was diagnosed, first as an AJAO conference attendee, then as a camper at Camp Wekandu, then attending Washington DC as a national arthritis ambassador and finally as AI and the AF has formed our new partnership.  Being around others with chronic illness, sharing our stories, our laughter and our tears, has been one of the greatest blessings of my life.  I don't know where I would be had I not found my "arthritis-family."

Outside of my writing and volunteer work I enjoy singing karaoke, theater, art shows, reading, checking out new restaurants with friends and family, dancing, crafting and laughing.  We must laugh to make it through this life with a chronic illness.  I look forward to seeing this Arthritis Support Network grow and relationships flourish.  Regardless of our actual illnesses, we Spoonies can all relate to the challenges of life with chronic, autoimmune disease and we all bring our own voice and unique perspective to this incredible support community.

As the Event Chair of the 2015 AI National Gathering Conference in Milwaukee, I met so many people from various parts of Wisconsin all of them looking for a community they could both laugh, cry and grow with.  Some of the attendees had never met someone else diagnosed under the autoimmune arthritis umbrella.  Knowing now that there are people out there who need a safe, understanding space to share their experiences with their illnesses, I feel now is finally the time for me to get a group running in the Greater Milwaukee area.


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 Milwaukee WI Facebook page. Please like and follow us


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


Submitted by Julia Bryant on

Does this Milwaukee group meet at all?  I'm hoping to connect with others.  I don't see anything on the calendar.

Let me know if there are any dates, locations, etc.


Thank you, Julia



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Deserae's picture
Submitted by Deserae on

Julia, I'm so glad you were able to join us at the March meeting and that we were all able to connect. I hope that we see you in April and that you continue your interest in becoming a leader yourself! --Deserae

Groups audience: 

Arthritis Support Network Leader(s)



Arthritis Support Networks provides personalized help and support to adults living with all types of arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Our programs offer opportunities for connection, education and empowerment via support groups and conferences.

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