At the young of 29, Eileen Davidson was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic illness which is the leading cause of long-term disability in Canadians of working age. Being a single mother to a son who was only two years old at the time, she quickly realized she couldn’t allow her condition to take over her life and began pursuing ways to get involved in raising awareness for the condition she was learning to live with.
In 2017, Eileen became a volunteer and ambassador for the Arthritis Society, the leading charitable organization funding arthritis-based research in Canada. In 2017 and 2019, she was invited on the Canadian morning show Breakfast Television to raise awareness for the annual Walk for Arthritis and to speak about her personal journey with RA.
Eileen also created her personal blog in 2017, Chronic Eileen, to share her experience living with RA, educate others about the devastating effects of arthritis on 1 in 5 Canadians who are diagnosed with it, and provide a voice for other people living with various forms of arthritis. Since the inception of her blog, her work has been published in a wide range of digital and print media, including local newspapers like The Georgia Straight and Burnaby Now, and in internationally recognized publications such as The Mighty, Reader's Digest, Inked Magazine, Daily Mail UK, Health Central, Personal Health News and more.
Her blog has won awards from digital media companies like Healthline and Everyday Health for being one of the “best blogs of 2019” and the “top 10 arthritis blogs to follow in 2020”, respectively. In both 2018 and 2019, Eileen was invited to attend the HealthVoices Conference, a leadership program created for individuals who use social platforms to advocate for themselves and their communities. Beyond writing for her own blog, she is also a regular contributor on Creaky Joints, a free resource website focusing on arthritis support, education and advocacy.
Eileen has also been an active patient partner in arthritis-related research efforts. Since 2018, she has sat on the patient advisory board for Arthritis Research Canada (ARC), North America's largest arthritis-based research centre. In addition to providing a patient perspective on ARC’s ongoing research efforts, she also curates its seasonal newsletter. In 2019, Eileen was sponsored by ARC to attend the American College of Rheumatology Conference to represent the patient voice.
Through these engagement efforts and many more, Eileen is a true champion of what patient advocacy looks like. We’re grateful for both her voice and her unwavering commitment to raising the profile of arthritis. Thank you, Eileen!