Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disabling disease that results in irreversible damage to cartilage and bone. In addition, people suffering from RA endure debilitating pain caused by chronically inflamed joints. Over the past decades, treatment approaches to ease this pain and slow down joint destruction have evolved, thanks to advanced scientific understanding of this disease and to new research technologies.

However, despite various treatment options, RA is still a difficult disease to manage. Every person is unique and may respond differently to different treatments. An early diagnosis will allow for better management of the symptoms related to RA, because with treatment the inflammation, pain and joint damage can be controlled. Finding the optimal treatment for a particular patient requires an open discussion between them and their doctor, which can sometimes be problematic as the two sides may have different expectations when it comes to a treatment that works for them.

In collaboration with, the national patient organisation for RA, Roche Spain works together with national artists Aitor Saraiba, Ricardo Cavolo and Carla Fuentes on the campaign AnimART to encourage improved communication between RA patients and doctors to ensure early diagnosis and optimal treatment. The three artists captured what living with the disease means to people with RA in a total of 15 illustrations. The illustrations tell the story of this chronic disease and aim to explain the the burden of RA.

Although over 224,000 people suffering from RA in Spain, there are still many misunderstandings that exist around the true impact that this disease has on their lives. The objective of AnimART is to increase awareness and clear up confusion around RA among the general public. Further, the campaign, endorsed by the Sociedad Española Reumatología (National RA Society of Spain), empowers people suffering from RA to take an active role in the management of their disease.

Along with a video featuring comments from the artists and an information brochure for patients, the illustrations are exhibited on the AnimARt campaign website.

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