Day 344 – Let’s Do This!

I want people to know what Autoimmune Arthritis is and specifically about Spondyloarthritis – a group of diseases that cause pain and suffering in millions of people. They are Ankylosing Spondylitis, Undifferentiated Spondyloarthropathy, Juvenile Spondyloarthopathy, Psoriatic Arthritis, Reactive Arthritis, and Enteropathic Arthritis.

I want people to understand how challenging these chronic illnesses can make life. I want this so very much because I know personally what it is to live through pain and fatigue as well as the confusion of looking for years for answers to the pain that was robbing huge chunks of my life away. I know how difficult it is to continue on day after day and put on a happy face because you are afraid people will judge you if they know what you are dealing with. I want understanding and empathy for my AS family. I wanted it when I didn’t know them, just what they went through. But I want it even more now (I didn’t think it was possible) because I’ve traveled this last year with them. I’ve heard and understood what they are going through. All of you who’ve been with me, or just joined me, or I’ve yet to meet. I’ve been making apples in the hopes they will help spread understanding and awareness.

I have been making apples.

I paint them, I draw them and I use string and glue, pastels and acrylics. I use apple images to create and build day after day so that one day I’ve got something big. Something that cannot be ignored or turned aside, something that hopefully will gain the attention of people who have no understanding of what we endure. At least that has been my hope. I felt that if I could build something big enough, I’d have a way to get people to slow down and take a look. Even if that look was for a few minutes, those few minutes are all we need to say, “please hear us, share our stories and help us find a cure…”

I’m not good at asking for help. I never want to impose on anyone or burden others but I’m going to ask you all to share this story with me. With your help it becomes about all of us and it becomes bigger and continues to grow and with your participation more and more people may take those few minutes to slow down and learn about this disease.

I simply ask for 5 minutes of your time, maybe your child’s time, and maybe even their entire class or church group or neighborhood can take the time to create an apple. A piece of art that stands for something so much bigger. I then ask you to photograph or scan them, post them all over with the simple phrase “Please hear us and help us turn the blue apple green for a cure for Spondylitis” or use your words and share whatever is in your heart. I will be painting apples in NYC – The Big Apple – for 24hrs straight because I need people to hear us. It is my personal way to try to make that happen – I’d love and so appreciate it if you join me.

If you can come to the event please bring your family and share our coming together as a community and help us support the organization that gives us so much – we’ll be raising funds for the Spondylitis Association of America. For any apples received via mail or email – I will take them to NYC as part of the fundraiser. Your apples will be raising money too! I think I can paint 200 apples in 24hrs – my challenge to you is for all of us to match the last year of apples I created each day. Can we gather 175 more apples? I know we can! Paint one, paint two, paint as many as you can! And, here’s the really super news… the SAA has been awarded a challenge grant this month from the Jean & E. Floyd Kvamme Foundation that will match donations dollar for dollar up to $50,000! Can you imagine if we could match those funds! The amount of good the SAA can do with $100,000 is staggering!

For those who can’t be at the event. From wherever you are from all over the world, please be with us in spirit and post those apples on Facebook pages and on twitter and wherever else you can. Email them to the President, to Oprah, to your local governments or Spondylitis Group. Our apples can make a difference!

Please email your apples as a .jpg or .gif to Your apple via email will be printed out once and be sold in conjunction with the fundraising efforts for this event. You retain all artist copyrights beyond this one fundraising use. You will be contacted if there are any other ways we’d like to show or use your art to ask your permission. If you are sending a digital image we ask you keep the original in a safe place – future goals are for exhibits of all our apples!

I will include the guest apples I’ve received at The Feeding Edge over the last year. For apples to be included in the Apple-A-Thon fundraiser event, your apples need to be emailed directly to me at the address above or sent to my P.O. Box (address on Contact Me page) Due to the amount of time it is taking to plan and prepare for this event, the apples may not be posted on the Guest Apples Page of The Feeding Edge until after the event. All apples will be posted on The Feeding Edge FB page – please make sure you’ve *liked* the page to see and share your apples! Apples, photos and video of the Apple-A-Thon will be posted there as well as close to live as possible! Please join me … “Be part of the story, be part of the cure!”

Until tomorrow.


Day 344 was created in grease pencil, watercolor, and pastels.

10 Replies to “Day 344 – Let’s Do This!”

    1. Oh my goodness – wasn’t supposed to be a “speech” more of a rallying cry! I do know you support me Vic – and I’m so very very glad 🙂 I know you’ll be in NYC in spirit!

  1. Hi Jenna,

    That was put very well & very informative .

    I have 3 different kinds of Arthritis but manage quite well.

    Vic is my next door neighbor who is a great guy. He looks after my friend and I who are seniors that find it hard to do the yard work summer as well as winter so he does it for us.

    Good luck on your coming event. I hope you get a great turn out.


    1. Hi Trudy,
      Thank you very much 🙂

      Vic has been such amazing support to me and hearing how he helps you and your friend I can see that we both know that he is a kind and generous person.

      Goodness – arthritis affects so many of us. I’ve glad to hear you are able to manage it well.

      It will be a wonderful event – I simply cannot wait!


  2. Question if I get permission from my boy’s teachers to do this as an art project will that help? They won’t be of high quality like yours. Just kinders and 2nd graders.

    Be honest please.

    And if they do it can they include thier first name and age? I’ll print the ‘verbiage’ and give the teachers copies to hand out.

    But. Would kid art not really help?

    I could prob get the church day care they went to to do it to. I just don’t want to send you apples you can’t use.

    Again, please be honest. I’m talking crayons here…

    1. Every apple will be glorious. Each one will show support of our cause. I know I’d love each “crayon” apple we get… and I know everyone with AS will too. Those apples will support the cause of AS awareness and the hope to one day find a cure.

      Please send every apple that is created and made for “Apples For AS” – every apple has value – no matter how it is made or from who it is made.

      Crayons welcome and encouraged!!!

  3. Geez. Ignore my last comment please. Having seizureish stuff again tonight. Since you wrote above that kid apples are welcome, i will gladly get some!!

    Ill talk to the teachers and get it done.

    I’m excited. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Two of my best friends are painters. I’ll see if they’ll help too.

    You rock, my inspirational friend

    Ps ignore typos. iPhone hates me

  4. You absolutely Rock Jena…I will say a prayer for you that you are able to reach that goal. You are right the hardest challenge that we face is having people understand us, especially when we look “OK” to them. Now that I think about it the only one that really understood was my mom who was with me when I went through a serious flare 11 years ago, that finally resulted in the proper diagnosis. She still understands now even though she is in heaven with the lord… Thanks Jenna

  5. You inspire me, my dear friend! So proud to share a name with you and Stand Tall with this disease together.

    Thank you sooooo much for all you have done, are doing, and will do for Ankylosing Spondylitis.


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