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The Secret World of Autoimmune Arthritis

We all have preconceptions about everything in life. Arthritis is no different. With autoimmune arthritis conditions accounting for only about 20% of ‘arthritis’ diagnoses, you would be forgiven if the first image that pops into your head is gnarly fingers or that old knee injury. It’s doubtful you’re thinking of a crippled child in hospital or a new mum unable to hold her baby. You probably aren’t thinking about the potential for organ complications, stomach complications, blindness, sepsis or fatigue, nor about the psychological impact of hospital waiting times, medication side effects, or being unable to go to school or do your job. You might think of loneliness or depression as these are complications for anyone with a chronic pain disorder.

Without Wings was established in 2016 to help people understand. If you are affected by autoimmune arthritis, we also believe it is possible to find ways to thrive, not just survive with these illnesses, and we want to help you find your path. We therefore aim to provide easier access to helpful resources.

As well as Without Wing’s free counselling initiative via our partnership with MCH Psychological Therapies, affected persons can therefore apply for discretionary funding towards the following:

  • Complementary health support
  • Physical aids
  • Rehabilitation activities
  • Rehabilitation activities

Short-term home help If you would like to enquire about any of these, or would like to support the charity, either by funding, or becoming a member, please do get in touch. Approximately 1-1.5% of the population have, or are going through, an autoimmune arthritis diagnosis – younger people, older people and even children. This means our Island is home to around 1000 people living with these complex illnesses that, like other autoimmune illnesses such as MS, Diabetes Type 1 and Chrohn’s Disease, occur when a confused immune system attacks healthy tissue.

You are far more than your diagnosis

Jackie Morrey-Grace – Without Wing’s Founder, Trustee and Chair.

Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a Trustee for Without Wings.  As well as playing the piano I love the outdoors, especially kayaking, sea swimming with my two kids and mountain biking – which is how I became friends with Jackie. Having witnessed first hand how quickly autoimmune arthritis can devastate someone so fit and active, it was a great honour to be asked to be a Trustee for Without Wings. I especially enjoy helping out at fairs but also love being part of the decision making process. 

Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a Trustee for Without Wings.  As well as playing the piano I love the outdoors, especially kayaking, sea swimming with my two kids and mountain biking – which is how I became friends with Jackie. Having witnessed first hand how quickly autoimmune arthritis can devastate someone so fit and active, it was a great honour to be asked to be a Trustee for Without Wings. I especially enjoy helping out at fairs but also love being part of the decision making process. 

Trustees Laura – left and Jackie – right

Laura O’Reilly – Trustee

Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a Trustee for Without Wings.  As well as playing the piano I love the outdoors, especially kayaking, sea swimming with my two kids and mountain biking – which is how I became friends with Jackie. Having witnessed first hand how quickly autoimmune arthritis can devastate someone so fit and active, it was a great honour to be asked to be a Trustee for Without Wings. I especially enjoy helping out at fairs but also love being part of the decision making process. 

Suzanne Wild – Trustee & Secretary

Hi, my name’s Suzanne. A working mum of two, I balance the usual juggle of day to day life with trying to get out into the fresh air as much as I can. I’m a member of the local fell running club and enjoy a bike ride or just walking the dog. I’ve been on the island for ten years now and it never fails to delight me with its beautiful varied landscape and rich community. Being such an active person myself, I know how much I value my ability to move freely, and have seen with my own eyes how cruel these illnesses can be. Apparently I’m the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ Trustee – which I’m assured is a good thing! I loved our Tales of the Unexpected Event and I’m really looking forward to the next one in July!

Sue Grace – Trustee & Treasurer

Hi, my name is Sue. I am retired but very busy with family, golf and other organisations, including being secretary of “Friends of Noble’s Hospital.” I am very pleased to be a Trustee of this wonderful charity, ‘Without Wings,’ which my daughter, Jackie has formed after suffering so badly with autoimmune illness. My husband and I are very proud that she is working so hard to help other people in a similar situation. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping out at all our events and really enjoy being Treasurer.

Steph Begbie – Volunteer

Hi, I’m Steph. I’m a busy mum of two and have lived with Psoriatic Arthritis since 2009. I have had a hip replacement and have tried a range of treatments. I am passionate about complementary therapies and diet to help live as full a life as possible with a chronic disease. I am very passionate about Without Wings. Receiving a life changing diagnosis and learning to live with chronic illness can be so traumatic. I wish I’d had this resource when I was first sick. So far I have enjoyed helping out where I can, and am looking forward to organising my own charity fundraiser later this year!