On the lowest, darkest days of living with the symptoms of PsA, it can feel like many possibilities in life are shut out because of the condition. On these days it can be tough to feel motivated, but sometimes we find that it’s helpful to remember that there are people living with PsA who are doing truly incredible things. From Paralympians to playwrights and world famous musicians, we’ve found some of the amazing people who didn’t let their PsA stop them achieving their dreams.
Pam Relph was just seven years old when she was diagnosed with PsA, and was devastated when the condition forced her to quit her job in the UK military aged just 20. But this proved to be the start of an exciting new adventure for Pam, who turned to rowing and within a year was a world rowing champion. Pam then stormed to gold medal success in the 2012 Paralympics as part of a coxed fours.
Speaking about her journey, Pam reflected “It took me a good year to come to terms with trying to compete as a disabled person. I never would have considered myself to have a disability. I didn’t want to allow my condition to beat me. It wasn’t long before I realised that going to the Paralympics isn’t second best. I have this condition and I am not going to let it beat me. Going to the Paralympics was proving to myself that I was the super tough person I thought I was. The competition was fierce and you find yourself training alongside the Olympic team.”
Considered one of the greatest ever pianists, Janis was a musical prodigy at the age of just 4 and defied the arthritic symptoms of PsA to dedicate his life to his work. Having previously adapted his playing style in an attempt to hide his condition, in 1985 he began to speak publicly about living with PsA. He noted "arthritis has taught me to look inside myself for new sources of strength and creativity. It has given my life a new intensity. I have arthritis, but it does not have me."
Diagnosed in 2010, Pro golfer Phil Mickelson has become one of the PsA community’s most vocal advocates, and works closely with the Arthritis Foundation and US National Psoriasis Foundation to raise awareness of the disease and the importance of early treatment.
Phil first started noticing twinges in his ankle and wrists, but dismissed these as the result of his rigorous training programme. However, the pain quickly spread throughout his body, leading to his seeking of medical guidance and marking the beginning of his journey to diagnosis.
When asked what guidance he would offer to other people living with PsA, Mickelson’s advice was simple: "It's very important to stay active," he says. "Stay active as often as you can."
Although the name Dennis Potter might not strike an immediate chord, he’s one of the UK’s most influential playwrights. Dennis struggled with psoriatic arthritis for nearly his entire life, and lived with psoriatic arthropathy, which is a particularly severe form of the condition. As his symptoms progressed, his fists became permanently clenched, but in order to carry on with his work he learnt to write with a pen taped to his fist.