PEARL (People Empowerment for Arthritis and Lupus)
Quarterly PEARL is an important event; as these patients strengthen their support group, share new stories, mingle, chat and bond even for a short period of time.
What is the PEARL Movement?
Inspired by the success of the Lupus and arthritis clinics coupled with the immense struggles and courage of the patients to live a well and meaningful life, the PEARL movement was conceived. It’s primary goal was to empower not just the patients but the people around them as well. It was hence dubbed: People Empowerment for Arthritis and Lupus. This support group has since focused on helping people realize the gravity of these illness and the magnitude of its impact on the patients and those caring for them, and to drive awareness to empower and help them recognize their strengths, talents and their role in educating the society. Signified by the pearl which is formed from irritants or debris enveloped in the oysters nacre; for the patients, it is the “knack to care” that molds them into a beautiful creation; strong, resilient, and timeless.
Since its conception, PEARL has motivated these patients to continue battling their illness and live a productive life. It has created and honed artists and performers to show the world that they too can be inspirations and role models.
Story of PEARL
A unique gem can be created from irritants or debris that enters into an oyster’s shell and becomes enveloped in its nacre. This is how a genuine pearl is formed. The story of a pearl symbolizes the brave and valiant lives of many Lupus and chronic arthritis patients hardened and beautified by trials brought about by their illness. Every wracking “flare-up” or attack caused by the disease’s irritants may be physically disabling, at times psychologically and emotionally draining. Yet, the indomitable power of the human spirit, our passion to give joy and hope creates the radiant “nacre” that inevitably transforms disability to productivity. Much like how a beautiful pearl is formed by the oyster’s nacre, it is our “knack to care” that brings forth a pearl in every patient we help and empower.
Knack to care
Many of us are unaware of what Lupus is, or what separates chronic arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis from the more popular rheumatisms. We fail to understand how severe these conditions are. Helping these patients transcends more than just medical treatment. It is with compassion, love, empathy, and the knack to care that gives them joy and hope.
The patient the artist
Patients with lupus and arthritis suffer from chronic and debilitating disease entangling them with negative emotions of depression, sadness, helplessness and despair leaving them painfully lost and in misery. Thus, the patient the artist came about as a project of the PEARL movement that supports the artistic talents of Lupus and chronic arthritis patients by empowering them to hone and share their skills in both visual and performing arts. Held hand in hand with regular PEARL forum, it aims to showcase patients artistic prowess through painting, singing, dancing, even playing different instruments and to raise funds for arthritis and Lupus awareness and research as well as to support its less fortunate patients.
These are regularly held meetings every 2nd Saturday of the month that serves as a peer support group among lupus patients, their caregivers and physicians which allows them to share their feelings about their illness, as well as an avenue for studying the psychosocial impact of their conditions.
Likewise, arthritis clinics cater to chronic arthritis patients allowing them to become patient partners in educating physicians, caregivers, and even lay people about this debilitating condition. Patients engage in peer support groups that enable them to become teachers and artists despite having this painful disease.
Living well workshops for patients and caregivers
Living well workshops centers on inspirational talks and sharing that allows the patients to look beyond the negative aspect of their disease and encourages them to live a productive and meaningful life.
The first PEARL lay forum was held last December 2011 with over a hundred participants. The success soon ushered in more plans and projects to improve the program. In a matter of three months, the second PEARL forum entitled “Living Well” was conducted. PEARL lay forums have since been scheduled regularly with new interesting topics, discussion, peer sharing and activities that focus on the patient as an artist in consonance to the PEARL Movement’s objectives of empowering people.