Background An international exchange for rheumatic young people took place in Estonia in the summer of 2011 and included 50 participants from 8 countries. During the exchange, we conducted a survey among local people and the result was that only 38% of the respondents knew the names and symptoms of rheumatic diseases. The public event “Life with a secret” was put together and presented in the Solaris shopping centre in Tallinn. The whole campaign was designed by young people themselves during the workshops of the exchange.
Objectives Rheumatic diseases are mostly known as “old people’s” diseases and considered more as hidden disabilities. We wanted to change this attitude by organising an interactive campaign by young people. The public event was prepared with the goal of showing that children and young people also suffer from rheumatic diseases that impose serious restrictions on their daily life.
Methods We planned our event in a large shopping centre in the Tallinn city centre. The young people prepared the whole 2-hour program with music, DJ, dancing, rubber band exercises and yoga, in addition a very interesting “obstacle” course with 6 different tasks relating to the everyday restrictions of rheumatics. We also used a video, leaflets, pictures and other illustrative resources.
Results Our campaign was very successful and we got a lot of attention in the media as well as among local people. We got new members and partners for our association and awareness was raised about rheumatic diseases. In the EULAR Pare autumn conference, our interactive poster won the award for the most innovative campaign.
Conclusions People with rheumatic diseases should be involved in every campaign from the beginning and only they can show the limitations they have in their everyday life. After the event, we have organised fivesimilar, but smaller awareness raising campaigns, which showed that there exists a great necessity for educating the people around us.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared