Friday, 30 March 2018

Anne Mawdsley, UK. AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH 2018. Scleroderma, Raynaud’s, Autoimmune Rare Disease

Anne Mawdsley, UK
Scleroderma, Raynaud’s, Autoimmune Rare Disease  

I chose to make Anne the focus of the final day of my Scleroderma Awareness 2017 Patient Profiles Campaign.   

June Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017 Patient Profiles – DAY 30 Click here    

Without a shadow of a doubt, the entire global scleroderma and Raynaud’s community are eternally indebted to Anne for her tireless fundraising and relentless awareness raising, having set up the Raynauds & Scleroderma Association in 1982.  

Like most scleroderma and Raynaud’s patients, Anne was a character who you would never forget, after first meeting.   

Her zest for life and ‘can do’ attitude, regardless of living with a body which had been consumed with the diagnosis for decades, was frankly, extraordinarily superhuman. 
I accept that there are no two scleroderma and Raynaud’s patients who present with the exact same set of symptoms, and so, direct individual patient comparisons can not be used as an accurate, scientific measure of outcome prediction or individual symptom severity. 
But, by being an example of how to live with this diagnosis with respect for the symptoms, Anne showed that it can be done. 

This has given me tremendous strength in persevering through some of my more challenging days - 365 days of the year, over the last, 20 years! 

And, encouragingly, the ‘long term’ patients included within my Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017 Patient Profile Campaign, also show that it is possible for the disease to become latent, manageable, and, in my personal experience, reversed. 

For, 19 years post diagnosis, on 30th November 2016, Prof Chris Denton confirmed that ‘my skin has now cured from scleroderma’.  

However, I was lucky – I had an early-ish 'early' diagnosis where treatments to suppress the symptoms (not a cure), still remained a viable option to me, even though my name was included on the stem cell transplant list, during this time.  

Consequently, through early-ish intervention, I have minimal internal organ damage other than severe GERD and MSK joint pain as my most severe symptoms, making for my full time job.

From first being diagnosed, initial diagnosis, back in Autumn 1997, Anne was of huge support to my family and I.  

Although, for my first decade of living with the diagnosis, my family had more contact with Anne and the RSA than I, as I was still not ready to talk so ‘matter of factly’ about the diagnosis, and how it had turned my world upside down and shattered my dreams.  

Anne created and set up the RSA in 1982, which included an annual conference aimed at patients and families alike. 

I know that my family benefited greatly from the information provided at this forum, as well as, were helped with their understanding, by meeting others in the same ‘scleroderma boat’.  

Over the years, I watched Anne, each year, challenge herself and her body, with the most ‘crazy’ fundraising events, which she subjected her body to.  

One such event was a sleigh ride with huskies in Finland, which the scleroderma medical genius trailblazer, Prof Chris Denton, had strongly advised against!  

Another event, and, sadly, the last time where I saw Anne, was her pedalo challenge down Lake Windermere, June 11th 2012, with an actor from the BBC1 drama ‘Eastenders’.  

Although it was an early summer’s day, the temperature thought otherwise, and by the finish line, Anne was shivering with cold. 

But, hats off to Anne, she DID it, with her devoting and loyal husband, Harry, supporting her throughout. I often joked with Anne that ‘I needed a Harry’ as their unconditional love for each other was so heart warming and endearing.  

The photo below shows Anne at the finish line. I am on the right of the photo, holding my white dog, Mitzy, as the swans were tying to attack her!   

Anne completing her pedalo challenge 11.6.12

It was a great day, to be able to share 'the moment' with Anne, and, in one of my favourite places in the world, even though the temperature was rather refreshing for a Raynaud's and scleroderma patient! 

I also had the opportunity to meet the lovely fellow patients Bev Myers and Hannah Gray. 

Anne was great at bringing everyone together, united by our rare diagnosis.

I have written about ‘Living the dream being your own Raynaud’s and Scleroderma advocate’ here, a role which I am truly humbled by.   
I owe huge thanks to Anne for developing me into such a scleroderma and Raynaud’s parrot without me realising, at the time! 

Anne was good like that – she told me that she had even got Prince Charles to agree to sign her book when he planted a tree in celebration of the RSA 20th anniversary at Highgrove. 

As I highlighted at the start of this piece, if you had met Anne, you would never have forgotten her.  

In 2016, driven by Anne’s work, I set up this blog space as well as a Facebook page and a google plus community, with all donations going direct to fund medical research at the Scleroderma Unit, The Royal Free Hospital, led by Prof Chris Denton. 
It is with deep sadness that I am writing this profile, however, I know that Anne is in a pain free, scleroderma and Raynaud’s free, place now. 

I am truly grateful for her friendship and all that she did to pave the way to improve the landscape for patients in so many aspects.  

This was highlighted and recognised within the P152 Poster ‘Optimizing Scleroderma Centers of Excellence: Perspectives from Patients and Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) Experts’ presented at the 4th Systemic Sclerosis World Congress held in Lisbon last year. 

With an acknowledgement 'dedicated to the memory of Anne, founder of the Raynauds and Scleroderma Association UK, who raised over 10 million pounds for SSc research, education and advocacy in her lifetime.'   

P152 Poster is included within Volume 1 Number 1 of the Journal of Scleroderma and Related Disorders, and can be downloaded to view, here  

To read more about Anne, Click here  

RIP Anne Mawdsley, 31 May 1942; died 12 October 2014 
Forever within our hearts, and whose legacy will live on.  


It is with huge thanks, I owe to ALL of the patients who took part in the Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017 Patient Profiles Campaign - Research.  

Every patient’s story brought tears rolling down my face, as I put the campaign together. 

Which, had not been envisaged by me, whilst the idea of the campaign was in its infancy. My Sjogren’s overlap symptoms were on strike for a few/most days during June Scleroderma Awareness Month!  

Living with this diagnosis makes you dig deep into finding out who you really are, and what / who, is truly really important to you. As Bob Marley sang, ‘You never know how strong you are, until you have to be’.  
I hope that this Campaign has been of interest, not just from an educational perspective but also, from a supportive element to fellow patients. 

The Campaign has highlighted the universal hallmarks for best patient management, treatment and care. 


Early Diagnosis  

Expert Specialist Centres  

Access to Innovative Medicines   

As well as, the Campaign has highlighted universal global patient unmet clinical needs. Namely:  

Raynaud’s / Digital Ulcers   

GERD involvement  


Fatigue / Pain  

CAUSE and CURE to be understood #SclerodermaFreeWorld    

To read more about why I chose ‘Patient Profiling and Research’ as the focus of my 2017 campaign, Click here    

Why Research and Patient Profiles? Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017, Raynaud's, Rare Autoimmune Disease, Click here       

Week 1 Scleroderma Awareness Month, Raynaud's, Rare Disease, 2017 – Patient Profiles Campaign, Click here

Week 2 Scleroderma Awareness Month, Raynaud's, Rare Disease, Patient Profiles 2017, Progress in medical research, Click here  

Week 3, Medical research areas of current interest, Scleroderma Awareness Month, Raynaud's, Rare Disease 2017, Patient Profiles Campaign, Click here

To read my articles: 

Rare Disease Day 2018, Research - Taking Part in Clinical Trials, Click here   

March Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month 2018, Click here   

Global patient video, Click here   

Becoming a Patient Research Ambassador for the NIHR, Click here  

If we only had more RESEARCH investment for Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease, Click here   

Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017 Patient Profiles Campaign, Click here     
Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017 Patient Profiles Campaign Patient Index, Click here        
The Pandora’s Box of the rare autoimmune disease Scleroderma, Raynaud's and Cancer, Click here

Key Event Dates 2018, Click here     

Importance of an Early Diagnosis, Click here     

Taking Part in Clinical Research Trials, Click here    

The Importance of a Multi Disciplinary Medical ‘Dream Team’, Click here 

Expert Specialist Centres, Click here      

My Skin is Cured from Scleroderma, Click here      

UK Guidelines for Managing and Treating Scleroderma, Click here      

Fatigue, Click here      

Mobility, Click here    

Diet and nutrition, Click here     

Raynaud's, Click here    

World Scleroderma Day 29th June 2016, Click here

World Scleroderma Day 29th June 2017, Click here   

Why Global Collaboration is important to the Rare Disease Patient, Click here      

The theme to this years Rare Disease Day is Research

Rare Disease Day 2018 – Research, Taking Part in Clinical Trials. Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Autoimmune Rare Disease, Click here     

2016 Rare Disease Day Patient Voice
2016 Rare Disease UK Parliamentary Reception   

2017 Rare Disease Day Flashback  

Rare Disease Day is a fantastic opportunity for the entire rare disease community to shine a spotlight on their reality, combining as one unified voice. Where, at least one commonality presides –  
Medical Research provides the brightest light
for the illumination of the rare disease patients’ plight. 

I highlighted other areas of medical research interest within Week 3 of my Patient Profiles Campaign for Scleroderma Awareness Month 2017. 


Although rare disease patients are few in number, eg. 2.5 million scleroderma patients worldwide, (the World Scleroderma Foundation), the commonalities and golden hallmark for each rare disease patient are the same: 

Early Diagnosis
Expert Specialist Centres
Access to Innovative Medicines

Where MEDICAL RESEARCH investment is VITAL.

Research is the key. Abstracts from 2016 World Congress, Click here

Scleroderma Awareness Month Campaign 2016, Click here


View video, here   

Preamble - here

The Family Day at the Scleroderma Unit, The Royal Free Hospital is taking place on the 19th May 2018. Browse the program, here

This year, I am celebrating 20 years of being a patient at this world leading expert specialist research centre. 

Sept 2017

I am eternally grateful to the global scleroderma trail blazers Dame Prof Black and Prof Chris Denton, whose commitment and dedication to unlocking the scleroderma enigma, is nothing other than, superhuman.
I am truly humbled and inspired by their work ethic. I am wholly appreciative for Prof Denton’s continued medical expertise and support, especially during my barrister qualifying years, 1997 - 2004. 

1st March 2004, I qualified as a self employed practising barrister. Further to having been told in 1997, by my diagnosing doctor, that I was looking at a 15month prognosis. 

I very much hope to utilise my professional skills and qualifications along with my patient experience, to help achieve the #SclerodermaFreeWorld dream, hoping to improve understanding and best practice, in the meantime.
For latest updates follow: 

Facebook Page:

Twitter: @SclerodermaRF  @RaynaudsRf  

#SclerodermaFreeWorld           #RaynaudsFreeWorld
#ADAM #Scleroderma

Living the dream, scleroderma style.  

Please DONATE to help fund medical research at The Scleroderma Unit,The Royal Free Hospital, London.  

100% of your monies will be used for medical research purposes only. No wages or admin costs. Thank You.


Last Update: April 2018

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