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World AS Day 2021 Highlights

Thank you to everyone who participated in World AS Day 2021! Watch the video for some of the highlights below.

Talk to Be Heard

WATCH the real-life impact of axSpA on people’s emotional health.

Launched on World AS Day, this video focuses on the emotional impact of axSpA. It aims to EMPOWER patients to Talk to be Heard and speak to their health care provider, employer, family – whoever they need to – to get the support they need to achieve the life they deserve.

SHARE this video to raise awareness.

It is available in different languages (subtitles), contact Jo de Bry to find out more.

The video has been created through the IMAS project.

About World AS Day

World AS Day is an annual day dedicated to people with Axial Spondyloarthritis (axSpA). It is celebrated across the world on the first Saturday of May, except when the first Saturday falls on 1 May (Mayday and a holiday in many countries) as it does in 2021. On World AS Day, our members and their supporters organise activities around the world to raise awareness of Axial Spondyloarthritis and related conditions. ASIF has 51 Patient Organisation Members from 42 countries around the world.

ASIF is pleased to once again present World AS Day that this year will be celebrated on Saturday 8th May 2021. Despite pandemic-related difficulties, World AS Day 2020 was extremely successful. Thanks to so many countries taking part, the message was truly global and the Social Media World AS Day Campaign reached fantastic viewing figures.

Aim of World AS Day

World AS Day is dedicated to people living with Axial Spondyloarthritis. AxSpA is a rheumatic inflammatory disease primarily affecting the spine and sacroiliac joints, also called ‘Morbus Bechterew’ in some European countries. It can lead to chronic pain, structural damage and disability.

  • Raising awareness
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis affects millions of people around the world. The aim of World AS Day is to raise the profile of this disease and increase awareness of the effect it has on people’s lives as it impacts not only physical but mental health as well.

  • Sharing information
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis is still a relatively unknown disease. On World AS Day, we spread information about axSpA to raise awareness.

  • Connecting with each other, being together
  • We want this day to be one where we all connect with each other to support and care. This can be anything from joining a virtual event, reacting to people’s social media posts or sharing your own stories with people in your communities.

    Get Involved!

    Watch Jo Davies from ASIF explain how you can get involved in World AS Day. (3:32 mins)

    Walk Your AS Off

    Watch Ricky White from Walk as One, explain what Walk Your AS Off is and how you can get involved! (15 mins)

    Global Spondyloarthritis Summit

    Watch Jason Blackwell from the Spondyloarthritis Association of America, share news about the Summit that will take place from 6-8 May. (7:40 mins)

    World AS Day 2021 Theme

    The main theme of this year's World AS Day is:
    TOGETHER – axSpA and Emotional Wellness

    The main theme has been divided into three categories:

    Learn: Mental health, emotional wellness and Axial Spondyloarthritis.

    Manage: How to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and improve your Emotional Wellness

    Support: How to seek help and support for your Emotional Wellness.

    Key Messages

    The main theme of this years World AS Day is:
    TOGETHER – axSpA and Emotional Wellness


    Mental health, emotional wellness and Axial Spondyloarthritis.
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis (‘axSpA’) is an inflammatory disease mostly associated with inflammatory back pain that tends to improve with activity and worsen with rest, leading to nocturnal and morning back pain and stiffness. AxSpA affects younger people (the age of onset is usually between 15 and 45) and encompasses non-radiographic axSpA and ankylosing spondylitis.
  • Emotional wellness is the ability to experience, manage and express feelings appropriately. Having good emotional health is fundamental to fostering resilience, self-awareness, and overall contentment. Having good emotional wellness doesn’t mean that you are always happy and free of negative emotions. It is about having the skills and resources to manage your daily life.
  • Being diagnosed with a chronic illness such as axSpA is life-changing, and can trigger depression and feelings of loss. Research shows that stress, anxiety and negative feelings can worsen the symptoms of axSpA, lower your pain threshold and impact your emotional wellness. 61% of people with axSpA report experiencing mental health problems.
  • While more of us are staying home and social distancing, it's more important than ever to manage your wellbeing. There is support available - contact your local axSpA patient association.
  • Manage

    How to reduce stress, anxiety and depression and improve your Emotional Wellness.
  • Research on depression and anxiety shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help improve mood, reduce anxiety and help the symptoms of your axSpA.
  • Identify what you enjoy doing. Figure out what type of physical activities you're most likely to do, and think about when and how you'd be most likely to follow through and keep it up. Do what you enjoy. Stick with it. If you do not know how to start, get involved with Walk Your AS Off.
  • Exercise every day, set small goals and slowly top up. This will help the body to improve, the mind to concentrate and your emotions to be more balanced. Stay focused, even if in pain and never ever give up.
  • Gratitude may help relieve stress and anxiety by focusing your thoughts on what’s positive in your life. What are the 3 things that went well for you today? It can help to practice self-care by taking time for yourself to pursue a hobby, meditate, plan a future event, take a nature walk or go to a spa.
  • Support

    How to seek help and support for your Emotional Wellness.
  • Patients who are a members of a patient organization tend to have better mental health and disease outcomes because they are part of a community. Join the axSpA patient organization in your country. Patient organizations offer evidence-based information, support groups, education and more.
  • Recognizing that you need some emotional support isn’t a sign of weakness. It's the opposite - a sign of strength. Don’t feel embarrassed about reaching out to a local support group or therapist near you. You are not alone. If necessary, talk about your emotional health with your doctor.
  • Working on our emotional health is just as important as taking care of our physical well-being and helps manage resilience to stress, deepens relationships, builds self-esteem and increases energy. Find support in social media groups such as Facebook and WhatsApp. There are many groups with peers to support you. Take time to find the one you find most helpful and comforting.
  • Make your emotional wellbeing a priority. It can significantly impact your physical condition. Talk to someone you can trust or see a professional.
  • Resources

    World AS Day 2021 Logo
    Social Media assets

    Spanish translations of the materials are available - please contact Joanne de Bry.

    Get Involved

    World AS Day activities

    Each year we organise and promote activities and campaigns that encourage people to join in. An example of such an activity is Walk Your AS Off. It is a virtual walk event to get you moving and raise awareness for Axial Spondyloarthritis. We encourage you to 'Walk Your AS Off" in order to stay active and to keep your joints working as well as possible. Most people with axSpA benefit from regular exercise. Unfortunately, many of us don’t exercise enough. Walking is a fantastic form of low impact exercise – so let’s get moving! And wear your dots!

    Be part of World AS Day!

    To be part of World AS Day go to our Resources section where we put together all the information and resources that can help you to join us on this day. Contact your local axSpA/AS organisation to check if they have a campaign or are participating in any events, or even organize something yourself! All ideas and activities that help spread awareness are welcome. We encourage you to use our resources and tag us on social media to let us hear about it! Check with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get the latest updates on this year’s campaign and more. Remember to focus on the theme and key messages.

    2021 Global Spondyloarthritis Summit

    Free Virtual Event - May 6 - 8, 2021 The Global Spondyloarthritis Summit is a three-day virtual event featuring rheumatologists and other health care experts discussing some of the most important topics impacting the spondyloarthritis community today. The topics include: "COVID-19 & SpA: What We Have Learned and the Impact", "Emotional Impact of Living with SpA", "Holistic, Alternative and Lifestyle Medica" and many more.

    Please contact office@asif.info if you would like information about the possibility of getting assets translated into your language.

    Register Now

    Walk Your AS Off

    Walk Your AS Off is a virtual walk event to get moving and raise awareness for axial spondyloarthritis. We “Walk our A.S. Off!” in order to stay active to keep our joints working as well as possible. Join our global community! You can participate as an individual or create your own virtual team and start counting and logging your steps. We know that the current situation is difficult and not ideal for long walks but even walking around the block just to keep moving will be perfect! You can also convert any activity, such as gardening, swimming, or Yoga into a step count, too. So all activity counts! Click below to find out more information and how to take part in this event.

    Please contact office@asif.info if you would like information about the possibility of getting assets translated into your language.Sign Up

    Share with us your images and videos of how you supported World AS Day!

    We would love to see and hear how you raised awareness for this year's World AS Day! Upload your pictures or videos and be a part of our celebratory, summary video for the end of the campaign. Watch our social media to see the end result.

    You can upload pictures and videos that do not exceed 90 second and are up to 100 mb in the following formats: .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .pdf, .mp3 .mp4, .mkv, .flv, .mpeg, .avi, .gif.

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    See how we celebrated World AS Day last year!

    Get In Touch

    If you have a question or want to share your plans, please get in touch by emailing office@asif.info

    World AS Day is supported by: