...overcoming my physical limitations.

"My proudest moment is when I overcame my physical limitations of Rheumatoid Arthritis and was able to summit a mountain with my two closest girlfriends.

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 23 years old. I was young and trying to find my way in the world. Rheumatoid arthritis affects your joints and is typically associated with old age. I didn't know what this "old person" diagnosis meant for my future and I began to spiral into a dark depression.

One of my biggest struggles is that I was so physically active before I got sick that I had to learn to listen to my body and to rest when I felt I needed to rest. For years and years I fought back and tried to do everything my friends were doing. It got to the point where I simply couldn't keep up anymore and this made me even more sad.

Something really important to my mental and physical well being was the support of my closest friends. For me, my girlfriends have been my biggest advocates and support system. Thanks to their empathy and understanding I am empowered to ask for help when I need help or I feel comfortable letting them know that I am unable to do something because of my physical restrictions.

The support of my friends was the reason that I was able to overcome my Rheumatoid Arthritis and do a sunrise summit of Deseret Peak in Utah. This is my most proud moment because despite all the daily struggles, physical limitations, and the diagnosis, I was able to do something that I have enjoyed doing all my life; and I was able to do it with two of my favorite people in the world." - Clare

You can follow Clare’s journey at:

Instagram @clarepeckenpaugh