San Diego, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/09/2013 -- If you or someone you care about has a chronic illness, odds are that the majority of time you may feel as though your symptoms are invisible to most people. Invisible Illness Awareness Week begins today, September 9 through September 15, 2013, as a chance to validate those with invisible symptoms, as well as build awareness.
They are featuring one chat each day, Monday through Friday, to create a forum where people can share, learn, and be encouraged.
Special guests will be attending the chats on a variety of topics. These include:
- Monday: Invisible illness and why we talk about it, guest Christine Miserandino of ButYouDontLookSick.com
- Tuesday: Relationships and invisible illness, guest Jennifer Saake, author and speaker
- Wednesday: Why our appearance is confusing, guest Kimberli, Mrs. Oregon Plus America
- Thursday: Advocating for awareness for any disease, guest Tiffany Westrich, Co-founder and CEO of International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis
- Friday: Identity, work, and finding our purpose, guest Kelly Fricke, illness advocate
Monday through Thursday chats will occur at 11 AM PST/2 PM EST, USA and on Friday at 10 AM PST/1 PM EST.
All chats will take place at the event's Facebook page http://facebook.com/invisibleillnessweek with host Lisa Copen who established the annual event in 2002.
It is estimated nearly 1 in 2 Americans live with a chronic condition* and most of them have symptoms that are not seen. A few symptoms include chronic pain, soreness, extreme fatigue, breathing difficulties, and gastrointestinal pains.
Lisa Copen, 44, says, "Most people with illness don't want pity. We aren't looking for sympathy, but we do have a desire that when we say we are in pain we are believed. It is hard to cope with a chronic condition that is degenerative and debilitating," says Copen, who has lived with active rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years. "Regardless of our age or how healthy we may appear to be, we struggle to live in a body that no longer functions normally."
Invisible Illness Awareness Week is a time to educate those who are not ill, but also to create a sense of community among those who are ill, regardless of their specific disease.
Invisible Illness Awareness Week is held annually in September and includes opportunities to blog for the cause, do a meme, share tweets and videos, and other advocacy activities, including a photo contest.
To attend a chat visit Invisible Illness Awareness Week Facebook page at the time of the chat. For more information visit the web site.
* Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, PBS series "Who Cares: Chronic Illness In America"