Have you entered our photo contest yet for Invisible Illness Awareness Week?
It just takes a minute and you can upload as many photos as you want. We are talking about CHOICES here at Invisible Illness Awareness Week this year. We can’t choose our illness, but we can choose many other things
Here is a fun way to share about our photo contest. If you can’t see the video below, click here. Take a second to share it on a social media platform.
Pass the smiles around!
Thank you so much for your desire to help me with Invisible Illness Awareness Week. I began this week in 2002–hard to believe it has been that long!–and because of people like YOU who are willing to help, we continue to encourage thousands and thousands. If you don’t believe me you an hear what our crowd last year would have sounded like (minute 1:40) if we were in a football stadium.
There are many ways to help. Some of them may be exactly what you LOVE to do or find easy to do. Others may seem waaa–a-a-ay too complicated. Please scan the list and see what sounds appealing to you. If you click on any link it will open in a separate window.
My personal note of reality: I really appreciate your help. My son starts school 9/3 and so between summer chaos, knee injections for the last three weeks and so much more (you know the drill) I do need and REALLY appreciate your help. Because my hands are aching as I type, my doctor says my rib has likely refractured for a third time, and, well, the list is too long to explain, but let’s just say YOU will be the one making the difference this year, not a press release or an event or an article. YOU… sharing, commenting, writing. YOU’RE A GEM! ~Lisa
Here are the places Invisible Illness Week is:
- Our main website, invisibleillnessweek.com
- Link to share I CHOOSE TO photos
- Facebook Page
- Facebook Group
- Facebook Event Page
- Youtube – most recent uploads
- YouTube – 2102 Seminars
- *EVERYTHING All in one place (at Rebel Mouse, see our latest postings, tweets, pins, videos and more)
How to help in a hurry
I have tried to make it easy so you can click through above quickly to be fully connected.
- Every time a new article appears in our website you will get an email (not more than 1 per day) Go here and enter your email address. You will also get our free ebook (whoo hoo!)
- On Facebook? Click “Like” to get updates. And then go to our Event Page and click “Attending.” (“Attending” means that you will be involved in the week in some way, not that you need to get on a plane and come to my front door. I mean, you could come but you may be handed a broom. I wouldn’t risk it.)
- Want to discuss invisible illness issues? Join our Facebook group and talk about what inspires you, news stories that make you want to stomp your feet, what you are blogging about, that kind of thing.
- On Pinterest? We have nearly 8000 pins which I have pinned all year! Follow us here or if you just want our invisible illness-related boards, follow us here and here and here.
- On YouTube? Don’t miss our new videos. Click “subscribe” here. (the red button) (Your hand should be hurting by now from all this clicking.)
- On Twitter? Follow us @invisibleillwk and watch for the hashtag #iiwk13 #invisibleillness and #invisibleillnessichooseto
What social media do YOU use?
This is the way we REACH people and when we reach people we change lives!
- Share a photo of your choice for our 2013 I CHOOSE TO campaign. And then share it with your Facebook followers to get votes. We’re giving away a Kindle Fire to the winner with the most votes 9/15. Seriously. A Kindle fire. As my son would say, “You will NEVER be bored again” (especially in those waiting rooms)
- When you see an image or link in one of these places where you participate, share it.
- If you find an article you like at invisibleillnessweek.com share it, pin it, tweet it (you get the idea) And we have some of our BEST articles all in one place, just sayin’
- If you are on Twitter, follow us @invisibleillwk. You can RT our daily tweets or pick your own here.
Comment. Why? Because YOU will encourage others!
See something about Invisible Illness Awareness Week? Comment. We LOVE to hear from you and know what encourages you, what makes you cry, what makes you do a happy dance when no one is looking.
- Comment here at our web site InvisibleIllnessWeek.com. We’ve made it easy-peasy to sign in and it can determine who reads the article. Some people are more likely to read YOUR comments than our article. Really. It can be short and sweet if you like or even “thanks for sharing about this” but let people know what they post is worthwhile to you.
- Comment on the articles at Huffington Post (so they know it’s a hot topic!) | When Your Friend Is Ill the Right Words Are a Blessing
- Comment on web posts, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Pinterest pins, even tweets. Be sure to comment in people’s I CHOOSE TO photos they have uploaded to.
- Visit some of the memes people have filled out and leave a comment. Assure them they are not alone. It’s kind fun to see what makes people happy or bums them out or their favorite gadget.
There is always room for those of you who like to share your voice!
- Submit an article for our Invisible Illness Week website.
- Write a blog post for your own website about an invisible illness issue. And put our blogger badge on your website.
- Blog “for the cause,” about what you CHOOSE (the 2013 campaign), or share your story. Don’t forget to link it up to one of our link parties so people can find it! See instructions here.
Do you like to read?
- Many people have blogged and linked up their own blogs to our link parties. Visit some of these and leave a comment.
- Read some articles at invisibleillnessweek.com (and don’t forget to share, like, tweet, and pin. And put your left foot in and shake it all about. . . oops. sorry.
- Enter the photo contest, for goodness sakes. You NEED a Kindle! Maybe you will win.
Do you want to share about your illness?
- If you have your own website or a place to post a blog on “your story“ do so, and be sure to link it up!
- Do our “30 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness“ and link it up (and share the link with your friends too)
- Post as many photos as you’d like to our 2013 I CHOOSE TO… Campaign and share it with your friends so they will vote for your photo as well. (The person behind the photo with the most votes will win a Kindle Fire that a generous person has donated!)
Do you consider yourself an advocate and want to help in major ways?
Awww. We LOVE our advocates! Thank you for using your talents and influence to help us encourage those with hidden illness.
- Post our press release (or edit it to fit your needs) to your own readers.
- Share information about our photo campaign and encourage people to upload photos as well as vote on others (you can vote once per day)
- If you are on Twitter be sure to retweet our tweets each day!
- Post a blog or a series of blogs in topics related to invisible illness. You can find some inspiration here.
- Post a blog asking people how choices make a difference in how we cope/live with chronic illness and refer them to our photo campaign.
- Follow us on Facebook and share, share, share. Take our topic idea and ask your own readers to share their experiences to create more activity in your own page.
- Are you creating an event around Invisible Illness Awareness Week? Let us know so we can share with our friends!
So, whatcha gonna do?
Can I make a suggestion? Pick 3. You don’t have to do them all. . . you don’t have to feel obligated.
But pick 3.
Comment, share, and write . . . Blog, comment, and tweet . . . Upload a photo for our contest, share and put your left foot in. Oh, wait, well, you get the idea.
And to inspire others and practice look down –below this article. See the comment box? Tell us what 3 you’d like to do to help out and as of September 15, 2013 I will randomly choose a winner for our cute mug that says, “Warning: Bad Flare Day.” With something even nicer on the back side (you can see more here).
So, what’ll it be? What are your 3?
If you live with an invisible illness, you may feel alone in your experience, but e-patient bloggers are using it as an opportunity to speak about the pain you never see.
Feel free to share this press release in any way, or a quote from it–on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pin it, whatever! We appreciate your help and the e-patients who are involved.
San Diego, CA — (SBWIRE) — 08/28/2012 — When it comes to bloggers with passion, “e-patient bloggers” who share about their illness journeys, have changed how people find encouragement for living with their illness. A recent study found that 41% of e-patients have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website or blog, and 38% say it changed the way they cope with a chronic condition or manage pain.*
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week (NICIAW), established in 2002, is September 10-16, 2012 and e-patient bloggers are the inspirational force behind the campaign’s success.
“These e-patient bloggers are strong advocates for increasing awareness for causes such as invisible illness,” shares Lisa Copen, founder and coordinator for NICIAW. “They open up their hearts and become vulnerable in order to educate others and increase understanding among the healthy community.”
InvisibleIllnessWeek.com features guest bloggers through September 16th that focus on a variety of topics that impact the lives of those who are chronically ill. These include being the spouse of one with illness, learning how to ask for help, and being a part of the patient community.
Anyone is welcome to participate in blogging about their illness, the emotions involved, their medical journey, or what they have learned. At InvisibleIllnessWeek.com a blogger can instantly link his or her blog to the campaign’s website. Bloggers can also download the badge that shares their intent to blog about Invisible Illness Week or personal issues of living with an illness.
Copen shares, “The personal factor of reading about a similar health or illness experience of another person online, can sometimes be more influential than classes or doctor’s instructions when it comes to learning to cope with pain.”
Research has shown that among the those whose most recent online search affected their health, 56% say it changed their overall approach to maintaining their health or the health of someone they help take care of.*
Many e-patient bloggers are participating in the Invisible Illness Week Meme, “30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know.” This year’s theme, “Invisible Illness? Share Your Visible Hope!” encourages people to post photos via the website that show things that give them hope, whether it is a sunset, a pet, or a grandchild.
During Invisible Illness Week people can participate in the virtual conference by watching seminars with a variety of speakers on topics such as how your personality may influence your style of coping, how to work from home when ill, and to how to explain your illness to others. For more information see http://InvisibleIllnessWeek.com .
*The Social Life of Health Information, by Susannah Fox, Sydney Jones, 2009
What’s a cause blog and do I need one?
Do you have a blog? Whether it is officially a “cause blog” or a “blog with a cause,” –or a blog about anything — you can certainly use it to increase awareness about invisible illnesses. You may have a blog and not even realize it! For example, many health social networks include a blogging feature, such as the Rest Ministries Sunroom.
We hope you will take a few minutes this summer and write a cause blog or two about Invisible Illness Week or what it is like to have an invisible illness.
Hundreds of people are joining our efforts to cause blog about either Invisible Illness Week or their invisible illness! If you don’t have a blog, just try to post something about it somewhere and it will help us out a lot. (Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook–any social network you are a part of.)
Whenever you publish a cause blog post something it helps us increase our exposure and it’s because of you this week is going to be a success.
You can find the different categories of blogs for Invisible Illness Awareness Week here. They all fit somewhere, so if in doubt, put it under “My Story.”
If you have posted your thoughts somewhere in a cause blog, be sure to let us know! Come back here and hit the blog submission button above to link it up so people can find it.
We’d love to come and visit your blog!
Do you know a health editor?
Between all of us with a variety of chronic illnesses and symptoms, there are hundreds of thousands of newsletters and ezines out there on the internet. Since many of us live with different illnesses than our friends, we actually all have a relationship of some kind with at least one health editor (maybe even more!).
I am letting the health editors of the newsletters I receive know about Invisible Illness Awareness Week. Now, I am not suggesting you start spamming people and email off 200 emails to health editors, but rather, if there is a health editor I have built some kind of friendship with online, via the newsletter itself or on a social network, I am hitting “reply” or “contact” and sent them an email sort of like this below. Be sure to personalize yours and keep it short when writing to your favorite health editor.
Keep in mind that the easier you can make it for them to tell others the more likely they will! So be sure to include the paragraph that has the description they can copy and paste.
Dear (name, Health Editor):
I recently received your newsletter and enjoyed it as always, especially the part about (what I liked here).
I wanted to call your attention to the date of September 9-15, 2013 which is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.
September 9-15, 2013 is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. This annual event, started in 2002 by Lisa Copen, features a variety of ways to get involved including a photo contest about the choices we make. The theme this year is “I choose to…” and we are uploading photos of things we can still choose–despite the pain and side effects.
There is a Meme “30 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness”, you can sign up to blog for the cause, read guest bloggers’ posts, and get involved in the campaign on Facebook. There is even a free 80-page ebook when you sign up for email updates, with 263 tips.
With nearly 1 in 2 people living with a chronic condition, about 96% of those people are suffering silently with invisible illnesses. You can find more information at http://InvisibleIllnessWeek.com
Thank you so much for passing this along!
Thanks for your help, friends!
The most popular topics about invisible illness seems to be the misconceptions people have about a chronic disease or pain that cannot be seen.
Are there really that many people with invisible illness?
Why another awareness week? Enough already!
You can’t be that sick.
If you were that sick, you wouldn’t be able to stand here and talk to me.
But you look fine to me.
If you just thought about something other than your illness, you’d start to feel much better.
Do any of these sound familiar?
Help increase awareness about nearly any illness (most of them are invisible), by tweeting these facts below and reminding people that situations are not always as they appear.
We’ve found some interesting facts we think you will like and highlighted some few special statistics about invisible illness or chronic pain. You can find sources for our statistics here.
You can follow us on Twitter and then add “RT” at the beginning (that means you are retweeting it) and @invisibleillwk. That way people know the source where you found it and they can sign up for it themselves.
Facts to Tweet About Invisible Illness
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #1 Nearly 1 in 2 Americans (133 million) has a chronic condition. Not U? It’s someone U luv! http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #2 About 96% of illnesses are invisible. No visible signs and no assistive device used. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #3 The significance of one’s faith has shown to help one handle a stressful medical event better http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #4 Sadly, the divorce rate among the chronically ill is over 75 percent http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #5 ppl with illness are young! 60% are between the ages of 18 and 64 http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #6 By 2020, about 157 million Americans will be afflicted by chronic illnesses. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #7 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease and 77% have two or more chronic diseases. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #8 Depression is 15-20% higher for the chronically ill than for the average person. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #9 Sadly, physical illness or uncontrollable physical pain are major factors in up to 70% of suicides. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #10 About 1 in 4 adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #11 Invisible illness includes #autism, #bulimia, #migraine pain, #arthritis, #bi-polar disorder #depression. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #12 More ppl need pain treatment than those w/ cancer, heart disease, stroke & diabetes combined. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #13 Less than 2 hours is spent on pain management in most medical school curriculum http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #14 Most people prefer illness mgmt advice from health professionals before their spouse http://ow.ly/72fO
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #15 19 million of ppl who are severely disabled do not use a wheelchair, cane, crutches or walker http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #16 4 in 5 health care dollars, 78% are spent on people with chronic conditions in USA http://ow.ly/72g4
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #17 Patients with a deep faith recover faster from depression,even when illness doesn’t improve. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #18 Faith reduces stress, loneliness, pain, & anxiety according to American Cancer Society http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #19 Over half of the chronically ill say the worst thing someone can say is “you look great.” http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #20 34% of respondents said the person closest to them with a chronic illness is a parent. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #21 Most medical residents leave med school believing that 80% patients R addicts seeking drugs. http://ow.ly/72gP
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #22 Over 75 percent of patients with depression complain of physical pains. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #23 The # of ppl in the US 65 > will double in the 25 yrs to 20% of Americans = more illness. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #24 Depression can predispose patients to chronic pain due to chemical imbalance it creates. http://ow.ly/6Otw
RT @invisibleillwk @iiwk13 Fact #25 Faith gives ppl w/ health challenges peace of mind & will to live http://ow.ly/6Otw
Last year hundreds of people participated in our “30 Things Meme.” We’d love to hear from you again (A new year may bring new answer, so even if you filled this out last year, we would love to see your answers this year, as well! ).
This is a great way to blog about your invisible illness too. We may say, “No one understands!” but have we really given them the chance to?
Copy the 30 things meme below, fill it out, post it on your blog or on Facebook, etc. and then let your friends and family know. You may even be surprised to find out who you know who is living silently with his or her own invisible illness.
And don’t forget to let us know about it! Fill out the form below (scroll down past the meme) with name of your blog and where the meme is posted so we can come read it!
Thank you for participating and spreading the word.
30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know – 30 Things Meme
1. The illness I live with is:
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:
3. But I had symptoms since:
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:
5. Most people assume:
6. The hardest part about mornings are:
7. My favorite medical TV show is:
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is:
9. The hardest part about nights are:
10. Each day I take __ pills & vitamins. (No comments, please)
11. Regarding alternative treatments I:
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose:
13. Regarding working and career:
14. People would be surprised to know:
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was:
17. The commercials about my illness:
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is:
19. It was really hard to have to give up:
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is:
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would:
22. My illness has taught me:
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is:
24. But I love it when people:
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them:
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is:
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was:
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel:
* Feel free to share this on your blog, post it in your newsletter, whatever! Thanks for your help.
Invisible Illness Week Team Offers Free Ebook of 263 Tips
San Diego, CA — (SBWIRE) — 09/01/2010 — National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is September 13-19, 2010. A free 80-page ebook is now available for download to anyone who signs up for daily updates from the web site invisibleillnessweek.com .
“Chronic Illness Tips: 263 Ways To Do More Than Just Get By” is by Invisible Illness Week founder, Lisa Copen and friends. Friends include chronic illness career specialist Rosalind Joffe, relationship expert and best-selling author Pam Farrel, advocacy authority Jennifer Jaff, and illness advocate Jenni Prokopy.
Over 20 contributors share their best tips to live successfully with chronic illness on a variety of topic. “These experts are people who have the credentials,” says author Lisa Copen, “but more importantly, they have experienced illness themselves or health issues of someone close to them. Their tips come from the experience of living with the challenges illness gives us.” The chapters include coping tools, relationship issues, career, faith, and practical tips, from traveling with an illness to homeschooling. There are also many tips on how to encourage someone who lives with a chronic illness.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is an annual event that features a free virtual conference online 9/13-17 with speakers each morning 10:30 – 12 USA Pacific time. There are a variety of ways a person can get involved including blogging for the cause, completing the Meme “30 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness”, or joining the campaign on Facebook.
With nearly 1 in 2 people living with a chronic condition, about 96% of those people are suffering silently with invisible illnesses.
For more information see http://InvisibleIllnessWeek.com .
Are you on Twitter? We have over 2000 followers of us on http://www.twitter.com/invisibleillwk.
[And if you do Twitter about your illness you may want to join a group Lisa started Illness Twitters .]
There are lots of things to tweet about Invisible Illness Week! We have tweets for. . .
- 20 Things to Say to a Chronically Ill Friend
- 20 Things NOT to Say to a Chronically Ill Friend
- 25 Illness Facts in 25 Days
- If Your Friend is Ill Tips (27 of them)
- Friendship Tweets
A quick way to find any tweets about Invisible Illness Week is to search twitter for #iiwk10 which is our hashtag. If you do any tweets on II Week, be sure to put #iiwk10 somewhere in the tweet so people can find it later when they search.
Have you ever watched a woman (or man) park in a handicapped parking spot and then you see her get out and walk into a building? Perhaps people around you may also be watching. . . and doubting that she has any kind of health issue.
But you know! Perhaps you noticed the slightest limp or her pause to catch her breath or her balance. Part of you wants to go up and say something–but what? And you don’t want to offend her either.
Have you ever considered leaving an ENCOURAGING note?many of us who have (legally!) parked in a blue spot have received rude notes left on our windshield, so why not leave an inspiring note?
What do YOU think? If someone left you a note that said something like we’ve listed below would you be encouraged or feel like someone was getting too personal?
Here are some ideas of what you could write. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.
- Invisible illness can be one of life’s greatest challenges. You are doing it with style!
- You never know who’s life you are touching. Your strength despite your pain encouraged me today.
- I live with invisible illness too and I wanted you to know someone is praying for you today.
- I’ve lived with __________ for _____ years. Seeing you today encouraged me to keep on going. Thank you!
- You never know how you can encourage someone just by doing daily errands. I have _________. Seeing you parking here and living life, was inspiring to me. Thank you.
- I know personally how hard it is to live with daily pain. Thanks for reminding me to hang in there just by going on with your day despite your pain.
Read about our founder Lisa’s parking spot experience in the article, “Can Those with an Invisible Illness Park in the Blue Spots Without Others Seeing Red?”