Living with an illness that no one can see can be one of the most difficult parts of learning to effectively live with daily pain. “The lives of everyone around us are impacted by our level of pain on any given day,” says National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week founder, Lisa Copen. “Having an illness that is has unpredictable side effects hour to hour can put one on an emotional roller coaster, as well as cause his or her loved ones to sometimes doubt the severity of the illness.”Twenty free online seminars this week, September 8-14, 2008, will help those with illness learn how to more efficiently manage their illness, including the emotions that come with it. Each 45-minute seminar will be live via Blog Talk Radio at www.invisibleillnessconference.com. Some of these include:
Healthy Boundaries with a Chronic Illness will be presented by Shelley Echtle, the director of the North Texas Fibromyalgia Support Group with over 200 members. She believes healthy boundaries in a healthy life are important, especially when you are chronically ill! Shelley suffers with fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, hypothyroidism and arthritis. (Tuesday, Sept 9, 5:30 p.m., pacific)
After the Diagnosis: The Journey Beyond features Trish Robichaud. a Disability Awareness Coach, Maximum Life & Business Coach & Motivational Speaker. She lives with major depression and multiple sclerosis. She is joined by Jeff Cadwell, a Professionally Certified Life Coach, radio show host, speaker and author, who also lives with multiple sclerosis. (Thursday, Sept 11, 12 p.m. pacific)
Get out of Bed! is the presentation given by Linda Lundy, a Competition Cheer Judge/Instructor and cancer survivor. We’ve all had those days we want to just throw the covers back over our head, but Linda will motivate you to stay the course. She also lives with a pituitary adenoma; which brings with it fibromyalgia, a non-functioning thyroid, migraines, etc. She says, “I know how to put one foot in front of the other and keep going!” (Friday, Sept 12, 9 a.m. pacific)
All seminars will be hosted via Blog Talk Radio for forty-five minutes, and listeners can call in with questions during the last fifteen minutes. See dates and times for additional seminars at www.invisibleillness.com, which will be recorded and archived.
Many guests have donated free items or services, which will be given away in prize drawings. Bloggers are invited to participate by blogging on invisible illness topics September 8-12, 2008 and to download the “I’m blogging for Invisible Illness Awareness” badge from http://www.invisbleillnessblog.com .
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week was launched in 2002 by Lisa Copen, author of “Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend.” It is held annually in September and is sponsored by Rest Ministries, Inc., the largest Christian organization that serve the chronically ill.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Please feel free to post this anywhere! Your blog, web site, forums, social networks, etc. It’s because of you the word is spreading and we want people to hear about it before the conference starts next week, not midway through the week. Thank you!
SEPT 2008—SAN DIEGO – SBWIRE– Traveling expenses, hard beds, peers wearing too much perfume, long treks to conference rooms, and exhausting days make up the typical conference–all which make it nearly impossible for the chronically ill to attend events where they can find encouragement and education. National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week’s “virtual” conference online is more than just practical. It’s necessary.
“Having a virtual conference available to listen to is like a miracle to me! I no longer have to miss opportunities due to financial difficulties or inability to travel. I can’t wait!” says Kimberly Strange of Indiana who lives with neuropathic pain in legs following her back surgery.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 8-14, 2008 is featuring twenty live seminars, with some of the top chronic illness advocates online today at http://www.invisibleillness.com. Jenni Prokopy of chronicababe.com; Laurie Edwards of achronicdose.com; Rosalind Joffe of keepworkinggirlfriend.com; Christine Miserandino of butyoudontlooksick.com all come together to provide a wide variety of seminars. Seminars will be conducted via Blog Talk Radio, and the week is sponsored by Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization that serves the chronically ill.
“This is a unique and exciting way for those of us who cannot travel to conferences of any kind, to ‘attend’ and become encouraged,” says Lynn Severance from Washington. “It will help dispel the isolation that exists as so many of us watch the “rest of the world’ have the opportunity to go and learn and fellowship with friends in a conference setting.”
Lisa Copen, 39, founder of Rest Ministries and initiator behind National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week says, “Regardless of one’s spiritual beliefs there is an underlying need to be understood, to feel like those you love have some idea about what you are going through; how it can be difficult to look fine while you are feeling so poorly. We hope we can provide a place where people find others who understand, and gain new insight, as well as increase awareness publicly.”
One of the ways to meet the needs of the chronically ill is to provide the type of forum where they can learn, connect with others and interact with professionals. For the chronically ill, who typically have difficulty sleeping, extreme fatigue, trouble walking and sitting, and even chemical sensitivities, a virtual conference, where people can stay comfortable, attend free and avoid traveling is the perfect fit.
Four seminars per day, Monday through Friday, September 8-12, are available at http://www.invisibleillness.com and all will be recorded and archived. Hundreds of people are also blogging for awareness about invisible illness issues on September 8, 2008.
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MEDIA ADVISORY, Sept. 3 /Christian Newswire/
Nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA live with a chronic illness and about 96% of the illnesses are invisible.* Rest Ministries, Inc., the largest Christian organization that serves the chronically ill, an affiliate of Joni Eareckson Tada’s International Disability Ministry, is encouraging those with illness, as well and family, caregivers, and churches through their annual outreach event, National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 8-14, 2008.
This year the week features 20 workshops with well-known guest speakers who will be presenting and answering questions via Blog Talk Radio, September 8-12.
- Leslie Vernick, author of The Emotionally Destructive Relationship (Harvest House, 2007)
- Julie-Allyson Ieron, author of The Overwhelmed Woman’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents (Moody, 2008)
- Lisa Copen, author of Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend (Rest Publishers, 2008)
- Jennifer Saake, author of Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage and Adoption Loss (NavPress, 2005)
Lisa Copen, 39, founder of Rest Ministries says, “Since we began in 1997 we’ve found that despite the strong foundation Christians may have, illness can rock it. Feeling like no one understands how much your life has changed since a diagnosis can be more spiritually detrimental than the illness itself. It can make one feel isolated, misunderstood and even bitter.”
Copen, who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia since the age of twenty-four explains why Invisible Illness week matters. “Those with illness do have to accept that other people aren’t going to ‘get it.’ Only God understands. But it’s nice to encourage peers and find strength in validating the mixed emotions. You don’t have to explain why walking twenty feet may be impossible some days.”
Rest Ministries extends their outreach about illness awareness to churches, providing materials to start up HopeKeepers groups, books, cards, tracts, etc. About 96% of those with illness may appear perfectly healthy on Sunday mornings, but may struggle to get out of bed the remainder of the week.
Ken Chambers, Director of Church Relations at Joni and Friends International Disability Center, says, “It is vital that Christians understand the emotional and spiritual trials of those with invisible disabilities, as well as those with visible disabilities. Rest Ministries is dedicated to educating churches to not only serve the chronically ill, but to involve them in the church body. I encourage church leaders to take advantage of the wealth of resources at Rest Ministries and to participate in the National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.”
Get involved by joining the hundreds of people who will blog about invisible illness on September 8th, attend a seminar, or tell someone who has an illness about the event. Typically, people with illness are unable to attend a traditional conference, so a “virtual conference” is widely anticipated. All seminars will also be recorded and archived.
*Source: Chronic Care in America, U.S. Census Bureau
Living with an invisible illness can cause heartache and bitterness when one feels no one understands the significance of the illness. Invisible Illness Week provides that validation that people with invisible diseases often seek.
San Diego, CA — (SBWIRE) — 08/27/2008 — While we assume that most people are generally healthy, you may be surprised to find out that an alarming nearly 1 in 2 people in the United States live with a chronic illness. So why is it that most of us don’t even know when a friend or co-worker is dealing with diabetes, heart disease, lupus, or chronic fatigue syndrome? Because, according to the U.S. Census, about 96% of people have invisible illnesses.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is being held this year, September 8-14, 2008. It’s a secular event sponsored by Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization that serves the chronically ill. Visit the invisible illness awareness campaign’s web site at www.invisibleillnessblog.org . You can be encouraged through dozens of articles, including daily guest bloggers, find ideas to get involved in the outreach, and goodies to help promote awareness, from silicone bracelets to brochures. Tired of those looks when you park in a handicapped spot? Be sure to pick up a license plate or bumper sticker.
The focal point of the awareness campaign is September 8-12 (M-F) during which 20 telephone seminars will be held on a variety of topics and are open to anyone. Topics may also be of interest to those with loved-ones who have an illness. Some seminars include:
- Assess Yourself: Find the Job You Desire and Can Do Despite Illness Limitations
- The Civil Rights of Patients with Invisible Chronic Illnesses
- Overcoming Self-Defeating Behaviors
- Secrets of Paying for Medical Care
- How to Get Paid to Blog
- After the Diagnosis: The Journey Beyond
The theme this year is “Hope Can Grow From The Soil of Illness.”
Lisa Copen, 39, began National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in 2002 as she continuously witnessed hundreds of people emotionally hurting just because they felt as though no one “got it.” Lisa has lived with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia for fifteen years and understands how validating it can be to just have one friend who you don’t have to explain everything to.
“Though there are hundreds of illnesses represented, and large differences in symptoms and pain levels, none of that matters more than feeling like someone understands you. When our best friends and family members are skeptical about our disease, it can be that last straw that sets us off into a spiraling depression.”
She says, “We plan to unite the millions of people who live with chronic pain and illness by offering an oasis of hope and understanding, as well as helpful information and practical tools to live the best life possible.”
Through the guest bloggers of Invisible Illness Week, to 20 seminars that supply tools to ensure that one is cared for–both body and soul–National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is succeeding in meeting that goal.
Find out more information and receive daily updates at
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week
Seeing Isn’t Always Believing
“One of what?” you may ask.
One of those people who have been chosen to endure invisible illness.
It is not an elite club. Quite common, in fact. Because we have our “invishields” on, others might not understand what we face on any given day—they just can’t see it.
So, National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week is vitally important because maybe, just maybe it will help people see what they can’t see and in the process, learn to give others the benefit of the doubt.
The old saying, “seeing is believing” is the proof-text for just why invisible chronic illness is so difficult. It takes a very special person to be supportive of someone with chronic health and pain issues because for the majority, if they don’t see it, they don’t believe it.
Many of us have learned to have a healthy attitude even when our bodies aren’t cooperating. Because we embrace life and often push through the symptoms, others can’t see/believe we are really suffering. If we park in disabled parking places we get dirty looks because those are reserved for those sick enough to deserve them. If we call in sick for the third time in five months, human resources doubts our reason, assuming we have fabricated an excuse to “play hooky.”
I have a confession to make. My first year diagnosed with autoimmune illness, I gave in to it and become a life spectator rather than a life participant. I realized this withdrawal only made me more isolated in my illness, and I was just as miserable laying on the couch all day as I was when I was busy. When I made the switch back to living out loud rather than passively, my attitude improved significantly, going from defeated to victorious.
So, I got up off the couch, still suffering symptoms but ready to live again. I determined not to let the invisible illness define who I was, and let God reinvent me into the designer woman He wanted me to be. Instead of feeling like a sufferer, I felt special. Hand-picked for a greater purpose.
I’m not upset that I have an invisible illness. And now I have more compassion for others. I can often pick out the ones who are dealing with invisible illness now because I can see it in their eyes. And if you look closely enough, you will see it in my eyes as well. That’s what Invisible Illness Awareness Week is all about.
National Invisible Illness Awareness Week is going to help remove the blinders and allow others to see into our lives and know we might be a different kind of “normal” than them, but we don’t have to live isolated lives.
Kathy Carlton Willis owns a communications firm, specializing in publicity, writing, editing, speaking, and more. She is determined to make the most of every minute and her redefined life is better than the life she lived before illness came to stay at age 28. You may contact her at WillisWay@aol.com or