9/9/09 – SBWIRE – SAN DIEGO — Who would guess that nearly half of the U.S. population lives with a chronic illness? But according to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation over 133 million people have an illness or condition, most of which are invisible, and many that cause daily pain. Illnesses can range from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy to diabetes, multiple sclerosis to fibromyalgia, or painful conditions like back pain and migraines.
With 75 percent of internet users using the internet for health information (Pew Internet Project, 8/08) and many of them seeking support, thousands of bloggers now post daily journals about the emotional challenges they face with daily chronic pain.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 14-20, 2009, invites bloggers to have a significant role in their awareness campaign. For example, part of their outreach has been featuring guest bloggers on their own web site invisibleillnessweek.com , as well as inviting bloggers around the globe to commit to blogging about invisible illness issues. To help spread the word they have also created a meme, “30 Things About My Invisible Illness You May Not Know” that people have posted on Facebook, blogs and other social networks.
Lisa Copen, who founded National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in 2002 says, “Though our illnesses and symptoms may vary, we still have a great deal in common. We can learn from one another about coping and finding the balance of taking care of ourselves yet living life to the fullest.” Copen says patient blogs aren’t depressing like healthy people may assume. “Illness bloggers don’t typically dwell on the logistics of symptoms, lab tests, or hospital stays. Instead, they write on everyday topics and how their illness impacts their families, finances, careers. They may discuss patient advocacy issues, but they also write about vacationing with an illness or dating when you have a chronic illness.”
Invisible Illness Week was recently the host of Grand Rounds, the largest medical blog carnival on the internet.
Over 300 people have officially committed to blogging for Invisible Illness Week so far and many are sharing on their Facebook notes page or other social network. Copen encourages those who do not have a blog to shares something about their illness with Facebook friends, a few Twitter posts, or even in the comments section of the invisibleillnessweek.com web site. If you would like to join this unique opportunity to blog for awareness about invisible illnesses, see www.invisibleillnessweek.com for details. Invisible
Illness Week’s highlight is a 5-day virtual conference with 20 speakers that can be heard online for free on a topics such as marriage with illness, applying for disability, setting boundaries, and when your child is ill.
Copen is also the founder of Rest Ministries which sponsors the event and IllnessTwitters.ning.com for anyone who “tweets” on health or medical conditions.