- Send out
a letter/press release to your local talk radio stations and
newspapers. Christian media may be especially interested in
hearing your story about living joyfully despite having a chronic
illness. Look in the Yellow Pages for phone numbers and addresses
or ask us if you need a listing of media. We've enclosed a sample
press release that only requires a few lines from you so it's
your church know about this special week. It's an excellent
time for a church to have a person with a chronic illness get
up and share his or her testimony. A pastor may be interested
in having a sermon related to chronic illness; topics may include:
how to choose joy in the midst of difficult circumstances, how
to give the gift of encouragement, living with chronic pain,
when God doesn't answer prayers. Our postcard this year should
have available. Display a poster on the bulletin board.
in a local health fair, church ministries fair, or other event
and distribute materials (call us to receive brochures, etc.)
- Share with
the kids. If your child feels comfortable with the idea, you
may want to ask his or her teacher or Sunday school teacher
if you do a short presentation to the class about illness or
disabilities that are invisible. It's always fun to use props,
so get creative!
individually or with a group of friends, visit a local nursing
home or assisted care facility and just visit with the residents;
call beforehand and let someone know you are coming and about
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.
- Media representatives
are busy people, therefore keep your press release to one page.
Remember who, what, when, where, why and how. Attach the provided
"fact sheet" for added information. Who is your target
- Make your
heading catchy and unique, but descriptive.
the type(s) of media to suit the needs and population group
you are seeking--i.e., radio, newsletter, bulletin boards, newspaper,
- When do
you want people to know about your event? If you want to get
as many people involved as possible, a press release can be
sent out at any time this summer, and then perhaps a follow-up
just before the event in September.
check your spelling, your sources, back up any statistics you
use. Be accurate!
- Ask around
to see if friends or family have any media contacts. Be sure
to follow up any inquiries and provide additional material,
statistics or quotes where needed.
to thank media representatives and programs which have been
helpful and establish connections for next year.
- Keep track
of what media you have called, the name of the person you spoke
with, their response, and your action (did you send them something).
- About 3-5
days after sending out a press release, consider calling the
journalist back to see if they had any questions.
- Don't call
and ask, "Did you run my story?" Check the paper if
you aren't sure! Remember to keep a copy of anything that is
- Be available
for interviews. If you have something scheduled, do your best
to follow through
if you don't feel well, laughingly tell
the journalist that you are feeling like a chronically ill person
and you hope it adds to your credibility.
KIDS LIVE WITH ILLNESS TOO!
children live with chronic illness.This is a great week to allows
them to express
any feelings they have about living with illness. You might consider
writing an essay on your experience of living with illness as
a child and submitting it to your local paper. If your child lives
with illness, perhaps you may want to contact the his or her teacher
and ask that they be allowed to share something about their illness
during show and tell. Talk to your health child about how there
are children at school who look fine but may have an illness and
discuss how your child can be a good friend.
with the media, remember they are people just like you and they
are trying to do their job, usually under tight deadlines.
OR RADIO, ETC.
be helpful to call the local newspaper to find out if they would
be interested in the story angle and which journalist is be the
best person to direct your press release to. Be yourself and say
Hi, my name is ____________ and I'm interested
in sending some information to a journalist at your paper about
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. Who do you
believe would be the best staff member to send something to? (likely
a health editor)
You can then send that reporter the press release or you may want
to speak to him/her.
Hi, My name is _________ and I'm interested in sharing with you
some information about National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness
Week in September. Would you prefer that I drop it in the mail
and then call you back or would you be interested in hearing about
(if they say
to tell you about it
Well, I'm __ years old and have lived with (your illness) for
(years). I've been involved with an organization (your support
group or Rest Ministries, etc.) and it's been very helpful to
be around other people that understand how we often do not look
like how we feel.
Chronic Illness Awareness Week is a campaign to educate people
about how often illness is invisible and how to be sensitive to
their challenges, and also learn from their unique experiences.