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Media Tips


  • 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 easy!
  • Let 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.
  • Participate 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!
  • Either 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 audience?
  • Make your heading catchy and unique, but descriptive.
  • Select the type(s) of media to suit the needs and population group you are seeking--i.e., radio, newsletter, bulletin boards, newspaper, t.v., etc.
  • 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.
  • Double 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.
  • Remember to thank media representatives and programs which have been helpful and establish connections for next year.

Grab a note book!

  • 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 published.
  • 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!

Millions of 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.

When speaking with the media, remember they are people just like you and they are trying to do their job, usually under tight deadlines.

NEWSPAPER OR RADIO, ETC.

It can 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 something like… 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 it now?

(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.

National Invisible 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.

 

 
 
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National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week ™ is an official annual campaign sponsored by Rest Ministries
in collaboration with other sponsors. All information is Copyrighted, 2008, however, copies can be made and freely distributed as designed for and intended for advocacy partners for the purpose of representing National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week ™. If you have any questions, please email us for clarification.