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Press Release


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PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ms. Lisa Copen, founder & director

858-486-4685 or toll-free 888-751-REST (7378)
lisa@invisibleillness.com
Website: www.invisibleillness.com

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96% of Illness is Invisible - Awareness Week Validates Those Who "look so good!" but Feel Awful

SAN DIEGO (MONTH, 2007) Nearly 1 in 2 Americans has a chronic condition, and 96% of them live with an illness that is invisible. These people do no use a cane or any assistive device and may look perfectly healthy. Sixty percent are between the ages of 18 and 64.

September 8-14, 2008 is National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week. The theme is "Living with chronic illness is a roller coaster. Help a friend hold on!" It is a major public awareness campaign sponsored by Rest Ministries, an organization that offers a supportive environment for those who live with chronic illness or pain.

Paul J. Donoghue and Mary Siegel, co-sponsors of the week and authors of Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired: Living With Invisible Chronic Illness say, "Invisible chronic illnesses (ICI) have symptoms that are difficult to see and impossible to measure such as pain and fatigue. So those with ICI frequently encounter not compassion and support but impatience and skepticism from physicians and loved ones."

"Living with an illness that is invisible to those around us can often have a more devastating affect on our emotional health than the physical pain," explains Lisa Copen, 38, founder of Rest Ministries who lives with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. "Each day we must choose to thrive, to do something out of the ordinary, or make a new friend. It's easy to get in the habit of living a life of survival."

Copen is the author of a book, Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend. "Part of our campaign is to encourage people to 'care enough to be informed," says Copen. "Just because someone isn't using a wheelchair doesn't mean that she doesn't have a disability. Friends and family of those with chronic illness care a great deal about what their loved ones are going through, but oftentimes the invisibility of the illness sets up an environment for misunderstandings and even doubt about the validity of the illness. We hope to increase awareness of how many people 'look great' but are hurting deeply."

Outreach includes various events: the distribution of free literature such as a 5.5 x 8.5 card with multiple ways to encourage a chronically ill friend. Other resources include You Look So Good: A Guide to Understanding and Encouraging People With Chronic, Debilitating Illness and Pain. Churches and organizations across the U.S. will be participating by in having people share their stories. T-shirt, bumper stickers and other promotional items are available, including PSAs and sample proclamations. Seminars will be held online during the week.

For a complete list of events and resources visit www.invisibleillness.com or call 888-751-7378. "The feeling of knowing that one's illness and pain is acknowledged can have a great impact on how a person copes with living with illness," says Copen. "We hope that by recognizing people with illness rarely feel as good as they look, they will begin to feel better understood, leading them to a more invigorating life!"

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INTERESTING FACT: HopeKeepers Magazine is published by the sponsor of Rest Ministries. It's the only Christian consumer magazine specifically written for people in chronic pain. www.HopeKeepersmagazine.com

BOOK INFO: Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend; Author: Lisa Copen; dimensions: 4.25 x 7 in.; 94 pages; Rest Ministries Publishers 2005; ISBN 0-9716600-6-9.

*(Chronic Care in America: A 21st Century Challenge, a study of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.).

 

 
 
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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.