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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ms. Lisa Copen, founder & director
858-486-4685 or toll-free 888-751-REST (7378)
of Illness is Invisible - Awareness Week Validates Those Who "look
so good!" but Feel Awful
(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.
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
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."
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!"
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.
Care in America: A 21st Century Challenge, a study of the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation.).