“I fight to get up in the morning, to hold my children in my arms, to go to a concert with a friend, to keep my relationships… I fight every day, an invisible yet oh so essential fight.”
What about you? If you’ve got an invisible illness, why do you fight?
This is the question being asked for the 14th week dedicated to invisible illnesses, which is focusing on the theme of the “invisible fight” and being shared on social media with the hashtag #invisibleFight.
Launched in 2002 in the United States, Invisible Illness Week continues to grow in the English-speaking world and on social networks each year in September.
In 2012, the organisation led its first photo campaign, which was republished on CNN’s website, and ever since then photography has played a central role in their campaigns.
So I want to show you some of the pictures I found on Twitter using #invisiblefight… plus some very touching messages, powerful struggles, personal accounts… and sometimes stories of suffering, too.
Discover snapshots of people’s lives and everyday struggles on Twitter now.
To delve deeper, affected bloggers are invited to take part in the campaign by posting about their experiences of fighting illness.
These blogs also provide touching and heart-rending stories that shine a light on illnesses such as Alyson’s, a patient who suffers from a chronic illness and, through her blog, helps other women who, like her, are fighting illness.
Or like Lisa Douthit, a patient suffering from cancer and an auto-immune disease, a woman, mother, blogger and author of the book “Wellness warrior – Fighting for life in fabulous shoes”.
A few days ago in Sanofi’s Public Health Forum group on LinkedIn, I wrote a post to share another campaign that is currently underway on social media: #sufferingthesilence.
To break the silence around their illnesses (Lupus and Lyme Disease), Erica and Allie created their website Suffering the silence.
The site is first and foremost designed to create a community for patients and their loved ones.
A great initiative… and also very visual, with photos shared on Twitter using the hashtag #sufferingthesilence and patients taking selfies the way teenagers do (e.g. with their hand over their mouth) and with the name of their particular illness written on their arm… could this be about to go viral?
All of which continues the themes of Allie’s book, “Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial”.
This is all very promising for the emergence of patient empowerment and for the voice of patients breaking the silence.
The silence will certainly be broken on Friday 2nd October at Sanofi’s Public Health Forum, which will be running all day at Sanofi France’s new head office in Gentilly.
Over 200 players in the healthcare sector are expected, for what promises to be an engaging programme, to discuss the complex issues caused by these diseases, and for which so much still needs to be done.
Two roundtables, speeches, presentations from startups and even true-story theatrical performances to put a spotlight on patients’ stories…you can find the full programme here.
You can also follow this day using the hashtag #FSP15, if you can’t attend in person.
Let me just leave you with this final image that I found under the hashtag #invisiblefight.
The fight continues for everyone, by everyone, with everyone… to drown out the deafening silence that often reigns when it comes to illness.
Lionel Reichardt – Pharmageek