Happy World Spondylitis Day!!!!
May 7th is a special day for the Spondylitis community and a big step toward greater worldwide recognition of a disease that affects more than 2.4 million people (that's more than the populations of San Francisco, Detroit, and Boston combined!). In case you missed it, please check out my April 14th post in honor of Spondylitis Awareness Month. It's filled with lots of great resources and arthritis-related websites.
The Spondylitis Association of America is hosting its 2nd annual video awareness contest, an initiative aimed at spreading information about Spondylitis. Each entry should be up to three minutes in length, answering the question "What should people know about Spondylitis?" Entries must have Spondylitis as their focus and an educational value for the general public. The contest ends on May 30, 2011 and the winner will receive $1,000! The next four winners will receive amounts ranging from $50 to $300. The top 10 entries will qualify for a free one-year SAA membership and SAA promotional items. Here is the short video that won first place last year...
Appropriately, the next topic for Chronicbabe.com's bi-monthly blog carnival is "AWARENESS" which asks people to write an "awareness statement" about their specific disease. So here goes...
It's been a long road, but I've come to see Spondylitis as a vital part of the person I'm proud to be. This disease has been my greatest challenge and, at the same time, my greatest blessing. Therefore, it means the world when you truly care to learn about it. Please ask questions; learning helps to bridge the gap between the "healthy" and the "sick" and make me feel less alone. Often, a simple and sincere "How are you feeling today?" goes a very long way. It's also crucial to understand the unpredictability that comes with an autoimmune disease like Spondylitis. My symptoms (pain, stiffness, fatigue, etc.) can change from hour to hour and thus it can be nearly impossible to make definite plans. Please don't dwell on my limitations. Instead, look at the things I can still accomplish and the courage it takes to get through each day. More than anything, please know that it's the littlest "every day" things that can mean the most to someone living with pain...offering to carry a heavy bag, walking slower than normal...this subtle understanding means the world.