Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Awareness Month

All diseases deserve awareness, even Lupus. I’m not talking about the bad type of awareness from T.V. shows that say “It’s never Lupus.” But genuine awareness, the kind that educates people about what Lupus is and how it affects the lives of those who live with this debilitating disease. One thing awareness should never be is cramming information down people’s throats. This past October I felt like I was over trodden by breast cancer awareness. Now, I’m not here to bash on breast cancer (I have many people I know who have had it) or awareness for breast cancer. Breast cancer deserves awareness just as much as Lupus. What I am going to preach on is the methods used for spreading awareness.

First, awareness doesn’t have to be crazy. Men hang gliding around with thousands of bras tacked onto them is a little well… crazy. Turning almost everything a consumer can purchase for a month pink, a little crazy. Pink is my favorite color too. To give an example: even my chicken feed I bought came in a pink bag. Yes people, you heard me a pink bag. Now, one might ask: “would you feel the same way if it were lupus awareness and not breast cancer awareness?” My answer: “yes!” I too would be sick of purple just like pink if the only grocery bags I could buy were purple, only pens I could find on sale were purple, only chicken feed I could find was purple, watching cooking shows, football, the news, and seeing purple. Even just turning on the radio for a little music enjoyment and being bombarded with Lupus awareness advertisements. Lupus awareness month was actually moved from October to May because breast cancer dominated the awareness stage so much. But let me repeat again, I have NOTHING against breast cancer awareness. I have problems with some of the levels of promoting awareness for breast cancer. There’s a fine line between awareness and over doing it.

Second, quietly spreading awareness is good. Some of the easiest and best ways of spreading awareness are not through painting the world a different color or using every single media outlet to shout out for the cause. People who wear bracelets, T-shirts, car magnets or even nothing but normal clothes are some of the best people at spreading awareness. Sometimes illness will come up in a conversation, other times people will ask me about my lovely purple scarf and a few times I have been approached about my car magnet. All of these methods of awareness are very simple, easy and gentle. I know a few people who have used these tactics with their illness and have had great success. One of the key things about spreading awareness as a Lupus patient myself is I have to be open about things. I can’t just be like “well… ummm… Lupus is this one disease and it really sucks and… you’ll never understand.” Great example of going nowhere with awareness.

Third, having one day to go all out is fine. On May 10th 2011, it is national Lupus awareness day. Everyone I know I ask them to wear purple. One day out of the year to go all out for Lupus. On breast cancer awareness day, all the more power to them! Just not every day for an entire month…

Fourth, all illnesses deserve recognition and respect. There’s not really much more to say.

My request for awareness month is people wear purple on May 10th 2011. On May 10th (or if you forget, any other day will do) please tell one other person you know about Lupus. The person cannot be me because I already know about Lupus. Share your story, a friend’s story or just talk a little bit about it if health happens to come up in a conversation. I have basically been from the start very open about my illness. Please do not hesitate to ask me questions if you would like. I will answer any and all questions asked. However, please do not go screaming Lupus down hallways, forcing awareness on people who do not want to be bothered or hang glide around town with a bunch of bras (ooops… hee hee butterflies) tacked on to you. Those tactics will garner attention but are a little excessive.

I am excited for awareness month. On May 10th I will be purpling it up and I invite you to do the same. Spreading awareness one person at a time.

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