Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Day 5
“If I could do anything as a Health Activist…” Think big today! Money/ time/ physical limitations are no longer an issue. What is your biggest goal that is now possible? What’s your one, three, or five year plan for your Health Activism?
Man is this a hard one to answer! There are a lot of things that I wish I could do as a Health Activist yet aren’t possible due to my expertise/full time job. So if these weren’t barriers, where are the top three things that I’d like to do as a Health Activist:
- Become a Professional Patient Advocate: I know this sounds funny since we are all advocates in our own way but there are programs out there that allow you to become a certified Patient Advocate. If time/money/etc. were no problem, I would want to become one. Over the past six years, I’ve seen how advocating for Dan has really improved his quality of care. Unfortunately, not everyone has someone who is comfortable speaking up for them. I think I could be a great patient advocate for those who need ones to help ensure that they understand their disease, their treatment plan, and their rights.
- Destigmatize Inflammatory Bowel Disease: It’s unfortunate, but there are many stigmas associated with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In fact, according to a Live Science article, IBD is the 6th most stigmatized disease. Some IBD patients are embarrassed to talk about diarrhea and abnormal bowel movements with their doctors, friends and family. In 2000, Katie Couric tackled the stigma surrounding colon cancer, another bowel ailment, by televising her colonoscopy. This allowed people around the country to see that there is no shame in having a bowel disease and that talking about having an invisible illness encourages people to seek medical care. I’d like to find a way to encourage IBD patients around the country to talk about their diseases- tell a friend, a loved one, a coworker, whoever- to show that they are not ashamed and that they will not allow the disease to cause them to feel bad about themselves. I would do this through a public service campaign similar to CCFA’s Escape the Stall and have famous people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, like Shannon Doherty, Ken Baumann, Cynthia McFadden, Mike McCready and others film PSAs that would air nationwide talking about IBD in full details to raise awareness and destigmatize the illnesses.
- Write a children’s book explaining IBD: More and more children are being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease now than ever. As a young child, it’s really hard to grasp the concept of having a disease and coping with the mental and physical effects of the illness. I would like to write a children’s book explaining what IBD is, how it’s treated, what it’s like to live with it, and most importantly, reassure them that IBD does not mean that they have to stop living- they can continue having fun and enjoying their childhood. There are lots of books for children with cancer and other diseases, so I’d really like to write one for children with IBD.