Why We Care About Raising Awareness!
Welcome to our first awareness post! Before I get started, I’d like to explain a little bit about our company and why we have started a blog. First off, we know there are a million other blogs out there for you to follow that cater to your specific cause or interest, but let me try to show you why this blog is worth your time.
Many years ago, Personalized Cause’s founder was diagnosed with a disease that most people hadn’t heard anything about at the time. She faced a great deal of misunderstanding and dismissal, as well as the stigma that comes with a chronic illness, especially one that was also an invisible illness. At the same time, she had a friend battling breast cancer. She noticed the strong sense of community that the pink cancer awareness ribbons provided for those who battled the disease. It also became clear that the cancer pins were a catalyst for spreading awareness, information and support for those battling breast cancer.
Not long after, her daughter faced a series of difficult diagnoses. In an effort to support her daughter, and to raise awareness and understanding of both of their health struggles, she searched for a company that sold customizable ribbons. When she couldn’t find any companies that offered low volume customized awareness ribbons, she decided to start a business that could fill that need. She knew she couldn’t be the only one out there who wished to put a name to an illness or cause.
Cancer ribbons alone don’t always humanize an illness or cause. Sometimes, others need to see a name or phrase in order to fully grasp why a cause is personal to a person wearing an awareness pin. In the founder’s case, “Myself & My Daughter,” was inscribed on the first Personalized Cause® awareness ribbon. She saw that people were so much more likely to ask her about the ribbon, and why she wore it, when it had her message on it. People would often want to speak to her for long lengths of time, trying to learn more about her personal health journey, as well as her daughter’s, and try to educate themselves on the disease. It demonstrated how one person trying to raise awareness for a cause that’s close to their heart really does affect the understanding surrounding that cause, and the passion to make an impact or find a cure.
She also experienced an unexpected result of wearing the custom awareness ribbons, which was that she felt empowered in a situation where she powerless. She couldn’t control her own illness any more than she could control her daughter’s, but by wearing the custom ribbon, she found that it gave her ownership of her illness, rather than the other way around. Instead of feeling defeated by her body or trapped by her illness, she felt liberated and motivated by her ability to raise awareness and educate her community. One small awareness pin had the potential for a huge impact on both a personal level, as well as community level. Rather than advocating for only her own causes, she wanted to inspire others facing a personal health crisis, or the health crisis of a loved one, to do the same. She always said that she wanted to put a face to an illness because that is what provides the strength to fight for a cure.
With that in mind, and with the best of intentions, we have decided to start an awareness blog. Our blog will not focus on just one cause, but instead will focus on the multitude of causes that exist, in accordance with their national or international awareness observances. We realize this may seem like kind of a “bummer” blog to follow, seeing as it will discuss a lot of terrible diseases, causes, or injustices. We know that you might not want to read about all of the horrible things that can and do happen to people. It sounds depressing, we get it, but let me take this opportunity to appeal to your rational side, and change your mind.
Awareness IS Education, and Education Raises Awareness!
You are bound to encounter people who are affected by at least one of the many causes we’ll be covering going forward. And when you do, don’t you want to be the kind of person who makes them feel understood and accepted, rather than automatically making them explain themselves to you? Don’t you want to be the kind of person who chooses to learn, rather than choosing to remain ignorant to other people’s struggles? Most of all, don’t you want to be the person who can spot the warning signs and symptoms in yourself, or a loved one, before it’s too late?
This is not meant to scare you or manipulate you into reading our blog! This is simply meant to encourage people to educate themselves, and raise awareness for the zillions of illnesses and causes out there that people deal with every single day. We don’t want to overwhelm you, we just want to give you the tools to change how you see someone who is struggling. We want to encourage you to pass on that knowledge to someone else who may need it. We’re not trying to turn you into a walking, talking, unlicensed WebMD; we just want to turn you into someone who recognizes and appreciates what others go through, even if that particular cause may never impact you personally. Plus, who knows, maybe some of this information will come in handy at a party when you need to impress your boss, or your significant others’ know-it-all friend. I don’t know your life, but I’m sure it’ll be useful, eventually. Maybe even lifesaving. That’s pretty unlikely, but still not impossible.
I hope my writing never gets perceived as anything less than respectful and I hope you all enjoy reading my blogs. I just want to warn you in advance that I try to approach this stuff with a sense of humor and a lighthearted attitude. I find that is the best way for me to deal with my own rare illnesses and laundry list of health crap, which I won’t bore you with. It’s taken me a long time to get to a point where I can be positive about health struggles, my own or otherwise, but here I am and I truly don’t mean to offend anyone who isn’t there yet. I realize that my work will cover sensitive subjects, and I will do my best to treat them as such.
And now, to actually start doing the thing that I’ve been trying to convince you guys to want to read for the last 1,000 words…
Limb Loss Awareness Month – Our First Blog Subject
Let’s kick off this awareness party with Limb Loss Awareness Month! April is Limb Loss Awareness Month, and we celebrate, if celebrate is the right word, this annual observance by raising awareness for the Limb Loss community. If you can believe it, more than 500 people lose one of their limbs every day. That was surprising to me, which now that I really think about it, I guess it shouldn’t be considering all the causes of limb loss. See, even I’m learning.
Limb loss is defined by the partial or total loss of a limb due to illness, such as diabetes (due to poor circulation and hardening of the arteries), cancer (when they have to remove the limb to remove the tumor), heart disease (one of the leading causes of death in men and women in the United States), infection (which can be caused by many things, but often because a wound isn’t kept sterile or protected adequately), or because of a trauma (commonly involving a car accident, and less commonly due to severe burns).
It is estimated that there are somewhere in the ballpark of 2 million people in the United States who have lost a limb. Limb loss can cause excruciating pain even years after amputation. Some people experience something called “phantom limb pain,” which is the sensation of ongoing pain in an area of the limb that has been removed. Phantom limb pain can be hard for people to grasp, because it is hard to imagine how something that no longer exists on the body could cause pain. But the pain experienced by phantom limb pain is very real. The root of the pain is in the spinal cord or brain, not the amputated limb, and it is not in any way a psychological issue.
While limb loss and amputation can be extremely physically traumatic, it can take just as serious of an emotional toll on the patient. Not only do they have to heal, they have to learn to adjust to life in an entirely different way, and learn to accept their new situation as their new normal. Understandably, this means that many suffer from depression and anxiety as a result. Depression and anxiety are especially associated with a loss, perhaps temporary, of mobility and independence. It is crucial to treat the depression and anxiety as well as symptoms or side effects of limb loss or amputation.
Prosthetics are usually fitted after the patient has completely healed and has regained their strength and physical constitution. This usually occurs between two and six months after surgery. In some cases, temporary prosthetics may be received within two to three weeks post surgery. Generally, though, it is important to wait for the wound to heal, and inflammation to subside. It is also important to realize that not all limb loss or amputation patients will be good candidates for a prosthetic.
Most importantly, those who experience limb loss will continually improve over time! They will adapt, and improve and lead full, normal lives because they are complete and whole and normal people.
Stay tuned for my next post!
To order a limb loss awareness ribbon, which is a silver awareness ribbon, visit:
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