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World Scleroderma Day

Davis Orr

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Happy World Scleroderma Day!

Hey buddies!!! What’s up? Glad you could stop by for another fun and informative awareness blog post. Because the only thing more fun than learning is nothing. In all seriousness, these awareness blog posts have come in so handy in my daily interactions with people. You would be shocked how relevant this information is during my Uber and Lyft rides. I don’t know why my drivers always seem to be able to have some situation that relates back to my newfound medical knowledge, but I love it. It’s kind of cool and surprising how much you really connect with people when you know a little bit about something that has affected their lives. I find that the level of human interaction is so much less superficial. I mean clearly these conversations keep arising from them asking me what I do. As soon as I answer that I work at an awareness accessory company writing their awareness blog, complete strangers just start pouring their lives out to me. It’s awesome to connect! I’m sure some of you guys have had similar experiences with your newfound medical knowledge, too. Anyway, I’ll get back to blogging now and stop telling you guys about my experiences with drivers. Today we are going to talk about scleroderma. I’m sure many of you remember that we have covered scleroderma before. We’re going to talk about it again today in honor of World Scleroderma Day, which is today.

Happy World Scleroderma Day, everyone! Every June 29, scleroderma organizations around the world observe World Scleroderma Day. The reason June 29 was chosen as the date is because on June 29, 1940, the famous Swiss painter Paul Klee died. Paul Klee is probably the most internationally renowned celebrity to have had scleroderma. Much of Klee’s later work was influenced by the progression of his disease. The work that nears his last years has very visual interpretations of his experiences and symptoms as a man with the scleroderma. His last few painting before his death seemed to reflect the pain he suffered from the disease. He was a brilliant artist, and he is one of my personal favorites. If you haven’t heard of him, I highly recommend taking a peek at his work. Klee was a prolific artist, creating something like 9,000 works of art. Not to mention all the other cool stuff he did. Maybe I’ll mention it a little. He did extensive work in Color Theory, and taught at Bauhaus, which is a famous German art school from 1919-1933 that had a tremendous influence on the art world. He was a super cool dude. If you’re into art you probably already this.

So… scleroderma. Let’s learn a little bit about the disease so we can understand Klee’s artwork a little more deeply. Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease that affects the skin, tissue and organs. It is a progressive disease, but it can often be managed with medications and other kinds of treatment. Scleroderma is a pretty rare disease. There are only around 100,000 people with scleroderma in the United States. The disease affects mostly women, generally between the ages of 30 and 50. Like all autoimmune diseases, the cause of scleroderma is unknown, and again, like other autoimmune diseases, genetics do seem to elevate your risk for developing the disease. People who have relatives that suffer from other autoimmune diseases, or scleroderma itself, may be more at risk for the disease. It can also develop in children, even though typical diagnosis usually takes place in women between the age of 30 and 50.

Autoimmune diseases like scleroderma are caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy cells. A normal immune system is the body’s defender. The autoimmune system is responsible for fighting off any foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses. With autoimmune diseases, the immune system starts attacking the body’s healthy cells rather than just the stuff that causes illnesses. Every autoimmune disease attacks the body differently. Each disease has a particular way that it behaves in terms of what it chooses to attack. With scleroderma, the immune system causes inflammation in the skin, tissues and organs. The most common symptom associated with scleroderma is a thickening or tightening of the skin, but it may also cause scarring in the lungs, heart, kidney’s and intestines.

Let’s dive a little deeper now that we have that basic overview. I want to first start off by saying that scleroderma is different from patient to patient. The disease is mild and easily managed for some, while it can be life threatening for others. Patients may experience different symptoms, and different forms of the disease. There is no roadmap for predicting how the disease may affect any particular patient. It’s one of those things in life that you just have to deal with as it comes. There are two main forms of scleroderma, which are localized scleroderma and systemic scleroderma.

Localized scleroderma mainly affects the skin, though it may also progress to include muscles, joints, and bones. Localized scleroderma, though it may be serious, is not as dangerous as systemic scleroderma because it does not affect the internal organs. Usually, localized scleroderma presents with morphea, which is medical term for patches of discoloration on the skin, and linear scleroderma, which is the name for bands of thickened, hard skin that may appear as streaks or lines on the arms or legs. There is a special name for linear scleroderma when it appears on the face or forehead, which is coup de sabre.

Systemic scleroderma is the most pervasive form of the disease, and also the most potentially serious. With systemic scleroderma, it affects more of the body. In addition to the skin, muscles, joints and bones, it also may affect the blood vessels, heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines, or other internal organs. Needless to say, scleroderma that attacks the internal organs may lead to death. There are two different classifications of systemic scleroderma, which are CREST syndrome (limited cutaneous systemic sclerosis), and diffuse cutaneous systemic scleroderma. Crest syndrome is affects mostly the skin of the fingers and toes and may cause nodules under the skin. Crest syndrome is often associated with Raynaud’s phenomenon. It may also cause difficulty with movement of the esophagus, pulmonary hypertension, and dilated blood vessels. With the second type of systemic scleroderma, diffuse cutaneous systemic scleroderma, it tends to involve the internal organs more. It may also affect the skin on the hands and wrists. This type of scleroderma causes the organs to build up scar tissue and over time the organ essentially hardens and “freezes”.

Because scleroderma is such a complicated disease, it is important that people with the disease to find rheumatologists who either specialize in scleroderma or have extensive experience dealing with it. There is no cure for scleroderma, however there are many different kinds of treatments and therapies that can be very effective in managing and controlling the progression of the disease. Treating scleroderma usually means trying to keep it at bay and prevent further damage from occurring. There are many different kinds of medications that can be used to manage symptoms. Patients will likely be put on anti-inflammatory drugs to minimize the severity of inflammation that can lead to permanent damage. Physical therapy and occupational therapy are also helpful preventative measures to help maintain flexibility or the skin and joints.

Scleroderma can be a potentially life threatening chronic autoimmune disease, but it is often manageable with the right treatment once your doctor figures out the best course of action. People with scleroderma lead happy, fulfilling lives, and learn to work around their illness and adapt to it as necessary.

Happy World Scleroderma Day, everyone! I hope you enjoyed today’s awareness blog entry and brief art history lesson. Again, I highly recommend looking into Paul Klee if you’re into art. I really love him, and there’s no shortage of work! That’s all for today. I’ll see you back here next week for another awareness blog post. Hope you all have a wonderful week!

If you’re a new reader, let me welcome you to the Personalized Cause awareness blog! Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory brand that specializes in custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a unique way to raise awareness for your cause, advocate on someone’s behalf, or show support for someone when you may now know exactly what to say. Our custom awareness ribbons allow customers to personalize their awareness ribbon with any text they choose. The thing that makes our custom awareness really special is the fact that there is no minimum quantity order for custom awareness ribbons. Customers can simply order one custom pin or twenty different custom pins. Whatever your awareness ribbon needs, we’ve got you covered. If you’re not in the market for custom awareness ribbons, no problem. We also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric awareness ribbons and silicone wristbands. Personalized Cause believes in the power of awareness. We’ve seen how one small awareness ribbon can transform a community. We know that educating people makes a difference. That’s why we’ve created the Personalized Cause awareness blog. We feel it is our duty to help raise awareness for the things that affect our customers every day. Our mission with this awareness blog is to create an awareness domino effect by educating our readers on as many causes and illnesses as possible. I hope you’ll join us here next week for another edition of the Personalized Cause awareness blog.

Teal awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for scleroderma. To order a custom teal awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/teal-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=scleroderma

#worldsclerodermaday #scleroderma #sclerodermaawareness #sclerodermawarrior #awareness #raredisease #autoimmune #chronicillness #chronicallyill #chronicpain #awareness #awarenessblog #awarenessribbons #cancerribbons

HIV Testing Day

Davis Orr

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In the mood for Netflix & chill?

Hey, friends! Thanks for stopping by for another awareness blog post! I hope you’ve all been enjoying our awareness blog. I’ve certainly enjoyed learning about all the various causes and illnesses, and writing about them. The information has been useful in my personal life so much more than I anticipated it would be. It’s kind of weird, you know, how all of the sudden when you’re aware of something you start noticing it come up all the time. So far, I’ve managed to make myself look a lot smarter than I actually am. I’ll stop blabbering about the value of the blog in my personal life now and just get to the point. I know that’s what you’re all here for, anyway. Today is HIV Testing Day! So, obviously, we’re going to talk about that today. Because when it comes to your health, specifically your sexual health and safety, you really can’t be too informed or too careful.

National HIV Testing Day is observed every year on June 27th. National HIV Testing Day was designed to remind people to get tested at least once per year, depending on your sexual activity. The purpose of the day is to catch HIV early on because early detection leads to the best possible outcomes. People who are diagnosed and treated early can prevent serious complications, and often the disease does not progress into AIDS. The key is treating it early. Diseases are kind of like a snowball rolling downhill. At first, when they start out, they are small and slow, but the farther they get down the hill, the bigger and faster they get. You want to catch it when it’s still a slow and small snowball. That really goes for every disease. The stage a disease is in when it is detected is one of the greatest predictors of outcome. That’s one of the reasons we do this blog. We want to help our readers be able to catch things in early stages, either with their own health or the health of a loved one.

Now, lets start with the basics. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV can lead to AIDS, if it is not prevented with treatment early on. HIV isn’t like other viruses. With most viruses, such as the flu, the body goes through the stages of the illness and then eventually the body fights off the virus and you return to your normal health. Unlike most viruses, the body cannot ever fight off the virus. This means that once you have HIV, you will have it forever. HIV attacks the body’s T cells, which are responsible for helping the immune system fight off anything that may be attacking the body, such as an infection. Over time, HIV depletes the number of T cells in the body. This makes it much harder for the body to fight off infection and disease. Eventually, it can make it impossible to recover from infections or diseases. The immune system becomes so weak that it may be overcome by opportunistic infections or cancers. This occurs in the final stages of HIV, which is AIDS.

There is no cure for HIV, but early detection and treatment makes it much easier to control. HIV is controllable when you get to it quickly. Even though there is no cure, there are medicines to treat and control the virus. The biggest treatment for HIV is a combination of medications called ART. ART stands for antiretroviral therapy. ART uses several different antiretroviral medicines to slow down how quickly the virus multiplies. The different antiretrovirals are much more effective when used in combination, than using just one of any of them. If ART is started quickly after becoming HIV positive, the therapy can significantly prolong the person’s life. It can also keep HIV positive people healthy. In addition, ART reduces the chances of transmitting the virus to others. With the use of ART, people who are HIV positive may live about as long as people who do not have HIV. That’s remarkable considering that in the 90’s, before ART was developed as a treatment, HIV could develop into full blown AIDS in a matter of a few years. Before this treatment, HIV was almost certainly a death sentence; it was only a matter of how long.

There are three stages of HIV. The first stage is called Acute HIV Infection. This typically occurs between two and four weeks after being infected by the virus. Stage one may appear to be flu, with very similar symptoms since this is the body’s designed response to a virus. People in stage one of HIV are extremely contagious because the bloodstream is flooded with the virus. The problem is that most people in stage one do not realize that HIV is causing them to feel ill, if they feel ill at all. Sometimes, people in stage one may not experience symptoms at all. Symptoms can also be very mild, and easy to overlook. This is why many people are unaware that they have contracted the virus.

The second stage of HIV is called Clinical Latency. Stage two is also called asymptomatic HIV infection or chronic HIV infection. In stage two, the HIV virus is still reproducing, but it does so very slowly. This stage may go start off without any symptoms or usual illnesses at all. Stage two can last up to a decade, sometimes even longer, but it can also last as little as a few years. This is another reason why many people are unaware that they have contracted HIV. It doesn’t necessarily become apparent until it has progressed to late stage two or early stage three. HIV can still be transmitted during stage two. People who know that they are HIV positive and are taking ART are much less likely to transmit the virus during stage two because there are low levels of the virus in the blood. As stage two progresses, the amount of the virus in the blood starts to increase, and the T cell count begins to decrease. As the virus level increases in the body, people may begin to have symptoms and feel ill. This occurs right before entering stage three.

Stage three of HIV is AIDS. AIDS is the most advanced phase of HIV. AIDS damages the immune system so severely that they become prone to opportunistic illnesses, which are often severe. Prognosis for a person with AIDS is around three years if they do not receive treatment. People with AIDS experience symptoms similar to the flu. This may be a persistent fever, chills, sweats, swollen glands, weakness, and weight loss. Stage three is diagnosed when the T cell count drops below 200 cells/mm. It may also be diagnosed due to opportunistic illnesses. People who are in stage three have a very high level of the virus in their blood and are extremely contagious.

Getting test is the only way to be sure that you have or do not have HIV. Knowing your HIV status is imperative to your health, and the health of your partners. The virus can also be transmitted if you share needles, or from mother to child. Knowing your status and the status of those that may expose you to the risk is imperative. Knowing your risk factors is also key in prevention. HIV testing is easy to attain. Remember that all medical tests are confidential so don’t be afraid that your status may get out. First off, Planned Parenthood provides testing, for free if you are unable to pay. You can also text your zip code to 566948 (KNOW IT). There are even at home testing kits now. There are a lot of places that have free testing days, too, especially on HIV Testing Day. You can also get tested through your general practitioner.

So, if you’re in the mood for a little Netflix and Chill, make sure that you and your partner get tested and know your status first! Wishing you all health, happiness, and safe sex… today and always! Catch you next week.

If you’re a first time reader, let me welcome you to the Personalized Cause awareness blog! Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory brand that specializes in all kinds of awareness ribbons, but we’re famous for our custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a customer favorite because they allow you to personalize any color ribbon with the text of your choice. Our custom awareness ribbons are also unique because they don’t require a minimum quantity order. You can order just one awareness ribbon customized with the name, date, or message of your choice, or you can order a bunch, with all different customization. Whatever your awareness ribbon needs may be, we’ve got you covered. If you’re not in the market for a custom awareness ribbon, that’s okay, too! We also carry classic awareness ribbon pins, fabric ribbons, and silicone wristbands. As you can see, we’re passionate about raising awareness! That’s why we started this awareness blog. The Personalized Cause awareness blog is dedicated to educating our readers about as many causes as possible. We strive to create a more informed and compassionate community through our awareness pins as well as our awareness blog. I hope you’ll join us again next week for our next post!

Thanks for reading!

Red awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS. To order a custom red awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/red-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=red

#nationalhivtestingday #hiv #knowyourstatus #gettested #netflixandchill #safesex #hivpositive #hivnegative #health #prevention #responsible #sex #lgbtq #gay #straight #awareness #awarenessblog #awarenessribbons #cancerribbons

World Vitiligo Day

Davis Orr

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Happy World Vitiligo Day!

Well, hello, friends! Thanks for stopping by for this week’s awareness blog post! Today we’re going to talk about a skin condition called vitiligo. Now, I know what you’re all thinking (if you’re old enough, that is), “isn’t that the condition that Michael Jackson supposedly had?” The answer to that is, yes! Michael Jackson was heavily criticized for “bleaching his skin” to appear more white. There were swarms of people who faulted him for being a bad role model to black children and claimed he was “white-washing” himself. The truth of the matter, as stated in his autopsy report, is that Michael Jackson suffered from a chronic skin condition called vitiligo, which causes pigment in the skin to be lost. This ultimately results in the skin becoming very pale, since the skin lacks the ability to create color without pigment. Of course, the star used a myriad of other products and techniques to try to get his skin to appear to be all one color, essentially to try to cover the discoloration. He was trying to cover the effects of the condition rather than lighten his skin tone. Actually, it’s very difficult to tell that he had vitiligo by looking at his face because he did such a good job masking it. It’s really a shame that he felt the need to hide it. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, and it’s a lot more common than you think. So, today, on World Vitiligo Day, let’s take a second to learn a little bit about this chronic skin condition. To all my people out there with vitiligo, happy World Vitiligo Day!

Vitiligo is a chronic skin condition that causes the skin to lose its melanin. This loss of melanin causes the skin to appear white. The white skin usually appears in patches. Vitiligo can occur anywhere on the body, and most patients have white patches in more than just one place. Vitiligo can occur on all skin colors, although it is more noticeable in people with darker skin tones. Melanocytes are the cells that produce color in skin. It is unknown why, but with vitiligo, the melanocytes are destroyed. There is no known cause of vitiligo. It is theorized that it may be an autoimmune condition because of the destruction of the melanocytes. It appears that the body may be destroying those cells itself, since no other source of the destruction can be found. With autoimmune diseases, the body mistakenly begins to attack it’s own cells, tissues, and organs. The immune system is designed to fight off anything that could be harmful, such as bacteria or a virus, but with an autoimmune disease, the immune system becomes confused and attacks it’s own normal healthy cells. Thus the name, autoimmune. Auto, meaning: self: self-immune.

Vitiligo is a common condition. There is somewhere between two and five million people in the United States who have the skin condition. That ends up being something like two percent of the American population. That doesn’t sounds like much, but it is. Most people who have vitiligo noticed the white spots and patches early in life. It generally presents itself between the ages of ten and thirty. Almost all vitiligo patients are diagnosed before the age of forty. It is not dependent on sex, and is not necessarily more likely to happen if you are a man or a woman. One thing that can impact your odds of developing the skin condition is if you have a family member who has it. Vitiligo tends to run in families. You may also be more likely to develop vitiligo if premature graying is common in your family. That does make sense, considering that gray hair occurs as a result of loss of pigment cells. There are also some autoimmune diseases that may increase your odds of developing vitiligo. Diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease (also known as autoimmune thyroid disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), or type 1 diabetes have shown to be more frequent in patients with vitiligo. Vitiligo is not contagious. Vitiligo may also be caused by a trigger event, for example a sunburn, or it may be caused by exposure to industrial chemicals or harsh chemicals.

So, naturally you’re wondering what the symptoms are. Well, with vitiligo, the only real symptom is just the skin color loss. For most people with the skin condition, the skin will suddenly and quickly begin losing pigment. This usually occurs in more than one area. Vitiligo is particularly common in places like the armpits, elbows, and any other area of the body that folds. It is also particularly common to occur around any opening on the body. It often affects the skin around the mouth and nose, as well as the hands. It can occur anywhere, though, even the hair. The area where the pigment is lost and has become white may stay the same size and shape for quite some time. It is likely, however, that at some point, the white patches will begin to spread and new patches may arise. Sometimes, patients will see long periods where the vitiligo remains the same and does not spread, followed by a period where the vitiligo is actively spreading. It may cycle back and forth. Vitiligo may appear over places that have been injured in the past, or in places that are exposed to sunlight frequently, too. It may also appear around moles. No real explanation on that one. Loss of pigment can also occur in the mucous membranes, namely the area inside your nose or the area inside your mouth. Pigment rarely returns to places where vitiligo has developed, but it’s not impossible. It’s highly unlikely, though.

There are three classifications of vitiligo. Generalized vitiligo is the most common type of the chronic skin condition. With generalized vitiligo, the white patches generally occur symmetrically on the body. They also tend to progress symmetrically. Of course, they are not completely symmetrical, and the patches may take different shapes. Segmental vitiligo occurs in young people, generally. It tends to progress for a couple years and then stop. Localized, or focal, vitiligo occurs on only a few places of the body. It is impossible to predict how any of these different types of the condition will progress over a person’s life. Sometimes, the condition will stop progressing without treatment, sometimes it wont. Generally speaking, vitiligo usually progresses and eventually covers a great deal of the skin.

Diagnosing vitiligo is relatively easy, and doesn’t require any crazy testing. Doctors can usually tell just by looking at the patches of pigment loss while conducting a physical whether or not you have the skin condition. It isn’t too difficult to identify and it tends to occur in the same kinds of places, so doctors can conclusively diagnose vitiligo by examining the skin. Some doctors may do further diagnostic testing. This may require a biopsy or blood labs. Taking a biopsy of the affected skin may be helpful in diagnosis. Blood tests may be used to determine whether there are other underlying autoimmune issues, which can sometimes be related to vitiligo. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this skin condition. There is also no way to prevent the condition from occurring. Many patients with vitiligo use makeup to cover up uneven skin color. Sometimes, corticosteroids are used to help with the appearance of the vitiligo, as well. Corticosteroid creams may be effective in restoring some of the pigment over time, especially when used early on in the disease process. There are also therapies such as light therapy combined with psoralen, which is taken orally. After taking the psoralen, patients are exposed to UVA/UVB light. There is also a therapy that evens skin tone by removing the pigment from the skin that has not been affected by the vitiligo. This is called depigmenting. There are surgical options such as skin grafting, and micropigmentation (essentially tattooing). Many of these therapies are pretty effective, but results do vary from patient to patient.

That’s it for today, guys! Thanks for reading!

If you are new to the Personalized Cause awareness blog, let me welcome you! I appreciate you taking the time to give this a read. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory brand based in California that specializes in custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a unique product that allows customers to personalize their awareness ribbon with any text they choose. There is no minimum quantity order requirement for custom awareness ribbons, which no other company offers. You may order just one custom awareness ribbon if that’s all you want, or you can order a bunch of different one, all with different text. It’s completely up to you. Plus, if custom awareness ribbons aren’t your thing, we also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric awareness ribbons, and silicone wristbands. Whatever your awareness accessory needs, we’ve got you covered.

Personalized Cause began this awareness blog to help raise awareness for the illnesses and causes that affect our customers. We want to help make this world a little more educated, understanding, and compassionate for them. We know how difficult it can be to deal with ignorance and misunderstanding in a community. We’ve also seen how a single awareness ribbon can impact that same community. We realize that our customers are doing their part to raise awareness for the causes close to their hearts by wearing their ribbons, and we wanted to do our part to help. This awareness blog is dedicated to educating readers on as many causes and illnesses as possible, in the hopes that we may contribute to a more understanding community for our customers. I hope you’ll join us again next week for another awareness blog post!

Purple awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for vitiligo. To order a custom purple awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/purple-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=vitiligo

#vitiligo #vitiligonation #vitiligopride #vitiligobeauties #dermatology #skin #pigment #melanin #color #change #beauty #worldvitiligoday #awareness #awarenessblog #awarenessribbons #cancerribbons

International Widow's Day

Davis Orr

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International Widow's Day

Gather round, everyone, it’s time for another edition of the Personalized Cause awareness blog. Today we are going to talk about something that many people don’t realize, particularly if you were born and raised in countries like the United States, Canada, and Western European nations such as France, England, Spain, Italy, and other countries with similar social attitudes. Today is International Widow’s Day. As the name indicates, this is an observance that is dedicated to women who have lost their husbands. Becoming a widow is an unbearable experience for all wives; however, many people don’t know that in many other countries becoming a widow can threaten your safety, social status, income, rights, and ability to care for your children. So, today, we are going to discuss what it is like to become a widow in other places of the world, where you are nothing and have nothing without a husband. While International Widow’s Day is free to be observed in honor of all widows, the day was created in order to call attention to the plight of women who lose their husbands in countries where widows are stigmatized, ostracized, and victimized as part of the culture they live in.

In many other cultures and countries, a woman’s status and value is inseparably tied to their husband. When their husband dies, everything tied to him disappears with it. All that they were when their husband was alive is everything they are not after his death. Many widows are treated as if they are invisible in other countries. In some places, widows are demonized and abused, as if isolation and being cut off from their families and society were not enough. For these women, becoming a widow is not only emotionally painful, but potentially also physically dangerous, and socially disastrous. When I say socially disastrous, I don’t mean that they stop being invited to holiday parties or drop a couple pegs in the social hierarchy. For them, socially disastrous means that they are completely ostracized, sometimes even excommunicated.

In many countries, particularly Africa, widowhood comes with a dangerous stigma. Some cultures believe that if a husband dies, it is the wife’s fault. It is believed that they are cursed or witches. In fact, in some parts of the world, the word for widow can be traces back to a word similar to something like sorceress or witch. They are accused of witchcraft and murder, simply because their husbands passed away and they are women. There are horrific rituals required of widows as a rite of mourning or burial. The rituals vary by country and culture, but these are just a few of the things that widows are forced to do when they lose their husbands. Many of them basically punish the woman for her husband’s death. Some of rituals put the widow’s life at risk, and most are humiliating and demeaning.

In some parts of Africa a widow is forced to have sex with another man. Some indicate that it should be the first man they see; others specify a man that is designated, or the brother’s of the deceased man. If the woman does not, it is believed that harm will come to her children. This act is considered a cleansing ritual. The belief is that this sexual encounter rids the evil spirits that surround death, which the widow has been exposed to in her husband’s passing. When you consider the prevalence of AIDS in countries that hold these beliefs, it is easy to see how this ritual is not only disturbing but also potentially life threatening, if AIDS is contracted.

In some other countries, generally in parts of Africa or India but also in parts of Asia, a widow may be forced to perform other kinds of rituals, too. Some widows have to drink the water used to clean the dead body of their husband. In some places, widows are forbidden from bathing for months on end, with no exceptions. This practice is not only unhygienic, but it may actually cause health problems. Skin diseases often occur as a result, as can issues such as gastroenteritis and typhoid. Some widows are required to sit on a mat, completely naked, and cry and scream at specified times. Some widows are prohibited from feeding themselves and must rely on others to feed them, which often results in malnourishment. Many customs include making the widow appear to be disheveled, raggedy, and unappealing.

Once a woman’s husband dies, she may be refused her inheritance, and her land rights may be stripped from her. Often times, widows are forced out of their homes, physically, mentally, or sexually abused, and sometimes even killed as a result of their husband dying. If the widow hopes to escape the discrimination and exclusion of being a widow, they may have to remarry a male relative of her late husband. Sometimes, a widow may be forced to do this, whether she agrees or not. From culture to culture, one thing remains consistent in the mistreatment of widows, and the social attitudes that encourage the mistreatment, and that is that widows are shamed for the death of their husband. The rituals and rites forced upon widows may vary by region, but all of the women who have lost their husbands in nations who mistreat widows are made to feel ashamed, dishonored, and degraded.

Children of widows also face great hardships. Because their mothers are socially and economically ostracized, many children who just suffered the loss of their father are forced to quit school and find jobs to support the family. Girls are particularly vulnerable in these circumstances because they may be forced to work in prostitution, they may be forced into an early child marriage, they may be trafficked, and they may be sold. Widowed mothers do this not because they want to, but because they cannot take care of them. Sometimes, even though child marriage is disgusting, the child will have a food, water, clothes and shelter if they become a child bride. As horrible as the decision is, it may be the best option and chance for survival. The majority of the time, children are withdrawn from school to go to work immediately. Child labor is sometimes the only source of income in families where the father/husband has died. These children forced into child labor never return to school, and therefore spend the rest of their lives working jobs to get by. The vast majority will never have gainful employment. Often, this means perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

There is such a profound and engrained sense of stigma for widows in some cultures that women who have lost their husbands sometimes commit suicide, rather than be forced to carry on living with the intense shame and dehumanization that comes with life as a widowed woman. A very large percentage of widows suffer from severe anxiety and depression because of the way they are treated and the poverty they are forced to live in. This kind of depression has terrible ramifications on the children, who are grieving themselves. Children of widowed women are forced to grow up in poverty, many times, despite the status they held or the lifestyle they were accustomed to when their father was alive. The loss of the male head of the household is devastating for all immediate members of his family.

I appreciate you taking the time to read about International Widow’s Day. The plight of widows is a little known fact in the western world. In fact, many census reports, statistical analyses, and population data collection fails to represent them accurately because they become invisible in their culture. It’s an issue that needs addressing, and the first step is to spread the word about what goes on. Losing a husband is difficult in any culture, but I can’t even imagine what it must be like to then spend the rest of your life being shamed for your loss. I’d like to wish all widows a day of peace and fond remembrance today. May their memories always make you smile.

If you are a first time reader, let me welcome you to the Personalized Cause awareness blog! Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory brand based in California. Personalized Cause offers all kinds of awareness accessories, such as awareness ribbon pins, fabric awareness ribbons, and silicone wristbands, but we’re famous for our custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a product unique to our business because we are the only company to offer customers the ability to personalize their awareness ribbon with any text they choose, without any minimum quantity order. If you want to order 20 custom awareness ribbons with all different text, no problem! If you just want to order one custom awareness ribbon, that’s also no problem. Whatever your needs are, we’ve got you covered.

Personalized Cause began this awareness blog earlier this year because we wanted to do our part to help raise awareness for causes and illnesses that our customers fight. We know that many of our customers have to battle ignorance and misunderstanding about their causes and conditions on a daily basis. We wanted to show our customers that we believe in them, and we believe in the power of awareness to change minds, hearts, and attitudes. We have seen first hand how one custom awareness ribbon can impact an entire community of people. We have been inspired to educate ourselves, and our readers, in hopes of creating a more compassionate culture for our customers and others. I hope you’ll join us again next week for another edition of the awareness blog!

Orange awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for Human Rights. To order a custom orange awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/orange-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=human%20rights

Black and blue awareness ribbons are used to signify the loss of a husband. To order a custom black and blue awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/black-and-blue-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=black%20and%20blue

#internationalwidowsday #widows #loss #death #husband #partner #menshealth #humanrights #grief #grieving #awareness #awarenessblog #awarenessribbons #cancerribons

World Refugee Day

Davis Orr

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Today is World Refugee Day!

Well, hey there! Thanks for stopping by for our latest post on the awareness blog! I hope you all had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend. I know I did. Nothing like some of Dad’s barbeque, am I right? I know it’s his holiday and we should barbeque for him, but he loves doing it so it’s a win for everyone. Anyways, back to the blog. Today we’re celebrating World Refugee Day, here at Personalized Cause. So, today’s blog will be dedicated to all the refugees of the world. I think it’s a particularly important topic given the current political climate of the world. Refugees deserve safety, shelter, and happiness as much as anybody who lives in a politically peaceful environment. They are not at fault for their government. World Refugee Day is celebrated every June 20th, to recognize the bravery, strength, and perseverance that refugees exhibit every day in their quest for a better life for themselves and their families.

So, what is a refugee? I know we all know the basic definition of a refugee as meaning a person who has fled from their homeland. The technical definition for refugee clarifies the current refugee crisis a little bit better than our basic understanding. First off, the most important thing to remember is that the word refugee represents a human being, the same as you or me. International law defines refugees as a person who has left the country that they called home out of a justified fear for their lives, safety, or wellbeing. Refugees may flee their country to escape persecution because of their religion, race, nationality, political affiliations, social status, or belonging to a particular group. They may also live in areas that are war torn, or plagued by conflict in a way that prevents them from being able to lead normal lives without putting themselves at risk or in danger.

We currently live in a time with the highest rate of people who are forced to flee their homes because of violence and political unrest. There are approximately 65.6 million people who are displaced worldwide. That means that every single day, over 28 thousand people become refugees to avoid the conflict that permeates their homes. That’s 20 people every minute. 22.5 million of refugees are children under 18. Becoming a refugee is not an easy decision. People give up everything just to survive, or better their chances of a future free of violence and conflict. Whatever your politics, you have to concede that no child deserves to grow up in a place where they cannot go outside without risking their lives, not that staying inside will protect them. That’s an unbearable thought. And imagine the parents of these children, who fear every second of every day that they may not be able to protect their family from harm. Refugees deserve a chance to thrive, not just survive. Over half of the world’s refugees come from only three countries, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Looking at the total world population, about one in every 100 people have been displaced from their homes. Obviously, the level of displacement by country is greater in certain places in the world than others. In the Middle East, about one in twenty people have been forced to flee their homes. In Africa, about one in sixty people have been displaced from their homes. In Syria, a whopping six out of ten people have been displaced. This number is the highest rate of people becoming refugees in recent history. That number is unparalleled for any single country. This is due to the Syrian conflict. In 2011, the number of Syrian refugees hovered just below one million. Now, there are over twelve and a half million Syrian refugees who have had to flee their homes and find shelter somewhere else in their country, neighboring countries, or abroad. The number of unaccompanied minors who are seeking asylum has also risen. Over half of the asylum seeking, unaccompanied minors are refugees from Afghanistan. In Europe, nearly 200,000 unaccompanied minors sought asylum between 2008 and 2015. 48 percent of those 200,000 were from 2015 alone.

Over 85 percent of refugees are hosted in developing nations. Africa hosts 29 percent of all refugees. The top five countries hosting the greatest number of refugees are Turkey, Jordan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, and Pakistan. Most refugees do not seek asylum in developed nations, such as the United States or Europe. The overwhelming majority of refugees, nine out of ten to be exact, simply head towards nearby countries. Around 95 percent of Afghan refugees are housed in Pakistan or Iran. Around 95 percent of Syrian refugees are housed in Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. As you can see from these statistics, the overwhelming majority of refugees are simply trying to escape to the nearest place that is safer than where they come from. Some of the countries refugees are fleeing to are dealing with their own conflicts, but they are still preferable to the homes they have fled. I think that says a lot about the state of the countries being fled and what it must be like to live there.

Life for refugees is often full of trauma. Not only have most refugees experiences some sort of trauma in their home before they were forced to leave, but they also face traumatic experiences along the way to a new life. Many refugees are separated from their families. They endure catastrophic loss. They lose their homes, their sense of familiarity, the lives they built, their family unit may be split up, they are likely separated from their friends, and they often have to leave all or most of their possessions behind. Refugees often face poverty, and the chaos of an unsettled life. It can be extremely taxing to live in a constant state of desperation for and anticipation of a new life. Some children grow up in refugee camps and don’t know anything about life outside their camp. Refugees are extremely vulnerable. Refugee camps often lack protection from many kinds of abuse, making women and children easy targets for people who work in the refugee camps or other people living there.

Once refugees finally make it to the U.S., if they are granted entrance, they are often helped by a network of communities, which typically consist of others who have gone through the same situation and established their lives here. There are many refugees who have family in the U.S., too. Voluntary agencies help refugees by providing services to help get them jobs, teach them English, get them food and clothes, and whatever counseling or medical care they may need in the first 90 days. Refugee children are able to attend public schools, and adults are able to get a job. Some government-funded services may also be available like Medicaid and federally reimbursed cash assistance programs during the first eight months. After that, they are eligible for the same public benefits and services as legal residents. This eligibility for public benefits and services lasts for seven years. After seven years have passed, they must become citizens in order to continue to receive those services. There are mutual assistance associations, also called MMA’s, which help to connect knowledgeable people in the community to people who are in need of help, or recently arrived.

Refugees want nothing more than to return to a normal life where they can pursue their goals and take care of themselves. They have endured terrible hardship and should not have to endure prejudice and stigma when they arrive in their new homes. They should be treated with respect, compassion, and acceptance. Their journey’s were difficult and their determination unwavering. Differences are strengths, not weaknesses. Diversity makes us better. Refugees should be welcome.

Join us again next week for another edition of the awareness blog! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

If you are a new reader, welcome! Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog and check us out. This is the Personalized Cause awareness blog. Personalized Cause is an awareness accessory brand that specializes in custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a unique product that allows our customers to personalize any of our custom pins with whatever text they want. In fact, we are the number one source for custom awareness ribbons that doesn’t require a minimum quantity for personalized ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a beautiful and powerful way to support someone during a health crisis, when you may not be able to figure out exactly what to say. If custom awareness ribbons aren’t what you’re looking for, that’s cool, too! We also carry classic awareness ribbons, fabric ribbons, and silicone wristbands. No matter what kind of awareness ribbons you need, we’ve got you covered!

Personalized Cause began this awareness blog because we truly believe in the power of awareness. This awareness blog is dedicated to raising awareness for as many causes and illnesses as we possibly can. This is our way of doing our part to raise awareness on behalf of our customers. With every purchase, you guys are doing your part to raise awareness for the causes that are close to your heart. Our customers are close to our hearts, so our goal is to help spread awareness by using our website to host this blog that aims to educate readers about a different cause every week.

There are two different awareness ribbons used to raise awareness for refugee causes. Yellow awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for welcoming refugees. Orange awareness ribbons are used to raise awareness for the humane treatment of refugees.

To order a yellow custom awareness ribbon for welcoming refugees, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/yellow-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=refugee

To order an orange custom awareness ribbon for the humane treatment of refugees, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/orange-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=refugee

#worldrefugeeday #worldrefugeeday2016 #refugees #refugeeswelcome #asylum #humanrights #humaninterest #shelter #awareness #awarenessblog #awarenessribbons #cancerribbons