For the third year in a row, both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted a resolution formally declaring the week of May 22, 2016 to May 28, 2016 as “Invisible Illness Awareness Week” in Michigan. The goal of the week is to raise awareness of invisible illnesses among the general public and medical community, while reducing stigma surrounding these illnesses.
Senate Resolution 0063 (2016) was adopted on May 19 following similar action by the House of Representatives. Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. introduced Katie Dama-Jaskolski, co-founder of the Life as a Zebra Foundation, to the Senate floor.
The 2016 Invisible Illness Awareness Week was themed “Making the Invisible Illnesses; Visible Hope” to reflect the widespread scope of the issue and to create a forum to share the stories of people living with invisible illness.
“We have shined the light on invisible illnesses throughout the years, but it’s still not enough to erase the stigma many people feel, and to bring more early diagnoses to these conditions,” Dama Jaskolski said. “It’s great to have advocates like Representative Schor and Senator Hertel in the Michigan Legislature to bring this issue to the forefront. The person right beside you could be suffering from an unseen illness, and in need of compassion, care and understanding.”
Throughout Invisible Illness Awareness Week, “zebras” from around the country shared their stories about living with various invisible illnesses on social media. They are written with bravery, honesty, and inspiration. Check out our Facebook page to read the stories, or to share your own.