Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization that specifically serves the chronically ill, is the sponsor of the upcoming National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 13-19, 2010.
Lisa Copen, 41, began Rest Ministries in 1996 following a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. “I was looking for a way to connect with others who were living with a chronic condition, for encouragement and support for what my life may hold,” says Copen.
After a few years of networking people who live with chronic conditions through online ministry and support groups in churches called HopeKeepers(R), Copen saw many people who were suffering from feeling misunderstood.
“Even those who coped the best with their physical limitations had a lot of emotions about feeling like no one understood how great the pain was,” shares Copen. “National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week was a way to be able to validate the pain people were feeling, and create more awareness overall, including in the faith communities.”
Many participants are having resource tables at their churches during Invisible Illness Week. Support groups are having community events and a lot of people are participating in online activities, including a virtual conference September 13-17 and blogging for the cause.
When you sign up for daily updates from http://InvisibleIllnessWeek.com you receive a free 80-page ebook written by Copen and other illness experts, “Chronic Illness Tips: 263 Ways to do More Than Just Get By.”
Rest Ministries provides a variety of resources and programs such as online daily devotionals one can receive via email. Copen has authored a dozen books for the ministry such as “Why Can’t I Make People Understand? Discovering The Validation Those with Chronic Illness Seek and Why.”
With nearly 1 in 2 people living with a chronic condition, about 96% of those people are suffering silently with invisible illnesses where their pain cannot be seen. Through Invisible Illness Week Rest Ministries hopes to let people know they are not alone and that someone does understand and care about their struggles.
Rest Ministries is an affiliate of Joni and Friends International Disability Center, the ministry of author and disability advocate Joni Eareckson Tada.
For more information on how to participate visit the web site at http://InvisibleIllnessWeek.com