Last summer, I decided I really wanted to do something special in my own community to help to raise awareness about the disease I have had most of my life. Unfortunately, things did not go quite as planned, and now that I am in my new home, I would love to try doing this again - but with a few changes. One of the changes is that instead of just being a summertime project, I am going to extend this until December 31 2012. This should give enough time for everyone to be able to participate on a wide range of levels. I should also mention, I do have no qualms (and in fact would really enjoy) working with other photographers who would like to participate in this, as well as those who would like to try to put something similar together in their own areas. The more people involved, the more awareness we can raise! Now....about this special photo project!
I have had a rare invisible chronic auto immune disease since I was 9 years old called Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. So this project is something esp. near and dear to my heart. This disease, like other Chronic AutoImmune Rheumatic Diseases are invisible and well...chronic. They strike anyone of any age, creed or gender at any time. It strikes more people than Diabetes, Cancer & Heart Disease - and yet people care and know less about it than any of those big 3 illnesses, not to mention a million and one misconceptions about what an AutoImmune Rheumatic Disease is. I would like to help put a change to that, help raise awareness & help bring hope to those of us suffering from it and help us to FIGHT for a CURE! Now I do this every day with everyone I meet online and in person as it is, however this summer, I'd like to step things up a notch or three with YOUR help!
So what is my special project to help raise more Rheumatic Disease Awareness?
1) I would like to do another compilation of photos of those of all ages, races, and genders suffering from chronic auto immune diseases - remember Rheumatic Disease is an Umbrella Term for over 100 diseases!!! So this applies to a LOT of people! If you have one - please contact me! I would like to compile these photos into a LARGE book titled "The Real Faces of Rheumatic Diseases" to help raise awareness. A Photo is worth a thousand words - so hopefully it will help get our message across to so many out there!
2) I would also like to do a second photo project, again I am asking for those in the rheumatic disease community to pose for. It will be titled "The Rheumatic Disease Journal: A Day in the Life" to showcase some of the things that WE struggle with everyday that most people don't understand, like Stairs, using a can opener, taking a bazillion pills a day etc.
3) the topper on this cake for sure! I want to, for Sept. 01 is the tentative date on this, as September is Arthritis Awareness Month IN CANADA. I would like to do some kind of event here locally and I would like to have some people speak about their experiences with rheumatic disease and why this is so important - esp. the YOUNG PEOPLE! There is a lot of great ideas I'm sure for what great things we could do including possibly having the Arthritis Society and maybe even a few pharmacists and doctors or rheumatologists out and hopefully we can even get some local business owners, athletic stars, politicians and more out to speak & to pose for the shots in both books! So if you know anyone who is willing to take part in any of these three things, or are willing to yourself, or have many more great ideas please give me a shout and let me know and lets get some MAJOR AWARENESS GOING ON !!!!
At this time, I am hoping to do this on a local level - so to those on the Sunshine Coast. I will put out a casting call of sorts for these photos and you would recieve digital proofs of the images taken of course as well and there is no sitting fee or any cost at all unless, for example, you choose you really like your photos and wish to order prints etc. This is also NOT a paid shoot as it is going towards awareness! So if you are interested in helping to support or plan or participate in either of the photo projects (as someone who has a rheumatic disease) or want to help to coordinate/support an event in September here in the sunshine coast as well - please don't hesitate to send me a note! Let's spread some awareness, share some love and support, give a ton of hope and help FIGHT FOR A CURE!