Illness can create an amazing amount of stress and angst for the person who is ill, that person’s family/friends and caregivers. On April 28, 2019, Diane and I attended a conference organized by Samaritan Healthcare & Hospice Jewish Advisory Council. We learned about how such stress can affect a person physically, spiritually and emotionally, and were given some resources that can help to reduce that stress.
One of the biggest tools that we have to fight health conditions and the problems that they create for both patient and caregivers is the power of human connection. That’s why “awareness” months, weeks and days are so important – they rally us together to spread awareness and show support. Educational and fundraising events are often held at these times to increase awareness of these health conditions. In other words, the more you know, the more you connect with others and share your concerns, the more you can reduce the amount of worry.
So, this month, I’m focusing on not only the conditions and diseases “awareness” days that occur in May, but also some fun observances to help us all to relax.
Sure, you’ve heard about the bigger awareness campaigns like Breast Cancer Awareness Month and World AIDS Day. But what about lesser-known ones? Some examples in the month of May are:
Celiac Disease (this is the condition for which folks need to eat gluten-free products)
Crohn’s Disease (an inflammation that can affect any part of the GI tract)
Dystonia (a condition in which incorrect signals from the brain causes muscles to pull on the body and spasm)
Huntington’s Disease (a fatal genetic disorder that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain). This is what Woody Guthrie had.
Lupus (a long-term autoimmune disease that includes inflammation, swelling and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart and lungs).
There are some diseases which are specific to women and also have awareness days in the month of May, among which are:
National Women’s Health Week – May 12-18
World Ovarian Cancer Day – May 8
We don’t want you to be all stressed about the various conditions and diseases that have awareness days in May.
That is why we also want you to…
You will be happy to know that May is also National Bike Month.
If you are a student, you can start on May 8th with Bike to School Day;
If you are in the workforce, you can observe National Bike to Work Day on May 17th.
After school or work on May 14th, stop off at your local Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream store for a free ice cream cone (Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Free Cone Day).
If you are feeling really adventurous, you can do what I plan to do: go to the corner of West Girard and College Avenues in Philadelphia, PA on May 25th between 12:00 and 5:00 p.m. to celebrate National Tap Dance Day.
See you there?