HealthCentral Launches the #LiveBold Anti-Stigma Photo Contest

  • Multiple sclerosis can be a big bully. It can bring you to your knees, quite literally and figuratively.  MS puts up roadblocks and may cause you to ‘take the scenic route’ or it may require that you slow down, simplify, and prioritize.  Unfortunately, many chronic illnesses carry stigma (or negative misperception).  Sometimes we may even unintentionally self-impose or internalize a stigma which further creates its own problems. 

    But one thing I’ve noticed over the years is that people living with MS are amazingly resilient.  They have a unique ability to persevere and thrive despite challenges and obstacles.  I am often in awe of the ingenuity, patience, and tenacity with which members of the MS community face everyday challenges of living with this disease.  (For an excellent example, watch Jason DaSilva’s documentary ‘When I Walk’ on PBS next Monday.)

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    Right now fatigue and heat-sensitivity are my biggest hurdles to overcome during the summer months.  Each of these MS symptoms can wipe me out and sometimes I don’t feel like fighting back.  But other times, I become determined to not let them get in the way of enjoying life.  I choose to #LiveBold.

    During the past two weekends, Rob and I have been enjoying Saturday night after-hours viewing of classic Indiana Jones movies at the local movie theater.  Initially the thought of watching midnight showings didn’t sound appealing or realistic.  However, I made a decision; I decided to stop what I was doing, lay down, and make myself close my eyes on Saturday afternoon to take a good long nap.  I wasn’t being lazy.  On the contrary, I took control, fought back, and decided to enjoy life despite MS. 

     

    That is what it means to live boldly.  It’s about finding the strength to persevere and thrive despite MS.  It’s about overcoming challenges and the accomplishments that make you proud.

     

    We live boldly in many ways every day.  This weekend, I did so by taking a nap.  For Jodi Edwards, it is running.  For you, it might be taking care of your family, socializing with friends, or playing a musical instrument.  Or perhaps it is gardening, taking a walk around the block, traveling, or raising awareness of MS.  The possibilities are endless.

    How do you choose to #LiveBold?  

    HealthCentral wants to give you the opportunity to share your story and help to stamp out stigmas associated with chronic disease in the process.  The #LiveBold anti-stigma photo campaign is about telling the story of your accomplishments, no matter how big, small, or in between.  You can also win up to $500!

    Here’s what you do to join the campaign and enter the contest:

    • Submit a photo that shows how you Live Bold accompanied by a 250-word description of your story.  
    • Enter on the contest page here on HealthCentral or on the #LiveBold Facebook page by Friday, July 11, 2014.  
    • Share your story on social media using the hashtag #LiveBold.  
    • Voting for the contest begins July 15 and continues through August 8.  The entries with the most votes will be selected to win $500 (1st place), $250 (2nd place), or $100 (3rd place).  
    • You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

    To kick off the campaign, join @HealthCentral for an anti-stigma tweet chat on June 25th at 2pm EST.

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    Lisa Emrich is author of the blog Brass and Ivory: Life with MS and RA and founder of the Carnival of MS Bloggers.

Published On: June 18, 2014