A video storytelling campaign and contest, called #IAmInvisibleNoMore, intended to raise awareness of “invisible” disabilities — which can range from lupus to heart disease or depression — has been launched by the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) and the private company Allsup.
IDA is an advocacy and support group for people with these disabilities; Allsup is a U.S. company that works with people filing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims.
Through their joint #IAmInvisibleNoMore campaign, people who upload two- to three-minute videos in which they tell their personal stories will be eligible to win a variety of prizes, including the top prize of $500 and a trip to Denver to attend the IDA Awards Gala on Oct. 19. Second-place prize is a $250 pre-paid debit card, and third place a $100 pre-paid card.
The video contest ends March 16, and winners will be determined by online votes. Until then, both IDA and Allsup will host Facebook live events with tips on how best a person can tell their story. Follow Allsup and IDA on Facebook to be notified of live events and contest updates. Official contest rules can be found here.
“Living with an invisible disability means struggling to get people to believe you when you explain how your condition affects you,” Wayne Connell, founder and chief executive officer of IDA, said in a press release. “Imagine being labeled as lazy or rude because people don’t appreciate how your illness makes certain activities impossible. This disbelief not only affects relationships, it can be a barrier to care and benefits as well.”
Lupus is one of the many invisible disabilities affecting people; others include heart disease, mental illness, fibromyalgia, traumatic brain injury and various forms of arthritis.
Common symptoms of multiple invisible disabilities include chronic pain or fatigue. For people with lupus, disabilities not outwardly visible also include such symptoms as headaches, sensitivity to light, or joint and muscle pain, and symptoms particular to the specific organs affected by the disease, including ones that are life-limiting and can impact a patient’s ability to work.
IDA released a video promoting public understanding of invisible diseases and helping people talk about their disease to family and friends in January. The making of the video, also titled “I Am Invisible No More,” was sponsored by Allsup.
IDA is host of Invisible Disabilities Week, which runs Oct. 14–20.