Mrs. Washington Contestant Understands Invisible Disabilities

Rosie Lohr, Mrs. Washington Contestant

Rosie Lohr, Mrs. Washington Contestant

Written by Rosie Lohr, Mrs. Moses Lake

My name is Rosie Lohr. I am currently Mrs. Moses Lake and I am competing for Mrs. Washington, because it is my mission is to bring awareness to the public about invisible disabilities.

I chose the Invisible Disabilities Association as my platform and my charity, because I want to give people with invisible disabilities a voice in Washington state and other parts of America. I desire to help people understand that just because a disability may not be readily visible, they should not be denied what they need and questioned at every corner they turn. It hurts. It is not their fault and they deserve respect and not judgment.

Why am I passionate about this issue? On October 8, 1998 I received a phone call while at work that would change my life forever. The call was from my father who was at work at ASIMS, a chemical plant in Moses Lake WA. I took the call and my father said, “You need to sit down.” My first thought was that something must have happened to my four month old daughter; I began to shake. He told me there has been an explosion at the plant and I needed to get to the hospital now. Jeremy (my husband) had been injured.

When I got to the hospital it was mass confusion and no one had any answers. You see, the small town I live in was unequipped for something like this and they had no idea how to treat the men who were injured. Silicon tetra-chloride gas is a highly volatile and potent chemical that can produce “acute tissue damage” (i.e. any moist areas: lungs, eyes, nose, any sweat). It is an acid and burns these areas.

My husband was air-lifted to Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle, WA. I had to leave my daughter with family and get on a jet from Moses Lake to Seattle. The doctors at our local hospital said he may not make it, because the chemical had burned his lungs and eyes so severely.

Jeremy and Rosie Lohr

Jeremy and Rosie Lohr

After two weeks in the hospital and some touch-and-go experiences, he was sent home on oxygen and so our journey began with his disability. He was diagnosed with COPD and after many years and many prayers he regained his sight and uses oxygen on occasion, but always has it with him.

To look at him, he looks healthy. But he cannot walk up a hill, stairs or do any heavy lifting. He gets winded easily and has a cough that never goes away. We have experienced much discrimination and judgment, because he “LOOKS good!” For example, one time when we parked in an accessible spot, a person came up to us to ask for ID to prove he was disabled. At a concert event, I once had to argue with security to let us sit in the disabled seating. People love to whisper and point when I am carrying the heavy bags of groceries and he is not. They don’t understand that he would if he could! There are so many examples of this I could go on and on.

Cheer for Rosie on January 18, 2014 as she competes for Mrs. Washington at the Maydenbaur Theater in Bellevue, WA.  There are 27 contestants from all over Washington.

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

Invisible Disabilities Association in The Denver Post

The Denver Post, Joanne Davidson. 11-17-13

The Denver Post, Joanne Davidson. 11-17-13

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is absolutely thrilled that The Denver Post took notice of the amazing work the IDA is doing to bring about awareness, education and support to millions of people living with debilitating illness and pain.

IDA’s passion is to bring about a better understanding of medical disabilities that are not always obvious to the onlooker, in turn restoring relationships for those who live with debilitating conditions. IDA does so through their websites, booklets, pamphlets, articles, seminars, events, videos, radio interviews and resources as well as our online community and social networks.

Annually, since 2008, IDA has given the IDA Honor Awards to individuals and organizations making a difference for those living with debilitating conditions.

The Denver Post, Joanne Davidson 11-17-13

The Denver Post, Joanne Davidson 11-17-13

Thank you to The Denver Post and society editor, Joanne Davidson for increasing this vital awareness. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of so many!

RESOURCES: 

Invisible Disabilities Association awards dinner: Photos from the evening. The Denver Post. Mile High Style. Joanne Davidson. Photographer: Steve Peterson, Special to The Denver Post. November 17, 2013.

Invisible Disabilities Association honors its champions. The Denver Post. Mile High Style.Joanne Davidson. Photographer: Steve Peterson, Special to The Denver Post. PDF.  November 17, 2013.

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

The Villager Newspaper Shines a Light on IDA’s Awards Night

Wayne Connell and Scottie Taylor Iverson, The Villager Newspaper

Wayne Connell and Scottie Taylor Iverson, writer for The Villager Newspaper

Annually, since 2008, the Invisible Disabilities Association has highlighted individuals and organizations making a difference in the lives of those living with debilitating conditions.

We have done so by giving awards to incredible people across the nation. Some have faced challenges themselves, others simply have a heart for those who are hurting.

We are honored to have Scottie Taylor Iverson spot IDA out of a crowd and join us on our amazing quest.

Invisible Disabilities Association honors visible heroes. The Villager Newspaper. Scottie Taylor Iverson. 10-10-13

Invisible Disabilities Association honors visible heroes. The Villager Newspaper. Scottie Taylor Iverson. 10-10-13

She was so kind as to highlight IDA’s 2013 Honor Awards Banquet in the Flair! section of The Villager Newspaper and followed up the full-page spread with a very exciting follow-up story!

What a thrill to meet Scottie and have her tell her readers about our journey to bring awareness and education to the world, as well as hope and compassion to those living with illness, pain and disability.

Thank you, Scottie and The Villager Newspaper!

Invisible Disabilities Association honors visible heroes. The Villager Newspaper. Scottie Taylor Iverson. 11-14-13

Invisible Disabilities Association honors visible heroes. The Villager Newspaper. Scottie Taylor Iverson. 11-14-13

 

RESOURCES:

Invisible Disabilities Association to honor 9 champions from around the nation. The Villager Newspaper. Flair! Scottie Taylor Iverson. Online excerpt. 10-09-13. Membership required to view full article.

Invisible Disabilities Association honors visible heroes. The Villager Newspaper. Flair! Scottie Taylor Iverson. Online excerpt. 11-13-13. Membership required to view full article.

 

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

Matt Barrett Gets His Wish to Attend 2013 IDA Awards Banquet

Matt Barrett Speaking at the 2011 IDA Awards Banquet

Matt Barrett Speaking at the 2011 IDA Honor Awards Banquet

Meet Matt Barrett, a “Walking Miracle” in Denver on October 24th. Matt will be autographing his book, A View from the Street.

Matt Barrett has lived a life most could never imagine. Matt has battled 11 forms of cancer and four brain tumors since he was just two years old.

As if that were not enough, because his face and body are disfigured by over 1,700 major surgeries, strangers have called him a monster, children have hidden behind their mothers, and store managers have asked him to leave the premises.

It is such a travesty when people are quick to judge Matt from the outside, because they are certainly missing out on getting to know this amazing person.

Animals sense Matt's gentle spirit.

Animals sense Matt’s gentle spirit.

Despite a lifetime of fighting cancer, being homeless off and on for most of his adult life, and enduring excruciating pain on a daily basis, Matt remains a giving and loving soul. 

Ask anyone who knows Matt and they will tell you he is a “Gentle Giant.” At 6 foot 4, over 300 pounds with a love for others as big as he is, his nickname seems fitting.

People on the streets don’t have a clue what they are missing when they fail to talk with this man and give him the respect he deserves. Those who hear about Matt’s journey are not only amazed, but inspired to be more appreciative of what they have.

For decades, doctors have called Matt a “Walking Miracle!” He has lived many, many years beyond anyone’s expectations. This has allowed him to continue his purpose in making this world a better place.

In 2011, Matt received a standing ovation as a Special Guest Speaker at the Invisible Disabilities Association Awards Banquet where there was not a dry eye in the house. Today, Matt was named an IDA Ambassador!

Matt has had many other accomplishments:

Matt Barrett and Sherri Connell, wife of IDA Founder

Matt Barrett and Sherri Connell, wife of IDA Founder

Although Matt has beaten countless odds, Matt’s prognosis is not good. Many doctors have told him he only has a matter of months or just weeks.

Thanks to the people who have rallied together to raise the funds, Matt’s wish to travel back to Denver for the 2013 Invisible Disabilities Association Awards Banquet is coming true!

Meet Matt on Thursday October 24th at the Denver Marriott South in Lone Tree. Details and registration: www.ItsNotAnIllusion.com

Matt Speaking at the 2011 Invisible Disabilities Association Awards Banquet

RELATED STORIES:

IDA Ambassador, Matt Barrett

A Lifelong Journey with Special Guest, Matt Barrett

Matt Barrett Gets Wish to Come Back to Attend 2013 IDA Awards Banquet

Matt Barrett’s Website, A View from the Street 

Order Matt Barrett’s Poetry Book, A View from the Street

Lifelong Battle with Illness Claims Man’s Face, Family but Not His Spirit. Martha Kang. September 27, 2013.  Picked up by Associated Press - Man’s long struggle with cancer nears end. October 15, 2013.

Photographer Tells Matt’s Story

Celebrate Life Event for Matt Barrett. May 25, 3013. Seattle, Washington.

Homeless in Seattle - Has helped Matt make 2 trip wishes reality through their supporters

Tent City 3 - Where Matt lived for three years

 

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

Ed Greene, CBS4 Weather and News Anchor to Emcee Awards Night

Ed Greene, CBS4 News and Weather

Ed Greene, CBS4 Weather and News Anchor

Press Release

Ed Greene, CBS4 Weather and News Anchor to Emcee Local Awards Night

Lone Tree, CO - October 10, 2013. Will are thrilled to announce that Ed Greene, CBS4 Weather and News Anchor, will be the Master of Ceremonies for the 2013 Invisible Disabilities Association Honor Awards Banquet on October 24, 2013 at the Denver Marriott South in Lonetree.

The evening will include nine IDA Award Recipients who are incredible individuals and businesses making a difference for people living with disabilities. Also enjoy exciting entertainment from Illusionists, David and Teesha Laflin, as well as a Silent and LIVE Auction and a delicious dinner and dessert with Honorary Chairs, Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons and Jack Fitzgibbons.

Ed is the senior member of Denver’s working media and has been a Denver TV Newscaster for over 32 years. Ed says he loves his job and Colorado’s always-changing weather. In rain, shine, sleet or snow, you’ll find Ed Greene on CBS4 newscasts at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. He also does weather for Denver’s KYGO radio.

Ed is one of the most recognizable and involved TV personalities in the community. In fact, he donates his time to emcee 60 to 70 events a year for local non-profit organizations and is a prominent figure at many local functions.

When asked about his involvement Ed says,

“I feel a responsibility to give back to the community. Doing that is what has kept me going all these years. The community has been good to me and in return I donate my time so that local non-profit organizations can raise money and awareness for good causes. I feel it’s the right thing to do.”

Be a sponsor or purchase individual seats. Everyone is welcome! Don’t forget to invite your co-workers and friends!

The IDA Team

ABOUT THE INVISIBLE DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by illness, injury and disabilities around the world since 1997. IDA provides awareness, articles, pamphlets, booklets, radio interviews, videos, seminars, events, resources, an online social network and much more.

Contact the IDA Team: Go to the Contact Page on the Invisible Disabilities Association website. Visit the Invisible Disabilities Association at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

Illusionists Illuminate Evening for People Living with Illness and Pain

Illusionists, David and Teesha Laflin

Illusionists, David and Teesha Laflin

Press Release

Colorado Illusionists Illuminate the Lives of People Living with Illness and Pain

Denver, CO – October 10, 2013. It’s Not An Illusion! Debilitating illness and pain is real, even though we can’t always “see” it.

Illusionists, David and Teesha Laflin will be making things “appear” in honor of millions of people living with various conditions becoming “Invisible No More” at the 2013 It’s Not An Illusion Awards Banquet on October 24, 2013 at the Denver Marriott South in Lone Tree.

Since 2002, internationally recognized illusionists, David and Teesha Laflin have entertained and inspired audiences through their creative blend of both classic and cutting-edge illusions. They have performed all across the United States and on five different continents. Their programs have been featured at numerous conferences and conventions throughout the world and have reached large-scale audiences through their television appearances. Last year they performed for the Women’s NCAA Final Four in Denver. In addition, David and Teesha are the creators of several illusion training DVD’s and the authors of the popular book “ILLUSIONS.”

The evening will highlight nine IDA Award Recipients who are incredible individuals and businesses making a difference for people living with disabilities. Also enjoy a Silent and LIVE Auction and a delicious dinner and dessert with Honorary Chairs, Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons and Jack Fitzgibbons and Emcee, Ed Greene, CBS4 Weather and News Anchor.

Join us and invite your friends, doctors and neighbors for a thrilling evening for a great cause!

The IDA Team

ABOUT THE INVISIBLE DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by illness, injury and disabilities around the world since 1997. IDA provides awareness, articles, pamphlets, booklets, radio interviews, videos, seminars, events, resources, an online social network and much more.

Contact the IDA Team: Go to the Contact Page on the Invisible Disabilities Association website. Visit the Invisible Disabilities Association at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

Worldwide Outreach Awards Individuals and Organizations Making a Difference

Invisible Disabilities Association Honor Awards

Invisible Disabilities Association Honor Awards

Press Release

Worldwide Outreach Awards Individuals and Organizations Making a Difference

Denver, CO – October 10, 2013. The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) has been recognizing individuals and organizations making a difference in the lives of those living with illness, pain and disability since 2008.

Join IDA on October 24th at the Denver Marriott South to help recognize the following amazing people
with our 2013 IDA Honor Awards:

 

  • Corporate - Dave Liniger, Chairman and Co-founder – RE/MAX
  • Founders - Paul Myhill – TrafficJam
  • Healthcare - Marlo Thomas, Award Winning Actress and Author, National Outreach Director – St Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Impact -Kimberly McCleary, President and CEO -CFIDS Association of America
  • InspirationKevin Sorbo – Actor, Producer, Director and Author of True Strength
  • Invisible HeroJennifer Brusstar, President and CEO – Tug McGraw Foundation
  • Perseverance - Laura Hillenbrand, New York Times Bestselling Author of Seabiscuit and Unbroken
  • Research - John Kelley, Chair and CEO – CereScan
  • Volunteer - Shery McDonald-Galbreath, Founder and President – SaddleUp! Foundation

Also experience exciting entertainment from Illusionists, David and Teesha Laflin. Meet our Emcee, Ed Greene, CBS4 Weather and News Anchor, as well as Honorary Chairs, Adrienne Ruston Fitzgibbons and Jack Fitzgibbons. Enjoy a Silent and LIVE Auction and a delicious dinner and dessert.

Truly and evening of inspiring stories, touching presentations and lighthearted fun bring awareness to invisible disabilities. Doctors, nurses, friends and family often walk away saying, “Wow! I didn’t get it until tonight!”

Be a sponsor or purchase individual seats. Everyone is welcome! Don’t forget to invite your co-workers and friends!

The IDA Team

ABOUT THE INVISIBLE DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by invisible disabilities around the world since 1997. IDA provides awareness, articles, pamphlets, booklets, radio interviews, videos, seminars, events, resources, an online social network and much more.

Contact the IDA Team: Go to the Contact Page on the Invisible Disabilities Association website. Visit the Invisible Disabilities Association at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

IDA Founder and President Special Guest on Kidney Talk

Renal Support Network 2013Press Release

IDA Founder and President, Wayne Connell, was Special Guest on Kidney Talk!

Parker, CO – September 12, 2013. The Invisible Disabilities Association Founder and President, Wayne Connell was a Special Guest on Kidney Talk! on August 20, 2013.

He discussed living with invisible disabilities with Lori Hartwell of the Renal Support Network. He shared awareness, tips and insights for understanding and supporting people living with all types of debilitating conditions.

Listen to the interview online!

ABOUT THE INVISIBLE DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by invisible disabilities around the world since 1997. IDA provides awareness, articles, pamphlets, booklets, radio interviews, videos, seminars, events, resources, an online social network and much more.

Contact the IDA Team: Go to the Contact Page on the Invisible Disabilities Association website. Visit the Invisible Disabilities Association at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

RESOURCE:

Renal Support Network

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

We All Believe in Love

Kathe and David SkinnerWe  believe in love, we just don’t practice it.

Maybe because we think love has no limits, no boundaries, that all is fair.  Love conquers all and love never ends.  Besides time, love is the greatest healer.  And along with diamonds, love is forever.

If that’s true, what about the chart-topping occurrence of divorce?  It’s said that love never fails, but it does.  As for remarriage, those vows would have to be toned down to reflect this second-hand (or third or more) love.   But they’re not.

Love is conditional.   We love for different reasons, with the reasons shifting and shaping over time together and time separately.  In the beginning, each of us has a different definition, based mostly on expectations.  Usually kicking and screaming, the realization hits that being “in love” suggests a togetherness, a “we-ness”; it’s that definition that relationship is about.  It’s a definition that must be known, spoken aloud, and agreed to by both parties and must be flexible enough to join us wherever we are in life.  Most of the couples I see in my office are still clinging to a separate love definition.

In a purely selfish way, my attention comes to focus on invisible disability.  And how that sometimes becomes a deal breaker when it comes to the limits of love.  Besides losing partner-love (or maybe because of it), self-love takes a big hit when the cause of break-up may be disability or chronic illness. Don’t kid yourself (but you will) into believing that your definition of love is your partner’s definition. Remember that the definition of love morphs over time; love is defined by each partner because of all the elements that go into who we are at that moment.

I always disclose to my clients the fact of my MS; one time a client told me he couldn’t work with me because I was “broken”.  Taken aback, I recovered enough to ask him to reconsider, to think about it until our next session.  I’d never had a client be so direct and I’ll admit I was hurt to be judged for my disease.  We did work together very successfully and, at his final session, he told me that he had come to realize that because of his severe anxiety, he was “broken”, too.  I’ve never forgotten how moved I was that my invisible disability led to his introspection and greater understanding of himself.  Best of all, he not only didn’t judge me, but he didn’t judge himself.

It’s crucial at the most basic, core level to actively and with intent search out love’s meaning.  Taking for granted that your definitions are the same leads only to stalemate; bullying for agreement leads to worse.  This love is about the “us-ness”  each of you gives over; anticipating that it will not always be as you first described love in those first dewy moments, faces the reality of who we become together.  Or if we do at all.

About Kathe Skinner

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist turned Relationship Coach in private practice. She conducts Couples Retreats in fabulous places, offers webinars and holds Couples Communication Classes along the Front Range of Colorado. She and her husband David live in Colorado Springs with two hooligan cats. She has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years.

My First TV Interview

Angela Pierce TV InterviewRecently, I was a guest on a local TV program hosted by Scott Kaplan and Amber Mesker.  It was the first time I had ever been interviewed.  I did not realize how simple the set up was, as I expected to see a lot more cameras, lights and noise.  It was a simple set and very quiet.

I was asked to come on and tell my story about my accident.  When the interview began, I thought it would be about how to motivate people via my story, but instead it was an account of what actually happened.  I took a moment in my mind to figure out how to bring motivation to the story, so I referenced the moment when I was put in the ambulance and told Scott and Amber that my thoughts were centered on survival.  Instead of laying in a hospital, I’ll be laying in the sun and enjoying the weather.

The way I thought I could motivate people was to tell them that the most important thing when facing tragedy was to tell yourself, “don’t give up.  You’ll have your day in the sun if you hold on to life.”  After almost thirty years, I still tell myself that same message and find it to be very helpful to me as new challenges and struggles surface.

In conclusion, here’s the message for you, the readers:  When difficulty or tragedy strikes, realize that there are many different ways you can respond.  The most important thing to remember is that you can tell yourself is that it will be OK.  The moment won’t last forever.  You are worth more than the price of the trauma!

RESOURCE

U-T San Diego – Front Page with Scott & Amber. Watch Angela’s interview. January 14, 2013.

About Angela Pierce

In 1985, Angela Pierce survived a 125-foot free fall while mountain climbing, breaking her bones in 168 places. Her story of survival is a miracle. The lessons she has learned over the last 27 years are an incredible inspiration to others who must climb their own mountains every day. Visit her website, Falling Off the Mountain.

The Visible Invisible Disability

Wayne-Connell-and-Matt-Barrett-2011By Wayne Connell, Founder and President of the Invisible Disabilities Association 

What is a disability? In general, the term disability is often used to describe a physical or mental challenge. This could be a bump in life that can be managed, or a mountain that creates serious changes and loss.  Either way, this term should not be used to describe a person as weaker or lesser than anyone else!

Every person has a purpose, special uniqueness and value, no matter what hurdles they may face.  Just because a person has a disability, that does not mean they are “disabled. “ Many living with physical or mental challenges are still active in their work, sports or hobbies. Some with disabilities are able to work full or part time, but may struggle to get through their day, with little or no energy for other things. On the other hand, others may be unable to maintain gainful or substantial employment due to their disability, have trouble with daily living activities and need assistance with their care.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), an individual with a disability is a person who:  Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Furthermore, “A person is considered to have a disability if he or she has difficulty performing certain functions such as seeing, hearing, talking, walking, climbing stairs and lifting and carrying, or has difficulty performing activities of daily living, or has difficulty with certain social roles such as doing school work for children, working at a job and around the house for adults.” Statistics show that disabilities affect one-fifth of all Americans.

Often people think the term disability only refers to people who use a wheelchair or walker. On the contrary, the 1994-1995 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) found that 26 million Americans (almost 1 in 10) were considered to have a severe disability, while only 1.8 million used a wheelchair and 5.2 million used a cane, crutches or walker (Americans with Disabilities 94-95). In other words, 74 percent of Americans who live with a severe disability do not use such devices. Therefore, a disability cannot be determined solely on whether or not a person uses assistive equipment.

The term invisible disabilities refers to symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, cognitive dysfunctions, learning differences and mental disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments. These are not always obvious to the onlooker, but can sometimes or always limit daily activities, range from mild challenges to severe limitations and vary from person to person.

In addition, someone who has a visible impairment or uses an assistive device, such as a wheelchair, walker or cane, can also have invisible disabilities. Whether or not a person uses an assistive device, if they are debilitated by symptoms like those described above, they live with invisible disabilities.

My friend Matt Barrett is a real example of someone living with visible invisible disabilities. Matt is 46-years-old and has battled 11 types of cancer since the age of two, including basal cell nevus syndrome, a genetic form of cancer passed down through his family for six generations. He has had over 1,700 surgeries and has lived with unbearable pain and fatigue for decades.

Matt has also been homeless off and on for much of his adult life. Matt is originally from Grand Junction, Colorado and has also lived in Portland, under a bridge in Los Angeles and in what is called “The Hole” in Seattle. Until a year ago September, he lived for three years in a tent in Tent City 3 in Seattle. He has written a book of poetry about being homeless and a blog, both called A View from the Street.

In addition to the battle of illness and being without a home, Matt has also lived with discrimination that most of us cannot fathom. Due to the surgeries Matt has had on his face, he has endured stares, dirty looks and has even has been asked to leave retail stores because he was “scaring” someone’s child.

You would think after a life of being treated this way, that Matt would be a bitter and angry person. However, those who take the time to get to know him find that he is a very kind, loving and giving man. What’s more, they are inspired and their lives are deeply enriched.

In 2011, freelance photographer Ilona Berzups was so moved by Matt’s story that she embarked on a photo essay project called, “Walking with Giant – One man’s battle with homelessness and debilitating illness.” (Matt’s nicknames are “Gentle Giant” and “Bear” because at 6’ 5”, he towers over most people.)

Also in 2011, Matt was determined to travel to Colorado to attend the Invisible Disabilities Association’s Awards Banquet and to spend time with a fellow high school classmate – my wife, Sherri.  Matt has wanted to attend for many years. After getting more bad news from his doctors about the tumors in his brain, he almost canceled. However, once you know Matt, you know that nothing was going to stop him from coming to Colorado. (He attended this past October for a second year as well).

When we found out Matt would be joining us in person, we immediately re-arranged the evening’s schedule and invited him to be a surprise Special Guest Speaker. Karyn Buxman, IDA Advisory Board member, National Hall of Fame speaker and nurse, gave a brief introduction as Matt approached the stage. Just a small glimpse into his life drove the attendees to their feet when he stepped up to the podium.

Matt briefly shared about his journey and appreciation for IDA’s compassion, awareness and support for him and for others. There was not a dry eye in the house, as lives were changed by Matt’s incredible lifelong story of perseverance in the midst of incredible hardship and pain.

By sharing Matt’s journey, our hope is that his struggles, pain and sheer courage will help us all to look beyond our preconceptions. Let’s not judge others by the way they look on the outside. Instead, let’s give love to one another and find out what they have been through, what they need and who they are on the inside.

Unfortunately, people often do judge others by what they see and jump to conclusions about what they can or cannot do. This can be equally frustrating for those who may appear unable, but are perfectly capable, and those who appear able, but are not.

The bottom line is that everyone with a disability is different – sometimes visibly, sometimes invisibly and sometimes both. They have varying challenges and needs, as well as abilities and attributes. Thus, we all should learn to listen with our ears, instead of judging with our eyes. Let’s learn to envision a world where people living with illness, pain and disability will be Invisible No More! 2013 here we come!

This article was first published on Disability.Blog by Disability.gov. December 21, 2012.

MORE IDA ARTICLES PUBLISHED ON DISABILITY.BLOG:

A Love That’s Unbroken

Being Truly Thankful

But You LOOK Good! on Disability.gov

Don’t Judge by Appearances

Friendships Over Fragrances

IDA Makes the “Top 10 Guest blogs of 2012″ on Disability.gov

Invisible No More!

It’s All in Your Head

Join the Expedition

Learning the Language of Invisible Disabilities

Looks Can Be Deceiving

The Visible Invisible Disability

What’s So Funny About …

 

MORE ABOUT MATT BARRETT:

A View from the Street. Blog by Matt Barrett

More Articles About Matt on IDA

Walking with Giant. Photo Essay by Ilona Berzups

About Wayne

Wayne is the Founder & President of the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA). His inspiration for IDA is His wife, Sherri, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, Neurological Chemical Intolerance, Traumatic Brain Injury and Anaphylaxis Food Allergies. Wayne is the Author of the booklet, But You LOOK Good! How to Encourage and Understand People Living with Illness and Pain. He has spoken at seminars, conferences, health fairs and banquets to create awareness, education and support. His personal experience includes that of a professional, multi-tasking husband caregiver with an extensive background in management, media and technology. This man on a mission quickly launched IDA into a world-wide outreach for millions living with invisible disabilities. Wayne and the IDA Executive and Advisory Teams reach out to others living with illness, pain and injury around the world. They bring encouragement and awareness about invisible disabilities to friends, family, co-workers and businesses through websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, seminars, events, videos, radio and social networks.

A Tick Bite Changed My Life Forever

A Tick Bite Changed My Life Forever - Huffington Post 12-12-2012 Set 2HuffPost LIVE produced by The Huffington Post a video interview and article with Wayne Connell, the founder and president of the Invisible Disabilities Association (my hubby) and me.

The show was titled, “A Tick Bite Changed My Life Forever” and was hosted by Nancy Redd.

Holy Toledo! How cool is that! As of today, it has 117,771 views! Although I mention Lyme, the interview is really about ALL living with debilitating illness and pain, no matter what their diagnosis. Most of all, it is about helping friends and family better understand.

The Huffington Post wrote:

Sherri Connell, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis & Lyme Disease, and her husband Wayne Connell, the Founder & President of Invisible Disabilities Association, joined HuffPost Live to tell Nancy Redd Sherri’s story of contracting her illnesses through a tick bite and how they have turned it into a positive thing by founding an organization to help those with disabilities.

“When I was fourteen I was bit by a tick but at the time I didn’t know it,” Connell told Redd. “But, I started feeling chronic pain soon after.”

“I fell in love with her and we got married in ’94. And in ’96 she coined the phrase, “Invisible disabilities,” said her husband Connell.

The show was produced by the Huffington Post with excerpts from the HuffPost Live episode from December 11, 2012 entitled, “Not Handicapped Enough.” Interviewed for this segment was Wayne, Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and was hosted by Nancy Redd. Read full story!

Watch the 3 minute show, “A Tick Bite Changed My Life Forever” below! Share it with friends, family and groups to increase awareness and send a message to the media that these are the kinds of articles people want to hear and read about!

RESOURCES

Invisible Disabilities Association

HuffPost LIVE

The Huffington Post

Not Handicapped Enough

About Sherri Connell

Sherri has always been an extremely active person. She used to cheer-lead, sing and dance in musicals, act in commercials, model in fashion shows, work multiple jobs and obtained 3 college degrees. However, she has been unable to work or care for her daily needs since 1991, due to Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and Chronic-Late Lyme Disease. Sherri also lives with Chemical Injury, which causes her to be very isolated from family and friends. Her unbearable and disabling pain, fatigue and cognitive disorders are unrelenting 24x7. Sherri desires to help others better understand debilitating conditions, as she shares her story and information about her illnesses. Despite her daily pain and losses, Sherri's writings and videos come to life with her humor and positive attitude. Sherri's journey and struggles for others to understand her disability have inspired her husband, Wayne, to reach out to millions of others like Sherri, through the Invisible Disabilities Association. Sherri is not a medical professional, please seek advice from your doctor before making any changes to healthcare or lifestyle.

Humor for Health and Well-Being with Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN: IDA Video Seminar

Humor for HealthIDA Founder and President interviews  Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, Hall of Fame Speaker and Humorist.

Karyn is the past president of the Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor, the creator of the Nursing Jocularity online publication and author of the What’s So Funny About … book series.

Interview by Wayne Connell, Founder and President
Invisible Disabilities Association
www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

http://www.InvisibleDisabilitiesCommunity.org
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleNoMore.TV
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleNoMoreTV
http://www.YouTube.com/InvisibleDisability
http://www.Twitter.com/INVDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleHero.org
http://www.CleanerIndoorAir.org

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2012 Invisible Disabilities Association

About Karyn Buxman

Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, CSP CPAE is on a mission to improve global health through laughter and to heal the humor-impaired. Karyn is a Hall of Fame Speaker and the owner of Journal of Nursing Jocularity. For periodic tips on how to improve your life with strategic humor, visit her website.

IDA Receives “Best Booth Award” for Allsup’s Disability Expo

AwardPress Release

IDA Receives the “Best Booth Award” for Allsup’s Disability Expo

Parker, CO – January 23, 2013. The Invisible Disabilities Association is thrilled to receive the “Best Booth Award” for Allsup’s True Help® Disability Web Expo. The free, online expo was held on September 27, 2012 and available on-demand through December 26th.

15 non-profit organizations were invited by Allsup to participate in the event. IDA presented 6 Video Interviews and LIVE chats with our experts. We also made informative pamphlets, hand-outs, videos and resources available to the attendees.

The award included a $1,000 scholarship to IDA to help us continue to encourage, educate and support people touched by illness and disabilities around the world. This award was determined by the feedback and votes from attendees of the expo.

Thank you everyone who attended and voted for us!

ABOUT THE INVISIBLE DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by invisible disabilities around the world since 1997. IDA provides awareness, articles, pamphlets, booklets, radio interviews, videos, seminars, events, resources, an online social network and much more.

Contact the IDA Team: Go to the Contact Page on the Invisible Disabilities Association website. Visit the Invisible Disabilities Association at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

Additional Resources

2012 Online Disability Expo Now Available Through December 26

IDA Presents LIVE Chats with Our Experts September 27th

Free Online Disability Expo with IDA September 27, 2012

 

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

Ready, Set, Thrive with Jeff VanKooten: IDA Video Seminar

Jeff VankootenSeminar with IDA Executive Board Member, Jeff Vankooten, Speaker and Trainer. Jeff also lives with Bipolar Disorder. Join Jeff for some insightful tips on thriving in life!

Wayne Connell, Founder and President
Invisible Disabilities Association
http://www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

http://www.InvisibleDisabilitiesCommunity.org
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleNoMore.TV
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleNoMoreTV
http://www.YouTube.com/InvisibleDisability
http://www.Twitter.com/INVDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleHero.org
http://www.CleanerIndoorAir.org

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2012 Invisible Disabilities Association

About Jeff Vankooten

Jeff Vankooten is a professional speaker who helps people thrive in disruption and change. He also coaches people over 40 who want to harness their life’s experience into talks and products that leave a legacy. He is a native of Denver, Colorado where he lives with his wife, three kids and really big dog.

Communication Do’s and Don’ts with Kathe Skinner, LMFT: IDA Video Seminar

Communication Do's and Don'tsIDA Founder and President interviews Kathe Skinner, MA, LMFT, Marriage and Family Therapist and IDA Executive Board Member.

Kathe also lives with Multiple Sclerosis. She and her husband, David specialize in counseling couples with a spouse living with chronic illness.

Interview by Wayne Connell, Founder and President
Invisible Disabilities Association
www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

http://www.InvisibleDisabilitiesCommunity.org
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleNoMore.TV
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleNoMoreTV
http://www.YouTube.com/InvisibleDisability
http://www.Twitter.com/INVDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleHero.org
http://www.CleanerIndoorAir.org

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2012 Invisible Disabilities Association

About Kathe Skinner

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist turned Relationship Coach in private practice. She conducts Couples Retreats in fabulous places, offers webinars and holds Couples Communication Classes along the Front Range of Colorado. She and her husband David live in Colorado Springs with two hooligan cats. She has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis for over 30 years.

Be Expedition Ready with Antarctic Mike: IDA Video Seminar

Be Expedition ReadyIDA Founder and President interviews Antarctic Mike (Pierce), Speaker, World Record Holder and Caregiver to his wife, Angela.

Mike takes he learned from his extreme sports and applies them to his life with a spouse living with disabilities. Don’t miss Mike and Angela’s incredible story of perseverance and love!

Interview by Wayne Connell, Founder and President
Invisible Disabilities Association
www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

http://www.InvisibleDisabilitiesCommunity.org
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleNoMore.TV
http://www.Facebook.com/InvisibleNoMoreTV
http://www.YouTube.com/InvisibleDisability
http://www.Twitter.com/INVDisabilities
http://www.InvisibleHero.org
http://www.CleanerIndoorAir.org

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2012 Invisible Disabilities Association

About Mike Pierce

Antarctic Mike (Mike Pierce) is a professional speaker, managing partner in a recruiting company, an avid adventure athlete, and a husband to Angela, who lives daily with disability due to a rock climbing accident. Mike has completed marathons in some of the world’s coldest climates including the Canadian Arctic, Siberia and twice in the Antarctic. He has set world records in endurance swimming and cycling as well. Adventure sports have changed Mike’s life in many ways, including teaching him the importance of being mentally focused and conditioned to run the most challenging and important marathon, that of helping Angela manage her lifetime disability.

IDA Makes the “Top 10 Guest Blogs of 2012″ on Disability.gov

TypePress Release

IDA Makes the “Top 10 Guest Blogs of 2012″ on Disability.gov

Parker, CO – January 03, 2013. IDA Founder, Wayne Connell is a regular Guest Blogger on Disability.blog by Disability.gov. We are elated to announce that IDA Made the “Top 10 Guest Blogs of 2012″ on Disability.Blog by Disability.Gov. We are thrilled to receive this recognition and to be given the opportunity to bring about more awareness and education about Invisible Disabilities!

Disability.Blog wrote:

2012 was an exciting year for Disability.Blog! We expanded existing partnerships and began dynamic new ones with leading disability organizations, such as the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA). IDA President and Founder Wayne Connell and IDA ambassadors, including Kathe Skinner and Jeff Vankooten, wrote thoughtful posts throughout the year to let our readers know about the importance of recognizing and understanding invisible disabilities, and to offer people living with chronic illness and pain an opportunity to tell their personal stories.

Read full story.

Thank you to all of our guest CO-authors and readers who have commented and liked our blogs, showing your support for what IDA is doing!

The IDA Team

ABOUT THE INVISIBLE DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by invisible disabilities around the world since 1997. IDA provides awareness, articles, pamphlets, booklets, radio interviews, videos, seminars, events, resources, an online social network and much more.

Contact the IDA Team: Go to the Contact Page on the Invisible Disabilities Association website. Visit the Invisible Disabilities Association at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

RELATED ARTICLES:

Invisible No More!

It’s All in Your Head

Join the Expedition

Learning the Language of Invisible Disabilities

Looks Can Be Deceiving on Disability.gov

What’s So Funny About on Disability.gov

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

IDA on HUFFPOST LIVE News

HUFFPOST LIVE IDA Wayne Connell 12-11-2012.Press Release

IDA Invited to be a Special Guest on HUFFPOST LIVE News

Parker, CO – December 12, 2012. Wayne Connell, Founder and President of the Invisible Disabilities Association was honored to be a Special Guest on HUFFPOST LIVE produced by THE HUFFINGTON POST.

Nancy Redd hosted this informative broadcast entitled, “Not Handicapped Enough.

Joining Wayne was Hall of Fame Speaker, Humorist and Nurse, Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN. Karyn is also an IDA Advisory Board Member, author of the book series, “What’s So Funny About…” and founder of Journal of Nursing Jocularity. Karyn has spoken at several of IDA’s events and was the recipient of the 2009 IDA Healthcare Award. She is the past President of the Association of Applied Therapeutic Humor and teaches nurses, businesses and people living with illness and pain how to use humor as stress-relief and therapy.

Wayne’s wife, Sherri was also invited to share her insights and perspectives on living with invisible disabilities. Sherri lives with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic-Late Lyme Disease and Chemical Injury. Once a very active young woman, singing and dancing in musicals, achieving multiple college degrees and enjoying her career, Sherri has been unable to care for her own daily needs since 1991. Sherri and Wayne were married in 1994.

HUFFPOST LIVE producers were inspired to air this episode after reading an article from Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, “I May Be Disabled, But People Don’t Think I’m Blind Enough.” Elsa was also a Special Guest on the evening’s program.

Thank you goes out to HUFFPOST LIVE and THE HUFFINGTON POST for airing this valuable information and awareness! WATCH HERE!

ABOUT THE INVISIBLE DISABILITIES ASSOCIATION

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a non-profit organization that has been encouraging, educating and connecting people and organizations touched by invisible disabilities around the world since 1997. IDA provides awareness, articles, pamphlets, booklets, radio interviews, videos, seminars, events, resources, an online social network and much more.

Contact the IDA Team: Go to the Contact Page on the Invisible Disabilities Association website. Visit the Invisible Disabilities Association at: www.InvisibleDisabilities.org

ARTICLE RESOURCES

Association of Applied Therapeutic Humor

Chemical Injury

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

HUFFPOST LIVE

THE HUFFINGTON POST

I May Be Disabled, But People Don’t Think I’m Blind Enough.

Journal of Nursing Jocularity

Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN

Invisible Disabilities Association

SherriConnell.com

What’s So Funny About…

Wayne Connell

About

The Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, pain and disability around the globe. Formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate, IDA was founded in 1997 and incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. IDA reaches out through our websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, booklet, social network, resources, videos, radio interviews, seminars, events and more! Get the word out! Share a link to our articles and pages with Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and through Email by clicking on the Share link. Leave a comment!

Join the Expedition

By Wayne Connell, Founder & President, Invisible Disabilities Association.

Article Excerpt: See what an amazing difference IDA is making with our Annual Honor Awards Banquets. Not only is this an amazing night for attendees, but we share our videos from the evening and article about the Award Recipients to increase awareness, education and support around the world! 

In recognition of National Disabilities Month, every October for the past five years, the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) has hosted an awards banquet in Lone Tree, Colorado. This year’s banquet will take place on October 14th. This event allows IDA to honor amazing individuals and organizations from around the nation who are making a difference in the lives of people touched by illness, pain and disability. We also feature incredible keynote speakers such as National Speaker Hall of Fame Inductee Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, CSP, CPAE; New York Times bestselling author Capt. Luis Carlos Montalván and New York Met’s World Series Champion Ed Hearn. This year we invite you to “Join the Expedition.”

Dictionary.com defines an expedition as, “an organized journey or voyage for a specific purpose.” Much time and planning goes into preparing for an expedition. Sometimes it requires learning a new language; sometimes it forges ahead into difficult places. An expedition often requires a map, unless the territory is unknown and uncharted. And of course lots and lots of cool equipment and tools are needed. Finally, an expedition usually requires a partner or a team to go with you, and a group back home cheering you on.

The problem with the expedition of caregiving or living daily with illness and pain is that you rarely have the opportunity to prepare or pre-plan. It just happens! IDA wants to help people to become “expedition ready” even in the midst of the journey.

IDA’s 5th annual banquet will feature Antarctic Mike (Pierce) and his wife, Angela, as keynote speakers. Mike and Angela have been on a very long expedition. Mike is a professional speaker, executive recruiter, avid adventure athlete, world record holder and a husband. Angela Pierce is a wife, a blogger and someone who lives daily with disability and has done so most of her life. Together, they are an amazing team!

Mike has completed marathons in some of the world’s coldest climates including the Canadian Arctic, Siberia and twice in the Antarctic. He has set world records in endurance swimming and cycling as well. Adventure sports have changed Mike’s life in many ways, including teaching him the importance of being mentally focused and conditioned to run the most challenging, important and worthwhile expedition, that of helping Angela manage her lifetime disability. Read more of their story on Disability.Blog.

The good news is there are a group of people and organizations from around the nation who are journeying alongside people touched by illness, pain and disability. IDA will be honoring them on this great evening. IDA honorees include:

  • 2012 Advocacy Award Honoree: Suzanne Mintz has been chosen based on her passion and advocacy as the founder of the National Family Caregivers Association. She has set the example for others by caregiving for her husband, Steven, who is living with Multiple Sclerosis. She has used her experience to inspire and advocate for other caregivers.
  • 2012 Caregiver Award Honoree: John O’Brien has been chosen based on his passion and commitment to personally care for his wife and her journey with illness. This passion for people living with illness and pain also moved John to co-found Central Coast Senior Services, a home care agency which provides professional and compassionate caregiving.
  • 2012 Corporate Award Honoree: Debbie Marriott Harrison has been chosen for her personal journey as a caregiver and champion of those living with invisible disabilities, including her own children. In addition, Debbie is an example for others in her role as Senior Vice President of the Marriott Corporation, a company that is leading the way with a disability-friendly atmosphere for both their guests and employees.
  • 2012 Founders Award Honoree: Dick Layton has been chosen based on his personal involvement with IDA’s founder Wayne Connell as a mentor and as a strategic advisor to the entire IDA organization. Dick uses his passion to help others by making a difference in their lives and their organizations and therefore multiplying his impact and reach. Dick Layton is a currently a Managing Partner at Kenton Talent Management.
  • 2012 Healthcare Award Honoree: Kermit Crawford has been chosen based on his leadership role at Walgreen’s as the President of the Pharmacy, Health and Wellness Services and Solutions and his focus on the wellbeing and health of all Americans. Kermit has led Walgreens in the development of programs and services such as the Take Care Clinics, Health Corner TV, Health Screening Tours and the Walk with Walgreens initiative.
  • 2012 Impact Award Honoree: Jan Chambers has been chosen based on her desire and passion to positively impact people living with fibromyalgia and pain through her work as the President of the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association.
  • 2012 Inspiration Award Honoree: Bob Woodruff has been chosen because as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor he inspires others with TBI to keep fighting and to use their challenges and triumphs to help encourage others. Bob founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation to honor and encourage veterans, as well as service men and women living with invisible disabilities. Bob is an amazing inspiration and is making a difference in the lives of others.
  • 2012 Invisible Hero Award Honoree: Anna Bigham has been chosen based on her work as the founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization Hidden Wounds. After enduring the tragic loss of her brother, Anna has dedicated her life to serving military personnel living with invisible disabilities by bringing them hope and inspiration.
  • 2012 Medical Award Honoree: Dr. Marshall Thomas has been chosen based on his passion to provide exceptional clinical care and research for patients living with mental health disorders through his leadership as the Executive Director of the University of Colorado’s Depression Center. Under his guidance, the Depression Center has become a recognized leader in research and treatment of depression, as well as a much needed community resource for health professionals and the public about mood disorders.
  • 2012 Perseverance Award Honoree: Angela Pierce has been chosen based on her amazing perseverance as she lives each day with illness from childhood, ongoing long term pain and life threatening injuries caused by a major climbing accident 27 years ago. In addition, despite her circumstances, Angela shares her story, as well as her struggles and triumphs, in order to encourage others in person and through the internet.
  • 2012 Research Award Honoree: Envoy Medical Corporation has been chosen based on its cutting edge research, and the creation of the Esteem®, an implantable, invisible, prosthetic hearing restoration device.
  • 2012 Volunteer Award Honoree: Frances Owens has been chosen based on her lifelong, passionate volunteerism with multiple charities serving people living daily with illness and disability, as well as for those recovering from tragedy. Frances’ current work with Developmental Pathways and the HeartLight Center is inspiring. Her volunteerism with Anchor Center for the Blind, Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, The Children’s Hospital, The Colorado Autism Society, women’s heart health and Denver Health’s Newborns in Need is an example to be followed.

In addition, check out our great expert chats on the first ever Online True Help® Disability Web Expo sponsored by Allsup, which will be held on September 27th. Register today for this free event. Topics include:

  • “Be Expedition Ready – Learn about preparing for the journey of care giving” by Antarctic Mike
  • “Ready, Set, Thrive – Nine new rules for engaging change and managing stress” by Jeff Vankooten
  • “7 Realities of the Invisible Becoming Visible” by Wayne Connell, IDA Founder and President
  • “Communication Do’s and Don’ts for People with Disabilities” by Kathe Skinner, MA, LMFT
  • “Humor for Health & Well-Being” by Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, CSP, CPAE
  • “Your Changing Brain – The owner’s manual to your mind” by Rick Watson

We hope you “Join the Expedition” with us this year in Denver. We believe we all need each other, and even though the journey can be difficult and lengthy, it can be endured with the help of others. IDA will continue to take the lead and provide support and guidance along the way. To register or learn more about the banquet, please go to www.JoinTheExpedition.org.

This article was first published on Disability.Blog by Disability.gov. September 19, 2012.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Invisible No More!

It’s All in Your Head

Learning the Language of Invisible Disabilities

Looks Can Be Deceiving on Disability.gov

What’s So Funny About on Disability.gov

About Wayne

Wayne is the Founder & President of the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA). His inspiration for IDA is His wife, Sherri, who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease, Neurological Chemical Intolerance, Traumatic Brain Injury and Anaphylaxis Food Allergies. Wayne is the Author of the booklet, But You LOOK Good! How to Encourage and Understand People Living with Illness and Pain. He has spoken at seminars, conferences, health fairs and banquets to create awareness, education and support. His personal experience includes that of a professional, multi-tasking husband caregiver with an extensive background in management, media and technology. This man on a mission quickly launched IDA into a world-wide outreach for millions living with invisible disabilities. Wayne and the IDA Executive and Advisory Teams reach out to others living with illness, pain and injury around the world. They bring encouragement and awareness about invisible disabilities to friends, family, co-workers and businesses through websites, projects, articles, pamphlets, seminars, events, videos, radio and social networks.

Copyright 1996-2014, All rights reserved. Invisible Disabilities Association. A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization.

Use of this Web site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use

Disclaimer: The data contained in this web site are for informational purposes only and are not to be construed as medical or legal advice.

IDA is not endorsing or promoting the content of other websites, by listing their links and cannot be held responsible for their contents. Please seek a medical or legal professional for advice.