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From Physicians

I am a ‘retired’ Family Medicine Physician with multiple sclerosis who currently practices as a Health and Wellness Coach, Health Challenges Coach, and Chronic Illness Coach. I was diagnosed with ms just after my first year of medical residency. I practiced as a Family Physician successfully until late 2004 when several relapses severely limited my ability to function efficiently as a doctor. Having a chronic illness has taught me to appreciate the many opportunities that I have been given and to see the importance of helping others learn this lesson. This site is wonderful and provides evidence that we are not alone on this journey. Thank you.” Dr. Dayna M. Elfont, DO

“Your information has helped me to be a much more ‘helpful’ professional caretaker both with reference to my patients and members of my immediate family who suffer from invisible disabilities. Thank you!” ….. RJ Wilhelm MD, Florida

“Sherri has taken her courage in facing adversity and risen to the challenge of facing the vague and elusive nature of chronic  illness. In doing so she has managed to turn her pain and suffering into a campaign to be a human in a health care system that is dehumanizing and insensitive. Her efforts to inform, educate, encourage and enlighten others through her website, brochures and her booklets help all of us who face the stigma of chronic illness and the daily battle to make a good day. I commend her efforts to touch those who daily are diminished by the ignorance and insensitivity of what life-changing illness means. Learn what you can from her and teach others so that we may all be strong in the face of adversity and rise above the suffering to find meaning in our lives through service to others as she has done. Keep up the great work!” ….. Marcus Brown, Ph.D, Psychologist/ Neuropsychologist, Program Director Geropsychiatric Rehabilitation Program, Connecticut Valley Hospital

“What a great site you’ve created!… I am a neuropsychologist who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) for 14 years… As a neuropsychologist, I also specialize in understanding, testing and where possible helping to rehabilitate cognition for those people whose conditions, illnesses or injures impair cognition… you’ve succeeded in expressing the thoughts and feelings I hear daily from clients, friends with illnesses/disabilities and myself at times!” ….. Anne Lindsay, Ph.D

“Sometimes a person’s character is not evident until thrown into the furnace of affliction …That is part of what makes Sherri Connell’s story so compelling. Against all odds she emerges as a determined woman of real grit, capable of taking on the meanest that life has to throw at her, and still surfacing with heroic courage after getting hit by a Tsunami. She is a person who, as far as I can tell from reading her story, if she died on Tuesday, would probably show up to work on Wednesday saying, “I’m not going to let some minor problems like death and a coffin keep me down.”…If Sherri’s friends had realized that the purpose of life is to glorify God rather than to enjoy their “birthright” health, then they would have recognized that Sherri was fulfilling that purpose more successfully than they were. If Sherri’s friends had understood these points, they would have become more humble…My point is that Sherri Connell’s heroic effort to alert her “friends” to the realities of invisible disabilities is a message that Americans desperately need to hear.” …. Excerpts from a “Tribute to An American Heroine” written about Sherri Connell and her ministry, by Jeffrey H. Boyd, M.D., M.Div., M.P.H.

From Authors

“Many who try to uplift the ill offend them. Sherri Connell, the Invisible Disabilities Advocate (IDA), is a gifted writer who draws on years of hurtful misunderstandings from well-meaning people. All who would bless ill relatives, friends and clients, should learn from her experience before even asking, “How are you?” To avoid thoughtless abrasiveness and see things from the sufferer’s perspective, carefully read her uniquely wise and concise articles. You will find them caring, biblical and practical.” …. Gordon R. Lewis, PhD (Author of Decide for Yourself, Integrative Theology, Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims and more).

“What a great web site! Congratulations to you for facing the challenges of invisible chronic illness. You are on the same “wave length” with our book, Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired: Living With Invisible Chronic Illness (W.W. Norton and Company) After ten printings since 1992, the new edition is coming out in July. We wish you and all those struggling with invisible chronic illness all the best.” ….. Mary Elizabeth Siegel, PhD (Co-Author of Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired).

“But You LOOK Good is a one-of-a-kind resource that is urgently needed for a neglected group of people–those who look healthy, but have a chronic physical problems that sap their energy, rack their bodies, and tax their souls. The author knows first-hand not only the pain and frustration of suffering from such a disability; she has also endured the misunderstandings of others who cannot fathom what she is going through and who manage to say all the wrong things with the best of intentions. Helpful Hints teaches us how to have compassion on the person suffering from an invisible disability and how to offer real help instead of platitudes. Those who read it will come away wiser and more hopeful. I wish I could have read it years ago when a loved one was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It could have saved me from many of the mistakes that I have made based on my misunderstanding and impatience. I thank God for this unique booklet.” ….. Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D (Author of Unmasking the New Age, Deceived by the Light, Truth Decay and more).

“IDA, I just received a link to your site, and spent a lot of time browsing and doing some in-depth reading. I’m very impressed! I think that anybody with a chronic illness would find a wealth of information on your site. Thank you. I have multiple sclerosis, and am the author of Women Living With Multiple Sclerosis (Hunter House, 1999). A sequel to that book will be published in September. I’d like to include your website in the resources section of that book, if that’s acceptable to you. Congratulations on a great job!” ….. Judith Lynn Nichols, (Author of Women Living With Multiple Sclerosis).

“Here is a book which opened my eyes–and I hope also opened my heart to care for people around me who are suffering from invisible disabilities. Sherri is herself such a sufferer who lives in a crucible of constant pain. Sustained by God’s grace, she offers both helpful counsel to her fellow-sufferers and specific advice to all of us who through her are being sensitized to engage in prayer and care.” ….. Vernon Grounds, PhD (Author of YBH: Yes, But How?)

From Corporations

“As the head of my company’s disability awareness group I had been been searching for something like this booklet for some time. The biggest challenge we met was the education of others who are not or don’t know anyone who is disabled, as to the everyday challenges for someone who is. This booklet has been an incredible tool that we have used to accomplish this sort of understanding. It is by far the most easily understood, well-written, and comprehensive guide I have ever seen.  Thanks so much!” ….. Christine, Utah

“Allsup is pleased to collaborate with IDA and sponsor [the 2010 IDA] banquet,” said Allsup CEO and founder Jim Allsup. “We commend their efforts to increase awareness of the particular challenges faced by those whose disabilities are not readily apparent. Education and advocacy are keys to ensuring inclusion, understanding and compassion.”