Perhaps as much so as illness itself, shame is the enemy of good health. Shame makes us hide our conditions from other people, re-enforcing the cultural stigma that to have health problems is to be somehow less than “healthy” people. But all of us in our lives will have health problems to one degree or another. To have them is to be human, and so the concept of “health” itself is really about balance, and never allowing your conditions to prevent you from living the best life you can.
That’s why our heroes are the people who talk and advocate openly around illness and disability. These people are fighting the good fight: the ones who have made their life’s work to defeat shame and stigma around health in all its forms. Here are just a few of the bravest advocates we covered in 2017.
The Mom With A Mission To Help Families With Down Syndrome
Roughly one in every 700 babies born in the United States has Down Syndrome. This mom is determined to help those children reach their full potential.
Breaking The Cone Of HIV Silence
In Kenya, a woman organizes her community to fight the stigma of AIDs.
Why Inclusivity Is Important, From Obama’s Champion Of Change
Deafblind activist Haben Girma explains why every company should design with inclusivity in mind.
Kids Fighting Cancer With Jokes (And Groucho Glasses)
Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau….Max Chawtko and Alex Travin?
For babies with mobility issues, the cool ride-on cars provided by Go Baby Go! are even better than motorized wheelchairs.
How To Spot A Fake Service Dog
Service dogs helps hundreds of thousands of people live their daily lives, but counterfeits muddy the waters and create chaos. That’s why Lon Hodge and his dog Gander are trying to educate people.
The Wise Women Of Tyler, Texas
In a small East Texas town, a small group called Pin-A-Sister is saving lives by going into local churches and asking women to promise to get a mammogram.
The Friendliest Place On Earth
What better way to kick off a hot August day than a day at Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first amusement park designed by and for people with special needs?
The Healing Power Of Music Medicine
When being sick in the hospital is getting kids down, this charity saves the day by kicking up the jams.
Like everything else, disability is all too often viewed through a white cultural lens. That’s something Vilissa Thompson is tirelessly trying to change.