This is the face of Invisible Illness #teamjaiden
She's 15, gorgeous and doesn't look sick at all on a good day. As anyone who suffers from an invisible illness will tell you, the fact that you don't look sick makes life difficult when you are sick. Why? No one seems to believe you. They don't understand and they think that you'll be able to do things just like them when you can't. Often, they're not sympathetic and if you're a teenager, they can be downright cruel.
My daughter has fought invisible illness much of her life and she's not alone. There are over 100 million people in the U.S. that have some kind of chronic illness and it's estimated that over 30% of adolescents do. That's a ton of kids that are sick that you can't see what's wrong. Many of them have manageable health conditions like asthma or diabetes but some, like my daughter, have multiple health concerns that aren't. And, then there are those that no one can seem to figure out what's wrong.
My teenager's been spitting up blood for thirteen months and five days and no one can figure out why. She's undiagnosed and as we've discovered the past year as we talk to other parents, she's not alone. There are lots of kids out there that are sick and their illness has no name. It's scary. That's why my daughter decided to do something about it.
All year, Rosie's been talking about doing some kind of campaign to raise awareness for invisible and undiagnosed illness, she just couldn't figure out what. When a #teamjaiden bracelet arrived in the mail last week from a dance friend, she had her answer. Illness can be lonely. Knowing that you have someone on your team makes it a little less so. She went online and created a t-shirt campaign. All the proceeds will be donated to Children's Mercy Hospital here in Kansas City to help them diagnose more children.
I'm impressed with my child. She's kept her spirits up the past year despite feeling terrible most of the time. Every time she's about to get a break, there's been a new setback. Yet, my teenager just got straight A's on homebound and is looking forward to going back to school tomorrow. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she has a burning desire to give to others and she wants to affect change. She makes me so proud.
We'd love to have you support the #teamjaiden campaign. If you suffer or know someone who suffers from invisible illness, please consider purchasing a shirt. If you know someone searching helplessly for a diagnosis, please take the time to donate a little more money.