#MarchingWithMe

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It’s hard to separate our individual experiences of the world from the bodies in which we live.

When we’re feeling strong and powerful, we readily take on challenges and mightily knock them down with force. Face those same challenges with flu, and the battle goes swiftly downhill while we barely keep our seat.

Living with chronic illness, many days feel like the latter.

I’ve written about how my (wonderful, full, fulfilling) life with illness has affected my relationships for clients including Cosmo and Bust magazine. On Love Bites, living with my illness comes up naturally when Ben and I discuss romantic and familial relationships. It’s also been an intentional topic of exploration with guests including private chef Ariane Resnick, and Allie Cashel and Erica Lupinacci, the founders of the chronic disease community Suffering the Silence. On Episode 26, Allie and Erica discussed how to best foster healthy communication between ill and body-abled people. The community they create through their creative work and their constant compassion comforts and inspires many.

So when frustrated that I couldn’t even get my body to one upcoming battle, I turned to Allie and Erica so that we could mobilize in a kind of different way.

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On January 21st, 2017 more than 180,000 people are expected to attend the Women’s March on Washington. Standing together under the belief that “women’s rights are human rights”, the event is slated to be the largest in history set for a president’s first day in office, with satellite marches scheduled in forty-one states as well.

While organizers have promised accessibility for those with disability, participating in the four-mile march and rally is impossible for many with disability and chronic illness. And so for those who are unable to attend the march or a local January 21st protest, we offer an alternative.

#MarchingWithMe

#MarchingWithMe pairs volunteer participants in the Women’s March on Washington and those with disability or chronic illness who, like us, have a burning desire to attend but are not physically able. Marchers will receive an email with a letter-sized banner to print of the name and email of their Supporter, which they’ll then pin to their coat and wear on the march so that their marcher will be “Marching with Me”. Participants will be invited to share photos and experiences with their partner on the day, fostering community and sisterhood while we “stand together in solidarity*”… even if some of us are sitting!

Marchers are required to provide their name and email address, no later January 17th, 2017. Supporters are required to provide their name, email address, and a photograph (high-resolution if possible) for us to upload to our template. Our organizers will connect Marchers with their Supporter via email, along with an image to be printed out on a letter-sized (8.5×11”) piece of paper, pinned to the Marcher’s coat, and worn on the march. While we encourage communication between Marchers and Supporters, all that’s required is that Marchers and Supporters march together with #MarchingWithMe, so that our fullest community is represented at the Women’s March on Washington.

CLICK HERE for more information and to register.

For further questions, email march@sufferingthesilence.com

More on Suffering the Silence: www.sufferingthesilence.com

More on the Women’s March: www.womensmarch.com

More on Love Bites: www.lovebitesradio.com

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