Did you know that October is Dysautonomia Awareness month? Raising awareness is so important for Dysautonomia patients. Even though there are a lot of us, there are so many people (including doctors) who don’t know anything about Dysautonomia. The Dysautonomia International Conference had an excellent talk on things you can do to raise awareness. Many of these ideas are from Dysautonomia International and I threw a few in there as well. So here are some things you can do to get involved and raise awareness from most involvement to least (I haven’t done most of these so it is my perceived involvement/ difficulty):
1. Plan a Run/Walk**
This is definitely not something that happens overnight. I suggest planning ahead by months. If you want to hold a run or walk in October start planning now! These events raise a lot of money, but also include a lot of work and money invested.
2. Hold A Concert**
If you are a band, know musicians, and can get a venue nailed down concerts can be a great way to raise funds. This is another event that involves a lot of pre-planning.
3. Plan a Dance Marathon**
I am currently planning one of these for October in Denver. You have to use some of your own money to find a venue but beyond that it hasn’t been too difficult yet. If you live close (or even if you don’t) I would love your help.
4. Plan a Restaurant Night*
A lot of restaurants will hold fundraiser nights. Basically you invite people to the venue and a percentage goes to that fundraiser.Depending on the restaurant it may take more or less involvement.
5. Run/ Walk/ Knit/ Dance and Have People Pledge*
If you can run, walk, dance, bike, swim, or even knit for a while people may pledge money to your cause. For example, I have seen people pledging $5 for every mile you run. This can also work even if you are entered in an already established race. If you are running make sure and get an emu to follow you. They are great motivation- just look at this kid.
6. Bowling/ Game Center Fundraiser*
Many bowling and entertainment venues such as Dave & Duster’s offer opportunities to rise funds as well.
7. Submit a Proclamation**
Getting politicians on your side tends to make things easier. Request a proclamation declaring October as Dysautonomia Awareness month.
8. Submit a Lighting Request**
This year some huge monuments are going to represent Dysautonomia awareness. For example, Niagara Falls will be lit up. Submit a request in your city. Do it soon; time is running out.
9. Plan a Bake Sale*
Everyone loves cake (unless it is that awful movie). Have your friends and coworkers bake and donate goods. Then sell them to raise money.
10. Plan a Dress Down Day*
If you work in a larger office dress down days are a great way to raise money. Talk to your boss about having a fundraiser where people donate money in exchange for being allowed to “dress down.”
11. Have a Fitness Class Host*
Some fitness classes and gyms will hold fundraisers in the form of workout classes.
12. Host a Trivia Night*
Around the country the trivia company Geeks Who Drink hold events called “Quiz for a Cause.” Teams pay to play, they receive a small cash prize, and most of the money goes to your fundraising.
13. Get the Local News to do a Piece on Your Efforts*
If you are planning an event you should definitely try to get local news stations to do a piece on the event. Even if you are not you can try to get them to write an article discussing your struggle and that October is Dysautonomia Awareness month.
14. Share Your Story
Writing down your story or sharing a video on Youtube is a great way to raise awareness and understanding.
15. Dye a Streak of Your Hair Turquoise
Dying your hair, whether it is a streak or the entire thing, can be a good way to raise awareness. Make sure to tell people why it is that color when they ask (it gets old fast) or print out a brief explanation and hand it to them. My hair was turquoise for a bit but I wasn’t good about awareness. Having something you can hand to people is much easier than trying to explain POTS & trying to raise awareness on the spot.
16. Turn Your Mobility Device Turquoise
It doesn’t have to be permanent. For Dysautonomia awareness you can use tape, spray paint, or streamers to turn your wheelchairs and canes turquoise for awareness.
17. Attend an Event
If you can’t plan an event try and attend one if it is at all close. Maybe even consider a short road trip (if you are healthy enough) to support on of your fellow POTSies. Meeting people who support you and understand is really inspiring. Here is a list of some events.
18. Change Your Profile Picture
Change your picture on social media so that it is tinted turquoise, has an awareness ribbon, or wear awareness shirts.
19. Wear a Turquoise Article of Clothing All Month/ Awareness Gear
Some people wear a colored scarf or colored dress all month to raise awareness but it doesn’t have to be something large. For example, unless I am working I usually wear the same pair of shoes. My parents gave me turquoise shoelaces and I will change them in October. Little things can make a big difference for awareness too!
**These events take a couple months of planning or need to be done a couple months in advance. Begin during the summer or at least by August.
*These events likely take a month or month-and-a-half of planning. Start in at least late August/ Early September.
Any other ideas? Share with us and I will add them to the list.