#MarchingWithMe Partners the Women’s March on Washington and the Chronic Illness Community

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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.

On Love Bites, living with illness comes up naturally when Ben and I discuss how it affects my romantic and familial relationships. It sometimes defines our roles in the studio: if I show up maneuvering excessive pain and fatigue, he takes the reins and steers that show. And it comes up in our continually evolving friendship. He genuinely wants to understand the intricacies of living with chronic illness, and so he listens with compassion while we work through hiccups in the process of understanding together.

Chronic illness also been an intentional topic of exploration with guests including private chef Ariane Resnick, and Allie Cashel and Erica Lupinacci, the founders of Suffering the Silence. On Episode 26, Allie and Erica discussed how to best foster healthy communication between ill and healthy people. The community they create through their work, their creative advocacy,  and their constant compassion comforts and inspires so 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.

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.

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#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*”…  though some of us are sitting!

Marchers are required to provide their name and email address. Supporters are required to provide their name, email address, and a photograph for us to upload to our template. (Registration open through January 17th.) We will connect Marchers and Supporters 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 visually with #MarchingWithMe so that our fullest and most vibrant 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 Jacqueline Raposo: www.wordsfoodart.com

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