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How to Help Charities When You Have a Chronic Illness

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If there is one thing having a chronic illness can give people, it is compassion. A desire to be more considerate of others, and to help when you can. Sadly, as any spoonie knows, putting in more effort than what is required of you in work/school can be too much. But if you still want to find ways to help change the world? Luckily, volunteering comes in all shapes and sizes, and no offer of help is too small or unappreciated.

Online Activism

Sending emails to politicians, signing petitions, finding online networks which allow you to get involved online (I’ve recently signed up to Greenpeace UK’s remote political lobbying network)… There are many options to help causes close to your heart from the comfort of your laptop. It is equally as important and helpful and perhaps even better for you than standing outside with signs, risking arthritis pain, or choosing a demanding voluntary job which risks overworking yourself into a flare.

two young women at a march holding signs that say 'we welcome refugees'

Donate What You Can

I think donating money is undermined in comparison to volunteering your time – but actually, many charities will often prefer the donation. It doesn’t have to be much; charities have lots of proof for how a little goes a long way. There are debates in the non-profit factor that money is a better way of helping if the volunteering option isn’t sustainable. It allows the experts to do the hard work!

Volunteer (Very) Locally

It could be something as simple as visiting an elderly neighbor who might not have the family or help they need and would appreciate a little company. Or maybe a local organization needs help at their reception, so not too much moving around. Charity really can begin at home!

Buy a Suspended Coffee

This amazing idea (and here is a worldwide map) shows people which cafes allow you to buy a “suspended coffee,” an extra coffee for someone else who is less advantaged. If you’re meeting a loved one for a coffee and a catch-up, it’s a nice and inexpensive way to give back.

Campaign Through Social Media

Social media has the option to reach tens, hundreds, even thousands within minutes. A simple picture, video or article can be shared to educate and raise awareness. While it can be upsetting to see people flash their adventurous lives on social media while we sit curled up in a ball, it can be uplifting to use social media platforms to remind people to be more charitable.

Help With Research of Your Illness

If you follow charities related to your illness on social media or through email subscription, chances are you’ve come across them advertising surveys, etc. for people researching different aspects of your illness. And who is better qualified than you? You’ll be helping the researchers, yourself and the wider spoonie community!

I hope this helps anyone looking to give back but not at the expense of your own well-being!

Originally published: February 7, 2018
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