Sick, Suffering, and Ashamed?
I recently came across a novel add campaign while walking across Penn's campus. It's definitely eye catching and makes you think. The campaign is specifically targeted toward removing the stigma surrounding lung cancer because it can strike anyone (smoker or nonsmoker) and no one deserves to die but more importantly no should have to feel shame in the illness they are struggling with because of a social taboo. If you're unfamiliar with the campaign the following picture includes the 6 posters that make up the series.
While this campaign specifically regards lung cancer and the social stigma I chose to post about it because I believe it can be applied to a number of other stigmatized illness- anorexia, bipolar disorder, diabetes, even limiting birth defects. People who are impacted and sometimes die from these physical and mental issues are often forced to hide their struggles or feel embarrassed or ashamed because they are misunderstood by society and too often stigmatized. Think about something even as silly as a cough. If you are in a movie or taking and exam and the person behind you is coughing incessantly you get pissed. How dare they be coughing, distracting me from the movie, and maybe even spreading their disgusting germs. We forget what is what like a few months ago when we had an annoying cough or discount the fact that a couple months from now we may be dealing with an irritating cough that keeps us up at night. My point about all of this is no one deserves to die but even more than that, no one should feel shame while they're combating a fatal illness. All people die ultimately, it's part of life, but when it happens (hopefully in your late 80's or beyond after a long, full life) you deserve to be surrounded by those who love you, warm in your bed, comforted by the fact that you have lived a full life, and with feelings of peace not shame. Lets work to remove the stigma surrounding these fatal illnesses. No one asks or actively tries to become sick with a fatal illness so why is society so busy condemning them?
Become an activist, fight for a cause you believe in,