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Giving Psoriasis a Voice (And a Laugh)

This year I was blown away and honored to be one of the top finalists for the Wego Health Awards. I have been lucky to be nominated for the past three years, but this was the first time I made it to the finalist round. Now, don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a 500-word article full of gloats and brags. My intention in sharing is that I hope to motivate others to give their psoriasis a voice and find community amongst others with chronic illnesses.

Find the humor, be grateful for the experience

I woke up to an early morning message from a fellow psoriasis buddy congratulating me. I had no idea what she was talking about and groggily responded with one eye half-open. She urged me to check my email. Since I’ve been married since I was 20, I’ve been well trained to obey when a woman gives me an order. I opened it to find that I had been chosen for a finalist for Wego Health’s Hilarious Patient Leader award!

I don’t think I have ever been so excited in my life. The only award I have ever won was in high school when my football coach gave me an award for most injuries. It’s kind of indescribable to explain what it means to be recognized for a disease you never wanted anyone to recognize. The disease I felt was a curse led me to be so incredibly honored.

Connecting with other health advocates

Out of 75 finalists (5 finalists in 15 categories), I was the only one representing psoriasis. There were many advocates for everything from autism and mental health to cancer and HIV and many autoimmune diseases in-between. And that was the coolest part of the whole experience; getting to meet others and hear about their journey. I didn’t win for my category, and that was okay because the winners were truly hilarious and I got to learn more about their platform and now follow them on social media and vice versa.

Laughing with psoriasis, not at it

As I said, the reason I wanted to share this story and honor is that I would love to see more advocates grow in the psoriasis space. It may be intimidating to put yourself out there. You may be thinking there are already enough advocates. But that isn’t true. The thing about psoriasis is that everyone has a different story and experience. Some are diagnosed as kids, others when they are in their seniors. Some have been able to see complete remission from dietary changes and others found relief for the first time in years through modern treatments. It impacts our relationships, our jobs, our livelihood and so much more on top of just our physical selves.

How psoriasis advocacy has given me a purpose

I think that is why this award meant so much to me. I am in a place in my life where I am working a blue-collar job that I don’t love. My skin has kept me from certain career paths that I would have loved to explore. However, all of that feels redeemed in being able to help others have a moment of joy, a giggle, in the midst of a hard diagnosis. I found purpose in a very unexpected place and I will be forever grateful for the community I have found. Join us.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.