September is Histio Awareness Month!
That “histio” refers to histiocytic disorders, which are are a group of diseases that occur when there is an over-production of white blood cells known as histiocytes that can lead to organ damage and tumor formation.
One such example is hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a condition where the body makes too many activated immune cells. People with HLH usually develop symptoms within the first months or years of life, which may include fever, enlarged liver or spleen, cytopenia (decreased number of blood cells), and neurological abnormalities.
So what can we do to lend an advocacy hand?
The good people of the Histiocytosis Association have a handy acronym as a call of action for this S.E.P.T.E.M.B.E.R.
S is for Social Media
Use your social media accounts and raise your voices! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are avenues you can use to spread awareness quickly across the globe for Histiocytosis Awareness Month. Ask friends to ask their friends to change their profile pictures to the Histio Warrior during September.
E is for Educate Others
September is the perfect time to your child’s school! Get them involved and ask them to schedule an awareness day in September, or create a craft where they can make histiocytosis awareness ribbons. Give out awareness cards or put up posters around your community to get the whole town involved!
P is for Proclamation
Contact your public officials and request that a proclamation be made to declare September as “Histiocytosis Awareness Month”. Give leverage to the impact of this proclamation by getting a photograph into your local newspaper of the governor or mayor presenting a Histio Warrior with the proclamation.
That publicity can have a great ripple effect and get people talking!
T is for Tell your Story
Contact your local paper and ask to talk to whoever is in charge of writing human interest stories. Ask him/her if a story can be written about your Histio Warrior and be published in September to help support Histiocytosis Awareness Month!
E is for Everyone Smile!
Take a picture of your Histio Warrior with one (or both) of these Histio Warriors. Send your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will add it to the Warrior Wall, a special gallery featuring the travels of their Histio Warriors.
M is for Money
B is for Bone Marrow
Many Histio Warriors need bone marrow transplants during their treatments. Organize a bone marrow drive in your area with the help of www.bethematch.org while also raising awareness for histiocytic disorders.
E is for Everything Counts
In addition to the opportunities listed above, there are an endless number of ways you can show your support during Histiocytosis Awareness Month. You can host a Circle of Friends, wear your histio gear, distribute histio awareness cards and hang flyers or distribute 15 and 30 second PSA’s to your local radio station!
The sky’s the limit!
Whatever you do, big or small, share! The Histiocytosis Association would love to share your efforts with the Histio Community, and on their Awareness Photo Gallery. Some families are running around between doctor visits or are stuck in hospital rooms. Sharing your efforts gives them hope and lets them know that someone out there is fighting for them.
So during the month of S.E.P.T.E.M.B.E.R. – please consider doing at least one of these things during Histiocytosis Awareness Month. Take a letter and make a difference!