Lymphedema Support: How to Be a Lymphedema Ally
Do you know someone that wants to get involved in the fight against lymphedema? Maybe a family member or coworker, a neighbor or friend? Lymphedema can be tough to live with, especially because of the general lack of awareness about the condition, even among medical professionals. But it’s not all gloom and doom. Lymphedema patients, and their lymphedema therapists and allies make up the Lymphie Community. And it’s flourishing like never before!
Those that would like to join the fight against lymphedema can become allies, someone that advocates for and supports people living with lymphedema even though they don’t have the condition themselves. Often, however, these potential allies don’t really know where they should start. That’s why we’ve come up with some great tips on how to be an ally and advocate for lymphedema patients. Feel free to share this document with the potential lymphedema allies in your life!
There’s plenty allies can do right now
Without even getting up from their chair, they can become advocates for those living with lymphedema:
- Sign the LE&RN petition to call upon the World Health Organization (WHO) to make “Lymphedema: Awareness & Cures” the theme for their next World Health Day campaign.
- Donate to lymphedema advocacy and research organizations like LE&RN, the National Lymphedema Network, or local lymphedema organizations and support groups. Many organizations have compression garment donation programs too that make a world of difference in the lives of underserved lymphedema patients.
- Contact congresspeople and state and local government officials, asking them to fight for a policy that expands insurance coverage of lymphedema and provides better therapy resources to lymphedema patients.
- Encourage those with lymphedema to join LymphCare’s online social platform and lymphedema support forum.
- Show support by adding a LymphAmbassador Facebook profile picture frame!
here’s plenty allies can do every day
Of course, being an ally is more than attending events and giving donations. It’s an attitude and a way of life. Here’s what allies can do every day to help people living with lymphedema:
- If there’s someone at work or school with lymphedema, allies should ask them what they can do to help make their environment more lymphedema-friendly.
- Allies should let them know that they’ll be there to lend an ear when they’re having a bad day. Allies shouldn’t probe, however. Many people do not like talking about their lymphedema, and that’s okay! Still, it’s important they know that they’ll have someone to support them if they ever need it.
- Because lymphedema often restricts movement, certain activities like lifting, pushing or pulling, or even driving can be difficult. Allies should offer to take on duties that involve these actions for them.
- Offer to drive a lymphie friend to their lymphedema therapy sessions.
- If able bodied, an ally should not sit in seats marked for people with disabilities.
- Read up on lymphedema and spread awareness about the condition.
Ready to join the lymphedema community? We’re happy to have you!
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