The Power of a Personal Story - Introduction
By Craig Maupin at www.cfidsreport.com
How taking our personal stories public can help win the war on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
The media is a powerful tool. Political parties, major corporations, and special interests groups spend vast resources managing how they present their concerns to the public. Much time and thought is dedicated by these groups to the crafting of a public message with skill and precision. Wise use of the media has turned around political campaigns that appeared destined for failure, sold the public on ideas that appeared unmarketable, and reformed public apathy into public action for a wide variety of worthwhile causes.
The war on public apathy toward many illnesses was ultimately won in the public arena, rather than the political arena. And often the turning point for many of those illnesses came when a private and personal story of the loss that an illness can cause was taken public. These stories can take the suffering caused by an illness from being concealed behind walls and present to the public the true cost of an illness.
The chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) community has often been slow to realize that the most powerful tool at their disposal in the fight against CFS may not be well-written letters to senators, attendance on various committees, or political crusades. Although all of those activities may have their proper role, the most powerful weapon we have in the battle against CFS may simply be our personal stories.
I have seen entire lives ripped apart, families and friendships torn to pieces, and promising careers put on hold or even ruined by chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). I have seen incredible suffering that often goes on behind closed doors.
But few in the public have seen this side of CFS. When these stories hit the airwaves and print media, we will move one step closer to changing public apathy about CFS, one viewer/reader at a time. These very stories, our underutilized ace in hand, are waiting to be used judiciously. It is the public assimilation of these personal, yet painful, stories that will eventually turn the tide in the battle on CFS.
In this series, we will take a look at some personal stories that have helped turn around the battle against certain illnesses. Then, we will discuss how our own personal stories of the loss and suffering caused by chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can do the same for us. Each of the following stories eventually helped bring financial, medical, and public resources to bear in the fight against an illness. Personal stories represent how effective a personal story can be, not just in creating awareness of those with CFS, but in changing the hearts and minds of the public -- a true step toward successful advocacy.