Join Us in Raising Awareness for these Causes in May

By Deasia Lamar, Communications Intern 

Patient advocacy organizations work tirelessly to educate, promote, advocate, and raise awareness and funding for their causes. Here’s how you can help advance and support these groups’ missions and spread awareness. 

ALS Awareness Month 

Join the ALS Association in celebrating May as ALS Awareness MonthThe ALS Association has a full calendar to increase awareness of ALS and of the severe physical, emotional, and financial burdens it creates for people living with the disease and their families. ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The ALS Association will be talking about the disease and its burdens in the context of the COVID-19 public health crisis, which exacerbates the difficulties people living with ALS already face in number. 

Ways to get involved: 

Arthritis Awareness Month 

May is recognized each year as National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis is a disease that impacts more than 50 million Americans, making it the number one cause of disability in the country. That means 1 in every 5 adults, 300,000 children, and countless families are affected by arthritis. “Arthritis” is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. The Arthritis Foundation is leading the way to conquer arthritis and its effects through advocacy efforts at the state level and on Capitol Hill, cutting-edge scientific research, and our tools and resources that help you live your best life. This May, join the Arthritis Foundation in drawing attention to Arthritis awareness across communities.  

Ways to get involved: 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 

Join the National Health Council in recognizing Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. We’re joining countless other nonprofits, including our members, to honor the history and achievements of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to continue to fight for health equity.  

Check Out the National Health Council’s resources on health equity, diversity, and Inclusion here. 

Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month 

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has declared May to be National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.  More than 65 million Americans overall have asthma and allergies. Some people may have one or both conditions. About 25 million Americans have asthma (20 million adults and 5 million children) and about 32 million Americans have food allergies (26 million adults and 6 million children). May is a peak season for people with asthma and allergies, and a perfect time to educate patients, family, friends, co-workers, and others about these diseases. The AAFA invites patients and patient advocates to join in on the  31 Days of Action for National Asthma and Allergy Awareness MonthThe theme of this year’s awareness month is to dispel myths and help people understand asthma and allergies. 

Ways to get involved: 

Celiac Awareness Month 

Join Beyond Celiac in celebrating May as Celiac Awareness MonthCeliac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that is genetic and triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. In May, Beyond Celiac aims to raise awareness of celiac disease and to create a positive impact on the celiac community.  Beyond Celiac is raising $35K for celiac awareness via their Reach Beyond Celiac Ambassador Program! Beyond Celiac is working to end the stigma and misinformation surrounding celiac disease while empowering the patient and patient advocate community.  

Ways to get involved: 

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease is one of the world’s most prevalent genetic autoimmune disease, affecting an estimated 3 million American, 70-80% of whom are undiagnosed. The Celiac Disease Foundation seeks to remedy this by accelerating celiac treatments and looking for a cure. This May, the Celiac Disease Foundation is looking to raise awareness and support for Celiac Disease through 31 days odonating or raising money to the Celiac Disease Foundation and receiving gluten free products from King Arthur Baking Company.  

Ways to get involved: 

Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month 

Join the Huntington’s Disease Society of America in observing May as Huntington’s Disease Awareness MonthHuntington’s Disease is a brain disease that causes deterioration in a person’s physical, mental, and emotional abilities, usually during their prime working years, and currently has no cure. The theme for this year’s digital campaign i#LetsTalkAboutHD#LetsTalkAboutHD is a social media initiative during Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month in May to encourage families to share their experiences with HD. Share a video, a photo or a written story to help raise awareness – HD impacts every family differently and it’s time the world knows our story. Post videos, stories, and photos to social media using #LetsTalkAboutHD to educate the world about the devastating impact that HD has on families.  

Ways to get involved: 

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) Awareness Day 

May 12 is Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) awareness day. ME, previously called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a complex and debilitating multi-system, chronic disease with a serious impact on one’s quality of life. During the Month of May, Solve ME/CFS Initiative continues to work toward raising awareness of ME/CFS by investing in research, and advocating for the ME/CFS community. This May, get involved in the fight to solve ME/CFS. 

Ways to get involved: 

National Lupus Awareness Month 

Join the Lupus Foundation of America in celebrating May as Lupus Awareness Month! Lupus is a chronic disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system — the body system that usually fights infections — attacks healthy tissue instead. This May is an opportunity for the lupus community to join together across the country to raise funds and awareness of the physical, emotional, and economic impact of lupus. There are many ways patients and patient advocates can help Make Lupus Visible in May – from sharing stories on social media to starting a fundraiser or making a donation. Visit the Lupus Foundation of America toolkit page to find sample social media posts, lupus facts and more to help get started 

Ways to get involved: 

National Mental Health Month 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention invites everyone to join in celebrating May as Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, The AFSP is advocating to fully support mental health across the country. The theme for this year’s campaign is #MentalHealth4All, in which the AFSP is encouraging people to take simple actions to encourage friends, families, and communities to take mental health seriously. Simple actions to take can include advocating for legislation for mental health care equity, joining a walk, bringing suicide prevention resources to your community, and spreading the word about local AFSP chapters. Join the AFSP in the journey to fully supporting mental health for everyone this May.

Ways to Get Involved:

Mental Health America observes May as Mental Health Month by reaching out to millions of people through the media, local events, and screenings. Mental Health America invites other organizations to join in spreading the word that mental health is something everyone should care about by using the May is Mental Health Month toolkit materials and conducting awareness activities. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of people of all ages. Now, more than ever, it is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles, because that stigma often prevents individuals from seeking help. In 2021, Mental Health America will continue with the theme of Tools 2 Thrive, providing practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation. 

Ways to get involved: 

Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. Each year NAMI fights stigma, provides support, educates the public, and advocates for policies that support people with mental illness and their families. For 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Month NAMI will continue to amplify the message of “You Are Not Alone.” NAMI will use this time to focus on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay through NAMI’s blog, personal stories, videos, digital toolkits, social media engagements, and national events. 

Ways to get involved: 

National Myositis Awareness Month 

May is National Myositis Awareness Month. During May, celebrate with The Myositis Association by learning about myositis. The 2021 theme, “A Call to Action,” focuses on supporting and mentoring members on their path to true leadership. This May, The Myositis Association will give patients and patient advocates powerful tools to tell stories, support each other, and expand the world’s understanding of myositis. In doing so, The Myositis Association aims to shorten the wait between symptoms and diagnosis. Ultimately, these efforts will also speed up the search for better treatments and a cure for Myositis. 

Ways to get Involved: 

National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month 

This May, National Osteoporosis Foundation will commemorate National Osteoporosis Awareness Month with materials showcasing simple steps to promote good bone health.  Approximately half of all women and a quarter of all men over the age of 50 will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. Just as disheartening, each year about one-third of adults in the U.S. age 65 and older will fall. Many Americans do not realize that developing osteoporosis is not a normal part of aging. During this Month, the National Osteoporosis Foundation focuses on understanding the importance of strong bone density 

Ways to get involved: 

Older Americans Month 

May is Older Americans Month. During May, the Alliance for Aging Research is dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance believes that advances in research help people live longer, happier, and more productive lives and reduce health care costs over the long term.  

Ways to get involved: 

Awareness Days: 

  • World Asthma Day (5/4) 
  • World Lupus Day (5/10) 
  • International CFS/ME Awareness Day (5/12) 
  • International Clinical Trials Day (5/20)