What difference can a day make?

Across the country, we spend a remarkable amount of resources battling chronic disease.

Even with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, chronic disease is a formidable foe, bringing worry, physical hardship, expensive treatments, medications, prohibitive co-payments, and problems with access to care. Given the enormity of the problem, the lack of preventative awareness and action needs to be addressed.

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Seven out of every 10 individuals nationwide will eventually succumb to chronic disease. That means that if you are reading this, there is a 70 percent chance you will die of one of these diseases. While the most well-known are cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and Alzheimer’s, there are scores of others that are likely to impact you.

On a more positive note, many of these diseases are largely preventable or manageable with the right treatments ­—­ so this is a war we can win.

In order to make progress, though, we need activism, awareness, and education on what causes chronic illness and how we can combat the onset of disease and cope with its consequences.

While the habits that prevent chronic disease are long-term lifestyle adjustments — not smoking, for example, or dieting — dedicating one day to information and awareness can make a difference. With 7 out of every 10 Americans dying of chronic illness, I propose that we use today, July 10, to take greater responsibility for finding solutions and helping people in need.

Those of us who deal with or advocate for treatments of chronic diseases know that a day can make a difference.

One day of awareness, year after year, might lead to a lifetime of preventive habits that will stave off chronic illness in the first place. A day of treatment can make a difference, not only to the patient but also to the families, friends, neighbors, and every American impacted by the tolls of chronic illness.

Good Days from Chronic Disease Fund (CDF) is dedicated to providing as many good days as possible to patients dealing with chronic illness.  We provide copay assistance for those unable to afford medication that is critical to their health. This is progress for those who are already suffering, but we also must lessen the burden on our healthcare systems by driving down the conditions and habits that cause chronic illness.

By recognizing July 10 as National Chronic Disease Awareness Day, we have the opportunity to start a change beginning with one day. Dedicating 7/10 to ensuring that we reduce the alarming statistics around chronic disease will provide a platform for Americans to rally together over recent insurance coverage issues, high incidence rates of disease, and the need for greater awareness and education around disease prevention. Increased knowledge-sharing about all facets of these conditions will help our friends and neighbors overcome this struggle and encourage healthier lifestyles.

While we work on getting our local, state and federal legislatures to officially declare July 10 National Chronic Disease Awareness Day, you can still take action to raise awareness today. Think about what you can do to encourage a healthier lifestyle for yourself and for those around you to bring chronic-disease awareness to the United States. Citizens deserve the ability to make informed decisions about their personal health and together we can provide the information and solutions they need.

Let’s start with one day, a symbolic gesture with important implications. Join Good Days from CDF in recognizing July 10 as Chronic Disease Awareness Day. We know that one day can make a difference.

 

Walley is the executive director of Good Days from CDF, a national, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization based in Plano, Texas, that helps underinsured patients with chronic disease, cancer, or other life-altering conditions obtain medications they need but cannot afford.