Become a Macular Degeneration Advocate

Ever thought about being an advocate for macular degeneration? It's easier than you think!

If not you, then who? Who else knows the highs and lows better than you? Each of us brings a wealth of experience with a unique perspective based on our own personal journey. When shared with others who also have vision challenges, valuable insights are possible. But what exactly does it mean to be an advocate, and how do you get started?

You may already be an advocate

By definition, an advocate is a person who speaks or writes in support of a person and/or cause, such as macular degeneration. Have you ever explained or commented about your condition to a friend, neighbor, or family member? If so, you are educating them and being an advocate.

How about the comments you make on this website — Every time you share your personal experience, you are advocating by expressing a valuable perspective — YOUR perspective. It may not feel like you’re contributing as an advocate, but believe me, you are.

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Many times, advocates are unaware of the impact they are making, but from one advocate to another — you are making a difference! It just feels right, AND you could absolutely help ease the way for someone else!

Four easy ways to expand your advocacy

It's time to speak up and step up!

There are multiple ways to advocate for macular degeneration. Let’s talk about some of the easier ways:

1. Make your voice heard

Make a conscious effort to frequent this website and contribute by posting a comment if you can add to the conversation or have a question. You can also start a conversation yourself by going to Menu, then Community, then Forums and posting your observations or asking a question. Or, click this text to visit the forums. It can’t get much easier!

2. Educate those around you

Educate others whenever anyone expresses an interest in your condition. Many are curious and want to learn more. Because macular degeneration is an invisible disability, most people are clueless but usually very open to hearing what you have to say. It’s time for us to step up and speak up!

3. Share support and resources

When the opportunity arises and people comment that either they or someone they know has macular degeneration, let them know how helpful this website has been for you. Explain how easy it is to navigate, that it’s free, and that they can access valuable, credible information. They may not be aware of the supportive community that is also available for them.

4. Start your own support group

Consider meeting monthly or quarterly to share resources, provide support, and offer a sense of community for others who are visually challenged to assure them they are not alone. I have some personal experience with starting a new group that I would like to share. I couldn’t believe how easy it was!

Starting a macular degeneration support group

It isn't hard! Seriously!

Just 6 months ago, I started a V.I.P. (Visually Impaired People) Group in our 55-plus community. I knew many with vision challenges, so I formed a panel of 4 to talk about their unique experiences at the first kick-off meeting in our community. We were excited when nearly 30 people attended.

We now meet quarterly and already have 38 members in our VIP Group. The meetings are only 90 minutes and different speakers are scheduled. Our next meeting is going to feature a local organization that offers services and products — most are free — for the visually impaired. After that, a travel agent — who is also visually challenged — is going to share her tips and tricks for travel.

This has taken off more quickly than I expected and was much needed. The meetings are very positive and upbeat, where we can come together to share resources and support one another. Selfishly, I, too, have benefitted greatly!

How are you advocating in your community?

I would welcome any comments below about groups you have started, and I would be more than eager to share with you how to start a group.

Is the time right for YOU to step up and speak up?

Please join me as an advocate for macular degeneration!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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