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This week, learn how to take the first step in activism by informing your policymakers, why chronic Lyme disease has been downplayed for decades, Women's Health Month, and more.

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1. We're thrilled to launch the first installment of the 2024 Chronic University series, an initiative aimed at empowering patients to become advocates for themselves and their communities. Our first session, "First Step in Activism: Informing Policy Makers," is now available. Click here to watch.

Are you ready to raise your voice and advocate for change? Visit our website to learn more about Chronic University and discover how you can get involved in our advocacy efforts.

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Photo credit: Time Magazine

2. Patient stories reveal an uphill battle in Time’s editorial, “Long Dismissed, Chronic Lyme Disease Is Finally Getting Its Moment,” as it examines how the medical establishment has downplayed the reality of chronic Lyme disease for decades. This is an insightful illustration of how personal stories can educate legislators and inform patient-centered legislation.

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3. CDC Director of Advocacy, Nathaniel Brown, recently had the privilege of participating in the annual National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk in Portland, Oregon — one of hundreds of events around the country during May, which is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Read Nathaniel’s recap here.

If you are interested in advocacy, a powerful way to contribute is by sharing your mental health story. When you tell your story to the Chronic Disease Coalition, we share it with elected officials, the media and the public to help educate people about what it’s like to live with a chronic disease. If you have questions about how we use these stories, please contact us here.

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4. Each May we celebrate Women’s Health Month, and for many, it's more than just a mark on the calendar. It's a time to spotlight the unique health challenges that women face daily. For CDC Ambassador Heather Guidone, Women's Health Month is about making sure that patients’ voices are being heard in the policymaking process. Read more about Heather’s advocacy journey in her guest blog here.

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Photo credit: Graceson Mahoney

5. As part of our acknowledgement of Women’s Health Month, we’re highlighting one of our amazing ambassadors— Graceson Mahoney, from Washington state.

As someone who spent more time in doctors' offices and hospitals than being a kid, I advocate to help others find answers and find their communities."

If you’re interested in joining Graceson in our Ambassador program, click here.