There recently was a fashion show sponsored by two pharmaceutical companies, Amgen and Wyeth, featuring eight people that have psoriasis. Tim Gunn from Project Runway served as the host.
What was the purpose of the fashion show? From the fashion show’s official website:
The fashion show was the culmination of an awareness campaign designed to help people with plaque psoriasis get more information about managing their disease and feel more confident in their everyday style.
Though I have plaque psoriasis and I’ve blogged quite a bit about having it, I don’t really understand why it’s important to raise awareness about psoriasis. I blog about having it mostly to vent, not to raise awareness. You either have it or you don’t. It’s a genetic disease that affects your autoimmune system. The result is dry, scaly patches on the skin that can bleed and itch. It can be quite painful and quite debilitating. I get it on my hands, but many people get it on the bottom of their feet. I sometimes have a hard time picking things up and doing simply routine things. People who get it on their feet have a hard time walking.
I don’t see how raising awareness about psoriasis changes anything. Raising awareness isn’t going to help me tie my shoes in the morning. It isn’t going to help people with cracked feet walk across the room without experiencing excruciating pain.
I guess I don’t get it.
On the other hand, I see why it’s important to raise awareness with other diseases such as AIDS or breast cancer. People can learn about AIDS and take that knowledge and use it to decide to refrain from activities that raise the risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. When you raise the awareness of breast cancer, women learn the importance of early detection, either via the self exam or the mammogram.
With these two examples, awareness literally saves lives. With psoriasis, that’s not the case.