Machines beeping monotonously at your side. Fluorescent lights exposing the four, small walls of your room. Sterile scents overpowering your every inhale. Bland food barely activating your tastebuds. These are the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of anyone who is inpatient at a hospital.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, over 100 million people in the United States have a chronic illness or disability, and less than six percent of those are visible illnesses.
A chronic illness is long-term and generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication.
Our names are Haley Labian and Michael Jackson, and as you may know, we
are a part of that 100 million statistic. The challenges of being an adolescent are many, but when one also has a chronic illness, the challenges are exponentially greater.
In the March 4th, 2017 edition of Psychology Today,
it’s reported that teens with chronic illness face:
- Doubt of diagnosis of chronic illness
- Doubt of self-reported pain
- Inability to finish educational goals
- The worry and anxiety of being “left behind” by friends and peers
- The stigma of being “different” and labeled by their illness
Not to mention, you know, all the other trials and tribulations of growing up.
Living with chronic illnesses and disabilities can be extremely socially isolating. Hospitalization or days of poor health can keep these individuals from pivotal social moments, like prom, school, or just spending time with friends.
Thanks to social media, connecting with others is easier than ever before. Not only do they allow individuals to form relationships with peers, but they also provide outlets for creative expression. Unfortunately, existing social platforms fail to meet the unique needs of chronically ill young adults.
Most friends can’t relate to those long, lonely days spent in bed. They have little interest in the latest medical research articles. They’re not up to chat with in the middle of the night.
Sometimes, those living each day with chronic illnesses and disabilities just need to connect with someone else who gets it. We’d like to introduce you to Greater Than Three—a safe, moderated, online social networking community to connect, engage, and empower chronically ill adolescents, aged 13-21.
Our site and mobile application will feature a live feed of user posts, blogs, message boards, and resources from reputable sources on chronic illnesses, as well as the chatroom—a staple of the community. These features will be available 24/7, and our staff will monitor all of the content.
There are currently no other moderated social networking websites for the general population of chronically ill adolescents. Most illness-based organizations address the needs of individuals suffering from one specific disease. Our reach will extend to all chronically ill adolescents, allowing them to connect with their peers living with different conditions.
In order to make this goal a reality, we need your help. In this crowdfunding campaign, we are asking you to invest in us so that we may begin the process of bringing Greater Than Three to life.
We will use your donations to establish Greater Than Three as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and to contribute towards associated startup costs.
When you’re chronically ill, it’s easy for your social life to revolve around three things; you, your parents, and your medical team. The name Greater Than Three comes from the idea that there are other people in the world who understand what you are going through—and together, can help support you too.
We believe there is strength in numbers, and power in empathy and understanding. We aspire to encourage and amplify the voices of adolescents living with chronic illness. But to do this, we need your help:
- Donate, big or small.
- Like our Facebook Page
and follow us on Twitter
, and Snapchat at @GT3_FDN.
- Share our fundraiser with others—you never know who in your life is one of those 100 million.
We are asking you to invest in the belief that no one should battle their chronic illness alone.
We are asking you to invest in the knowledge that together, we can build a community that brings adolescents together to laugh, cry, engage, support, and empower one another.
We are asking you to invest in us—Haley and Michael—as we embark to create a community that has the power to change lives.
But most of all, we are asking you to invest in our community—those of us who face physical obstacles daily, both seen and unseen, and need a reminder that we are not alone.
Together, we are more than our diagnoses. We are Greater Than Three.