Sunday, July 29, 2012

We Need a Different Poster Child

July 23rd was World Sjogren's Day. Why July 23rd? Because that's what would have been Dr. Henrik Sjögren's 112th birthday. I have to admit that I totally forgot to write a post about what should have been for me a very significant day.

In all honesty, I have issues with the use of the word CELEBRATE in a sentence that also contains the words SJOGREN'S SYNDROME. I know that I should be very grateful to Dr. Sjogren, who identified this disease all those years ago, and the celebration linked to his name relates to the fact that someone, anyone, out there in the medical community back in 1933 cared enough to document and name this disease. That's worth celebrating, I'll admit.

But I am still cranky about having to live with his discovery day after day after month after month after year after year. Other sjoggies have shared the same feelings, in fact one reader in particular commented that she never capitalizes the word Sjogren's: she said that it didn't deserve a capital S.

Now THAT'S admirable crankiness, people. I like it.

I would agree that there definitely should be a World Sjogren's Day, absolutely. But I think that the whole concept here needs a little...........softening. A little jazzing. A little.......something........other than this:

Cranky-looking Dr. Sjogren image found here, on Wikipedia

Sorry, Dr. S. I am so grateful to you for your discovery. But, honey, and don't take this the wrong way, OK? I just don't see you as the face of Sjogren's.

And I mean that in the best. Possible. Way. Really.

Dr. S.........first of all, I realize that we have very few pictures available of you other than this very grainy black and white image, which does appear very professional and clinical. But one must concede that your um.....affect.....and demeanor.....well, it just doesn't project......... celebration, does it. I know. It simply wouldn't do for physician in a professional photo to appear anything other than sober and wearing a white lab coat. It's not your fault, here, Dr. S. I'm not criticizing YOU.

I'm just thinking that if the Sjogren's syndrome community wants to truly grab the general public's attention about our disease on World Sjogren's Day, we should have some other image to represent us. In other words, Dr. S.....I just can't see your face on a Sjogren's syndrome coffee mug. (Your mug on a mug! Get it? Get it? sorry...)

I wish that I could do something other than point out the deficiencies of this awareness campaign. I hate it when people whine about something and then don't offer their idea of a solution to the problem, but of course that's exactly what I'm doing.

Hm. I guess what I'm trying to say here is this:

World Sjogren's Day is a great idea.


DON'T use the word "celebrate" in the publicity around it. And for goodness sake, please don't use Dr. Sjogren's photo, either.

So. Who should be the face of Sjogren's syndrome? Or the image? Or the icon?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think each year, a patient-warrior or brother or sister in arms should represent the day...those brave enough - like get up each day, put a good face on for those of us who are not there yet - and push us all to beat this guys are the ones who represent all of us who stuggle...thank you-