There is great value in healing through shared experience and a connection to others. Dealing with an autoimmune or chronic health condition can be incredibly isolating. Having someone in your corner who understands and lives that same experience, someone who just ‘gets it’…there are no words for that. With that, I’m happy to announce the first round of the Autoimmune Penpal Project.
The idea of a pen pal just intrigues me. I recently listened to an episode of Lena Dunham’s Women of the Hour podcast where her and a friend chronicled their relationship as it developed through a pen pal exchange. The authenticity, compassion, and unconditional support they shared with each other was energizing. I had already been tossing the idea of creating some type of autoimmune pen pal group, but listening to this episode just really sparked me to make it happen. I thought about our wonderful online autoimmune & paleo community and how healing it could be to connect with someone on a little deeper level than what can be achieved through social media. I put out a feeler post in my favorite facebook support group, AIP Support, and was overwhelmed by the number of emails and responses I received stating they would be interested in such a project. So here it is, we’re officially going live with the Autoimmune Penpal Project!!!
I’m going start this off as a trial and if it is successful I will figure out ways to manage it over the long term. Registration will be limited initially as I tweak how to make this flow effectively. I have a ball park idea of the number of registrations I can handle, but I will adjust this number as I start processing matches and close the signups accordingly.
As part of the Autoimmune Penpal Project you will:
- be matched with a penpal based on autoimmune disease, interests, age, & lifestyle to the best of our abilities.
- have access to a FB pen pal group where you can interact with other participants and provide feedback to me on suggestions for improving future runs of the project. I will also share prompts and suggestions for writing topics throughout the week.
- receive e-mail updates on program changes, additional registrations, etc.
- be asked to provide occasional feedback on your experience with the project.
- be encouraged to share your experience with the hashtag #autoimmunepenpalproject.
You do not need to be following a paleo, AIP, or related diet to take part of this experience, but attempts will be made to match people with similar lifestyles & approaches towards healing.
There is no cost to participate in this project. It’s completely FREE.
The exchange of snail mail is not required to participate in the Autoimmune Penpal Project, but it can bring a special element to your penpal experience. If you would be willing to exchange written letters via snail mail, please indicate this on your registration form.
Sign me up. The Autoimmune Paleo Project is for me!
If you are interested in being part of the pilot group of the Autoimmune Penpal Project please fill out and submit the form provided at the end of this post. You will be notified via email of your assigned penpal partner. At this time I do not have an expected turn around time on assignments, but I will work to the best of my ability to get you started.
Please understand that Food and Sunshine will not be responsible for anything beyond providing you with the initial pairing. We cannot guarantee that your partner will follow through, but we are asking for at least a 3 month commitment to your penpal. We also understand that sometimes life gets in the way. If you are no longer able to participate please be kind and notify your partner directly. If your assigned partner turns out to be a flop (they don’t respond) please notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org within the first 14 days of your assignment. I will attempt to find you a rematch.
PLEASE SHARE THE AUTOIMMUNE PENPAL PROJECT!
Projects like this are only successful through participation. If you like this idea and what it aims to do please please share this page. Participants do not need to be following a paleo or AIP diet to be part of this project, they only need to have an autoimmune disease or related chronic health condition. Autoimmune disease affects an estimated 50 million Americans – that means someone you know.
Below are graphics that you can use on social media to help spread the word. #autoimmunepenpalproject
Registration is now closed for the initial round of the Autoimmune Penpal Project. If you would like to complete the sign up form below you will be placed on a hold list for future rounds of the project.
After you click the submit button it will say ‘processing’ and take a few seconds to complete. Please do not close your browser until the page displays a message advising you that your registration was a success.