“Wonder Woman is a fighter, better than most, but it’s what she fights for that’s important. It’s her vision of a future of peace and acceptance that makes her the right ambassador for everyone.” – Gal Gadot
Danny Kaye was the first UNICEF Ambassador of goodwill, taking on the title of Ambassador-at-large in 1954. Kaye stayed active, stayed immersed in the cause until his death in in 1987, working tirelessly, circling the globe for 33 years to raise awareness of the work done by UNICEF. Kaye was magical, special and dedicated. There are thousands of photographs of him with children, their laughter can almost be heard breaking the frame of the still shot and spilling out into the world. Kaye not only did measureless work for UNICEF, he also elevated the idea of what an Ambassador was and could do. Without political affiliation, Kaye represented hope and bridged the gap between cultures with his greatest tool, laughter. Since the beginning of his tenure as goodwill Ambassador, the idea of an ambassadorship has grown and expanded. Now, there are goodwill ambassadors representing all manner of social programs all over the world, from every country, working, in essence, to make the world smaller, to bring the world together and aid in understanding the beauty of our differences rather than supporting the walls that are often created around them.
Despite the joyous pictures of Danny Kaye in action and the positive words of famous athletes and movie stars who have donned the mantle of ambassador, the work is not all photo ops and laughter. The work of an ambassador often involves changing the minds of people who are stuck in an old belief, who don’t fully understand and, for some reason, fight against being educated. An ambassador is a person willing to put themselves in the way of ignorance and, sometimes, anger and finding the connection, the bridge that brings together perception with the truth.
An estimated 15-30 million people worldwide deal with chronic illness. Chronic illness that stops their lives. They are unable to work and many of them are tethered to a bed because their illness is so severe. They start to disappear from their lives and are condemned to a life of pain and quiet, unending desperation. Unlike the diseases that can be diagnosed, named and cured, a great number of chronic illness sufferers are in a sort of medical limbo. With a disease like ME, where the symptoms are so varied that there is no specific set of symptoms for diagnosis, a precise diagnosis doesn’t even exist, people with the disorder are often looked on with wary eyes. People don’t understand what a chronic illness sufferer actually lives with day to day.
In 2003, Christine Miserandino coined the terms “spoons” and “spoonie” in her essay “The Spoon Theory.” In the essay Miserandino talks about a conversation she had with a friend who asked her what it feels like having lupus. Spoons and spoonies became a disability metaphor and a neologism used to explain the reduced amount of energy available for activities of daily living and productive tasks that may result from disability or chronic illness. This essay opened the door for more people to understand what life of chronically ill people was like. In a way, Christine Miserandino became a spoonie ambassador. She bridged a gap and helped others understand a truth that many, many people live with.
“When people ask where I studied to be an ambassador, I say my neighborhood and my school. I’ve tried to tell my kids that you don’t wait until you’re in high school or college to start dealing with problems of people being different. The younger you start, the better.” – Andrew Young
Taking a cue from Miserando, IVYE, a new clothing line and social awareness company that designs and creates clothes specifically to help chronic illness sufferers deal with the everyday hassles of doctors, prodding and poking, is looking for ambassadors of their own. IVYE understands the physical discomforts that can often accompany the many doctor visits they have to endure day after day. IVYE knows the need for doctors and nurses to have access to veins, arteries and body parts to do their work helping the sufferers feel better and hopefully finding a cure. Comfort, practical use and the preservation of dignity are the cornerstones of IVYE’s work. Giving chronic illness sufferers relief and care drives this company and now, they are seeking those who have chronic illnesses to help as Ambassadors between the world of chronic illness and the world that just doesn’t understand.
An Ambassador for IVY would represent the strength, the courage, the drive and the struggle as a community to the world. You, as Ambassador, would be one of their many voices, many minds, working together to help the world understand what living with chronic illness means. What do you do? You paint, draw, sing, plant, cook to stay strong and you have a passionate drive to share that strength with others because you know you are more than the sum of your pains or a vehicle for your illness. An IVYE Ambassador brings hope, goodwill and understanding to those who want to be educated and those who need to know that, no matter what their level of illness, they are not alone, they matter and they are a life worth hearing, seeing and listening to.
Along with spreading truth and understanding about a life that millions of people live, an IVYE Ambassador will receive some special benefits. An IVYE Ambassador with receive; early access to new IVYE products, free IVYE Wear swag, Lifetime discount codes for all IVYE products, chances to win trips, prizes as well as participate in the IVYE Wear, LLC business. And, as an Ambassador, you will have exclusive access to the Executive Officers and Founder. You will have a voice in creating the IVYE brand and guiding where the company goes in the future.
IVYE Ambassadors are warriors and their strength is a thing of beauty. What they fight for is acceptance, understanding and a world that sees chronic illness sufferers as not just the disease that makes their lives a struggle, but the people they are, the use they have in the world as human beings with voices, ideas, dreams and purpose. If you have the courage to share, the drive to educate, the patience to lead, contact IVYE and become an Ambassador for the chronically ill. Got to IVYE.com and read the requirements, fill out the forms and apply. Share your story, share your strength and be an Ambassador for awareness with IVYE.