Chronic Illness Sufferer’s Plan to Combat Unemployment
Hannah Olson grew up in Marion, but she now lives and works in Washington, DC. She shared a little bit of her story with 1420 WBSM and FUN 107.
I could tell you how Lyme disease robbed me of the ability to make decisions about my own body, how it strained relationships with the very people I loved most who were thrown into roles as caregivers, or how awkward it is to be sponge bathed by a stranger.
Although these are harsh realities many of us have to live with, that’s not why I’m here talking about this disease. Today is the start of National Disability Awareness Month.
I’m a 22-year-old who was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015, after years of misdiagnosis. Having resources to turn to during this time gave me confidence that this disease does not define me, rather it empowered me to be an advocate for those who are struggling.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve found a home amongst our incredible community of badass, fearless, empowering individuals for whom chronic illness is a common thread. The fabric of this community is warm, strong, and supportive.
It is in this spirit of support that I want to share with you a project I’ve been working on, Chronically Capable.
Chronically Capable is a website on a mission to connect the 133+ million Americans who suffer from chronic illness with employers who offer remote work, great benefits, and flexible schedules. Hannah's team launched the project today in accordance with National Disability Awareness Month in October. This initial launch is to simply get email signups, but the platform itself will be launched soon.
This is something I've been thinking about for a long time. When I was at my "sickest" point and graduation was looming, I was nervous about finding a job at a company that would understand my specific needs. I wasn't sure I could make it through a typical 9-5. I kept seeing over and over in the different support groups on Facebook that so many other people were in the same place as me. I noticed people were bored or looking for part-time/ flexible work opportunities. I now am working at a tech company and it seemed like a good time for me to bring up this idea and execute it properly. I saw a clear problem here and a need for people to find work opportunities. I'm luckily in a place right now that I am able to work full-time, but I'm at a company that is both flexible and understanding of my health needs. I wish people like me could have an equal opportunity to work for a company like this.
It's a powerful thing to see a need like this and actually execute it in a way that will help so many millions of brave people battling something that seems invisible to everyone else.