Charis Hill went from playing soccer at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, to a diagnosis – at age 26 – of Ankylosing Spondylitis, an incurable, progressive and chronic form of arthritis. Without proper health care and treatments, it’s possible that her spine could fuse into one long, curved bone in the shape of a question mark. The chronic disease causes both pain and fatigue.
Even so, it’s not obvious to anyone on the outside, drawing surprise and sometimes misunderstanding as a result. A resident of Sacramento, California, Hill recently spoke about living with an invisible disease at TEDxSacramentoSalon.
For those who don’t have chronic conditions, Hill offered this comparison:
“Think about having the flu. What if you had the flu every single day for the rest of your life, and yet people still expected you to work, pay your bills, maybe raise a family, have a social life, and all that on top of trying to manage this permanent health condition that will never, ever go away and will always get worse.”
Hill also spoke about the importance of community and offered tips for how to relate.
The TEDx program brings TED-style events to local communities to support the organization’s mission of presenting “ideas worth spreading.” Past TED speakers have included the likes of Al Gore, Bill Gates, Jane Goodall and Nandan Nilekani.