By Krista Kellogg
“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.”–Naomi Williams, Body, Mind and Spirit
This week I attended the November meeting of our local community division of the National Psoriasis Foundation. The purpose of our division is to further the Foundation’s mission of finding a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and eliminate their devastating effects through research, advocacy and education. Our division is working to build capacity in South Florida—like our counterparts across the country—through outreach, education and awareness. The meetings take place in the evening at the end of our busy days and our group includes a high school student, parents, an entrepreneur, working professionals and our local staff contact from the Foundation. Each time we meet, even after all my years of volunteering, I am humbled that people take the time to show up, make a commitment to the group and offer of themselves to make a difference in the lives of others.
Volunteering is a gift for both the giver and the receiver. Coping with a chronic disease like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can sometimes feel like a long war won in small battles. It is relentless. Bolstering yourself for the burden of it on a daily basis can be disheartening and exhausting. One antidote that always works for me (even when I am feeling too busy or too tired to participate) is getting out of my own head and getting involved in the work at hand – finding a cure. Without exception, each time I leave a local meeting, end a committee call, or fly home from a board meeting, I feel energized and inspired to do more. It makes me feel better, less depressed about my disease and like an active participant in my own life. I am grateful to be surrounded by wonderful, giving people. Other side effects may include increased awareness of the latest research, quality family time and fun – something all of us could use a little more of.
The human capacity for compassion and kindness is great and takes many forms. You can find it everywhere, in droves, if you seek it out. I found it at the Walk to Cure Psoriasis where hundreds of people step together to help those living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis look forward to longer, healthier lives. I found it on Capitol Hill where advocates from all over the country visit Congress to help shape the laws and policies that affect millions of patients like me. And I found it again this week, at our division meeting. Finding an organization like the National Psoriasis Foundation is a great place to start. It can open your eyes and your heart to the power of giving and the powerful effects of giving thanks.
Krista Kellogg was elected to the National Psoriasis Foundation Board of Trustees in 2006 and currently holds the position of chair-elect. She is chair of the Board Governance Committee and a member of the Development, Finance and Outreach Committees. She also served as chair of the 2011 National Volunteer Leadership Conference. Krista has palmar-plantar psoriasis. She lives in Miami, Florida, where she is the marketing director at the law firm of Stearns Weaver Miller.