By Wendy Widom
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Highland Park mom and teacher is lighting up social media this week thanks to her campaign, #sclerodermaselfies.
Lisa Goodman-Helfand has a condition called scleroderma, which, according to the Scleroderma Foundation, "is a chronic connective tissue disease" affecting 300,000 Americans that can cause skin disfiguration.
"Scleroderma can be fatal when it impacts internal organs," says Goodman-Helfand. "The vast majority of scleroderma patients in the world would change places with me in a heartbeat, because my scleroderma will most likely not impact my life expectancy."
In July, Facebook refused to publish a bare-faced photo of Goodman-Helfand in an ad to promote her blog, Comfortable in My Thick Skin.
The ad also included a photo of Chanel White, a 23-years-old "bravely fighting a devastating battle against major organ failure due to scleroderma." The photos were meant to show that not all struggles with scleroderma are easily seen.
After word of Facebook's rejection of the photo made the news, the company acknowledged its error.
However, the saga continues. When Goodman-Helfand attempted to promote a post about Facebook reversing its decision, using the same photo, the social media giant once again rejected the ad. Since then she has received only an automatic rejection email from the company, the same one she got the first time around.
By launching the #sclerodermaselfies campaign, Goodman-Helfand hopes to spread awareness and funding for scleroderma. She also wants to kickstart discussions around issues that resonate universally, such as body image, self-worth, redefining beauty, and not allowing others to tell you something is impossible.
"Don't let other people underestimate the power of human spirit," says Goodman-Helfand. In honor of the #sclerodermaselfies campaign, she is donating a portion of sales from her book, "Does This Hospital Gown Come With Sequins," to the Scleroderma Research Foundation and the Scleroderma Foundation.
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