While many may be gearing up for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, there's another celebration right around the corner on May 6 – Wishbone Day! Wishbone day is an international celebration of awareness for people across the globe living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI).
OI, also commonly known as "Brittle Bones," is a rare genetic disorder resulting in fragile bones that easily fracture. People with OI not only face fractures but also muscle weakness, loose joints, prone to bruising, curved bones, scoliosis, brittle teeth, hearing loss, breathing problems and short stature for people affected with more severe types. The OI Foundation estimates between 25,000 – 50,000 people are living with OI in the United States. The disease can often be misdiagnosed, including parents who face child abuse allegations when their children face multiple fractures before being properly diagnosed, so that number may vary. Many people with more severe types of OI use wheelchairs or other mobility equipment. The majority of fractures typically occur during childhood and taper off as people with OI reach adulthood, however OI is present throughout a person's lifetime.
The OI Foundation recognizes up to 6 different types of OI and 2 recessively inherited types. While there is no cure, some treatments include physical therapy, medications to help strengthen bones and rodding surgeries to help support weak bones.
While people with OI face many challenges, many lead lives just like everyone else, hold jobs and have families. Wishbone day is all about celebrating the lives of people with OI. Celebrated since 2010 as a result of an Australian OI conference, May 6 helps bring positive awareness to the OI community. Those interested in celebrating Wishbone Day are encouraged to wear yellow to help call attention to the cause. The wishbone day website emphasizes that awareness makes a difference: "because assumptions about what OI is and what OI isn't often creates more challenges and difficulties than the Osteogenesis Imperfecta itself. Awareness makes a difference!"
While creativity to bring awareness to the OI community is encouraged, Wishbone Day is not a fundraising event. Some benefits of celebrating positive awareness can bring attention to issues affecting people with OI and the disability community as a whole including public access issues or a greater understanding of the disability community's contributions to society.
Some creative ways to celebrate might include baking cupcakes with yellow frosting to share with coworkers or share at your children's school; decorating your own yellow T-shirts to share with friends and family; pass around yellow awareness bracelets by buying yellow beads and stringing your own design; or change your Facebook profile picture to the Wishbone day mascot.
Wishbone day even has its own mascot, "wishy"! Wishy travels the world meeting OI families, individuals and communities. For more information on Wishbone day you can visit their website at www.wishboneday.com. You can even buy your own Wishbone day T-shirt online or get creative and make your own yellow garb to show your support. Remember, support means awareness and awareness can make a positive impact for the disability community!
For more information about Osteogenesis Imperfecta, visit www.oif.org.