International Red Shoe Day Date in the current year: July 25, 2024

International Red Shoe Day International Red Shoe Day is observed annually on July 25. It was created to raise awareness of the so-called invisible illnesses — physical, mental and neurological conditions that are not immediately apparent to others but can hurt just as much as illnesses with easily visible symptoms.

Invisible illnesses include, but are not limited to, Lyme’s disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), ADHD, multiple sclerosis, depression, anxiety, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, hypothyroidism, vasculitis, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, diabetes, celiac disease, migraine and chronic headaches, heart conditions, infertility, and more.

In a narrow sense, invisible illnesses are illnesses that not immediately apparent from the person’s outward appearance. However, the term is typically used in a broader sense to imply that these diseases are also seemingly “invisible” to research, treatment and care, and that a lot of people living with invisible illnesses are unable to leave their homes for months at a time, becoming “invisible” to society.

One of the most significant challenges faced by people suffering from invisible illnesses is a lack of validation and understanding from those around them. Some observers cannot empathize with people affected by invisible illnesses because they can’t see the symptoms and don’t realize that the pain these people are feeling is real.

Most people affected by an invisible illness have had to deal with at least one of these common misconceptions regarding their very real condition:

  • If a person looks happy and healthy, they are happy and healthy.
  • All invisible illnesses are psychosomatic.
  • Some rest is all that people suffering from a chronic disease need to feel better.
  • Young people cannot suffer from chronic illnesses.
  • Food intolerance and digestive conditions are just an excuse for picky eaters.

International Red Shoe Day was created to dispel the misconceptions surrounding invisible illnesses, show that the struggle of people suffering from them is real, and honor the memory of those who have lost their battle to an invisible illness.

International Red Shoe Day was launched in 2014 in memory of Theda Myint, an Australian woman who passed away from Lyme disease on July 25, 2013. Myint’s friends established the observance to remember her and others who have passed away from invisible illnesses, as well as to raise awareness of the challenges that people suffer from invisible illnesses face on the daily basis. Red shoes were chosen as the symbol for the day because of Theda’s love for them.

How can you observe International Red Shoe Day? You can learn more about invisible illnesses or help others learn, donate to an organization that funds the research of invisible illnesses or supports patients suffering from an invisible illness, and honor the memory of those who have succumbed to invisible illnesses by wearing a pair of red shoes.

International Red Shoe Day should not be confused with International Red Sneakers Day. The latter is observed on May 20 to raise awareness of the dangers of anaphylaxis caused by food allergies.

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International Red Shoe Day, international observances, invisible illnesses, Theda Myint, chronic illnesses