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Social Media Summit Scholarship Essay – Peggy Renee Pickle

Posted by @joycegroenke in Just Want to Talk, Aug 15, 2011

Editor's Note: This is an entry in our Scholarship Contest for Patients and Caregivers to attend the Mayo Clinic Social Media Summit Oct. 17-21 in Rochester, Minn. See this post

for more details on the contest, and please cast your votes by liking or commenting on the candidates you think would be best.

Here is Peggy Renee Pickle’s Essay:

My name is Renee’ and I am a patient and a patient advocate. Today I find myself on a journey of illness that began over four years ago. I have severe Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGID’s) that include IBS, functional abdominal pain and GERD. Because of the severity of my FGID’s my local doctors could not treat me so I am now a patient of one of the world’s leading doctors in treating FGID’s and a patient of Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Every day my life is consumed with my illness from trying to determine what minimal food and drinks I can consume that will keep me from starving and will not cause my symptoms to become unbearable, to battling constant fatigue, to battling the negative side effects of the many medicines that I take. All of this is on top of being a full-time mom and wife, a part-time CPA, a Sunday School teacher, and a soccer, baseball and dance mom.

As I realized the extent and prognosis of my illness, I had a choice to make….sit back and feel sorry for myself or step up and reach out to help others who are suffering as I am. Because of my determined spirit, I chose the latter. I chose to try and make a difference in my own life as well as others by becoming a patient advocate. My advocacy work actually began through facebook. It was on facebook that I found IFFGD, International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, the premier non-profit organization that supports patients with FGID’s. From that point, I signed up to go to Washington DC in April 2010 with IFFGD to share my story with legislators. This first Hill Day was a success and I found this new world of advocacy exhilarating. Now, I was no longer a victim of FGID’s, I was an advocate working to improve the lives of thousands of others. I have continued to work with IFFGD by attending a second Hill Day this past June, organizing their first fundraising walk in my hometown, meeting with my local Congressman to request his support for legislation to further research of FGID’s, and talking with local doctors and friends about the work of IFFGD. I also began volunteering at the University of North Carolina Center for FGIMD’S, where my doctor is Co-Director. I have helped them with mailouts, worked at their Research and Patient Day Symposium, advertised their Online Chats about FGID’s on the internet and volunteered to participate in research studies. Along with a friend, I helped start a facebook support group for people with FGID’s, and I have started a blog to share my journey on this road of a chronic debilitating illness. This summer my son and I started Rome Runners, a group of patients and advocates who will run in the Disney World Marathon Weekend Family 5k on behalf of the Rome Foundation. They provide guidance to health providers on how to diagnose and treat patients with FGID’s. We hope to raise awareness of FGID’s and financial support for Rome Foundation. What I love is that so many friends, family members and strangers have been encouraged through how I have chosen to live my life with this lifelong illness.

Through my journey I feel that I have much to offer at the conference as well as to service in the greater good of the health community. I also have so much to learn to enable me to become a better patient and advocate. As a patient having been with doctors who don’t understand and don’t care to two of the greatest, kindest, most compassionate doctors, I feel I have great insight to lend to doctors on how patients with FGID’s want to be treated. I want to learn how to improve my communication skills, and how to better use social media to reach out to others who are suffering with chronic illnesses. I feel my participation can expand my knowledge and realm of influence so that I can make my life as well as the lives of others better.

Tags: Scholarship contest

juran500, mnlperrett, redstrokes and 44 others like this

Posted by @katiemd1, Aug 17, 2011

Good luck!

katiemd1 likes this

Posted by @stacey, Aug 17, 2011

Great JOb Renee!! Good Luck


Posted by @dsmith1, Aug 17, 2011

Great story. Thanks.

dsmith likes this

Posted by @debby, Aug 17, 2011

Best of Luck! Really Liked the Story! And knowing you Renee' I know this would only improve your insight and understanding to do more to help other people, its just your nature!

Debby likes this

Posted by @reneep, Aug 17, 2011

Thank you are so kind!!!


Posted by @evelyn, Aug 17, 2011

Thank you for sharing your experience of/with this debilitating illness. I wish you all the best & pray many others will benefit from all you are trying to do.


Posted by @reneep, Aug 17, 2011

Thank you Evelyn!!! I have no doubt God is using this illness to Glorify Him....and if that's what it takes to Praise Him......then Jesus send the rain!!!!


Posted by @prayin247, Aug 17, 2011

Something Good is going to come from your suffering, because God has you in his hands. Best wishes!


Posted by @reneep, Aug 18, 2011

Thank You......God has done so many wonderful things through illness....I look forward to watching HIM work.


Posted by @bettyj, Aug 18, 2011

praying for your healing, God has a plan


Posted by @reneep, Aug 18, 2011

Thank you cousin Betty!!! HE is in control and I just want to follow HIM....down whatever path He leads.


Posted by @dancer52, Aug 18, 2011

Great essay, so happy to vote for you!


Posted by @reneep, Aug 18, 2011

Thank You!!!


Posted by @ddm, Aug 18, 2011

Renee' this is wonderful, please allow God to continue to use you for His Glory! You are loved!


Posted by @karenmcqueen, Aug 18, 2011

Very nice and informative article...good luck!

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