The group is aimed at raising awareness of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity which affects between 5-25% of Canadians, as well as providing a place for sufferers to support each other.
The group was set up by a female multiple chemical sensitivity sufferer (MCS) who prefers to go only under the screen name 'Lady Itchalot'.
Despite being created only this week the group, named 'The Many Face of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities in Canada', already includes over 15 members.
The group description states:
"MCS is an invisible illness. WE are not!
If you live in Canada, with or without yet a diagnosis of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, please add your pic, masked or unmasked, to this group.
We need to put faces to this illness to raise awareness!"
Lady Itchalot says that she had the idea for the group when she was watching The Terry Fox Story (1983), a movie about a Canadian cancer amputee who decided to run across Canada on only one leg to raise money for cancer research.
A very inspiring story and an example of how a powerful image can galvanize support for a course.
A major obstacle to obtaining medical, legal and social help for those suffering from MCS is that it is an 'invisible disease'. Despite often severe symptoms triggered by minute amounts of common chemical there are often no obvious visible signs of illness or distress for others to see. When there are they are often dismissed as psychological (e.g. panic attacks) or some other medical diagnosis which fails to take ito account most aspects of the condition.
To compound this problem of being invisible, those affected by MCS are often forced into quitting their jobs, withdrawing from social events and basically becoming prisoners in their own homes.
Lady Itchalot says of her efforts: "I wanted to start a website where we could post our pics of ourselves. I was hoping to eventually get over 1 million Canadians with MCS registered and visible.
What a magic piece of display that would be to show off! No one could discount one million pictures of real people!"
Unfortunately at present a dedicated site has not been possible so the next best option was the Facebook group. There is no reason why this canot have the same impact however.
Lady Itchalot urges all Canadians affected by MCS to sign up to the group which can be found at:
If you do not have a Facebook account signing up is a simple process and you can restrict the amount of personal information on display if you are worried about security.
The Environmental Illness Resource fully supports this effort and hopes it is a great success.
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