Gillian Trumbull has had six surgeries during her three years studying at DePaul University and maintains a 3.2 grade point average. Matt Morgan was able to graduate despite being unable to leave bed most of his senior year due to chronic fatigue syndrome. Lacey Wood came to DePaul from California after two organ transplants. “I wanted to go to college since I was a little girl, but until I found the program here, I didn’t think I could manage it,” Wood said.
These students and countless others have been helped by DePaul’s Chronic Illness Initiative, which will sponsor its fourth annual symposium on chronic illness and postsecondary education May 22 to 23 at DePaul. This year’s symposium has grown to include more speakers, experts and presenters in the field of chronic illness than ever before.
The only program of its kind in the United States, the School for New Learning’s Chronic Illness Initiative provides students with the help they need to manage school while struggling with debilitating illnesses, relapses and hospitalizations. Only four years old, program enrollment has quadrupled in the last three years and now serves more than 200 students.
Titled “Linking Clinical and Educational Perspectives in Service of Students Who Have Chronic Illness,” the symposium will include a number of workshops, presentations and panel discussions from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 22 in Room 120 of the DePaul University Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., at DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus in Chicago. The event is free and open to the public. For complete program details, visit http://www.snl.depaul.edu/current/chronic.asp#Symposium.
Highlights of Thursday’s events include:
• Kevin Sharp, an award-winning vocalist, entertainer, author, cancer survivor and inspirational speaker, will tell his story and provide a message of hope and inspiration at 1 p.m., May 22, in Room 120 of the student center at the Lincoln Park Campus.
• “Policy/Service/Troubleshooting: A Three-Pronged Approach to Helping Colleges and Universities with Growing Populations of Students with Chronic Illness,” a discussion featuring Patricia Fennell, president of Albany Health Management Associates Inc., and Lynn Royster, director of the Chronic Illness Initiative, 10 a.m., May 22, in Room 314A of the student center at the Lincoln Park Campus.
• Paula Kravitz, assistant director of student services at the Chronic Illness Initiative, will speak on “Forming a Coalition: Working Together to Coordinate Efforts for Students with Chronic Illness,” 9 a.m., May 22, Room 314A of the student center at the Lincoln Park Campus.
• “The Student Perspective: Navigating Higher Education with a Chronic Illness,” a discussion featuring DePaul students Teresa M. Stallone, Cecilia Reyes, Derrick Winding and Lacey Wood, 3:45 p.m., May 22, Room 315 of the student center at the Lincoln Park Campus.
On May 23 at DePaul’s Loop Campus, a student information session will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 221 in the School for New Learning (SNL), 25 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago. Interested students can meet with staff, faculty and students in SNL to learn more about the Chronic Illness Initiative and find out how it can help them earn their college degree. Tours of the Loop campus and University Center student resident facility also will be available.
The event will conclude with the Chicago premiere of a documentary about chronic illness titled “It’s About Living,” which will be screened from 7 to 9 p.m. May 23, in Room 154 of the Schmitt Academic Center, 2320 N. Kenmore, at DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. The film provides an intimate portrait of the struggles and triumphs of five individuals with chronic illnesses. For more information or tickets for the film, please visit www.caringvoices.info or call Colleen Yosick at (708) 588-1923.
For more information about the symposium, call (312) 362-5591, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.snl.depaul.edu/current/chronic.asp.