Kristen Grathwol's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Bridgewater, Virgina, but anywhere.

Kristen is in her early 30s and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 16 years ago. She started to constantly feel achy with unexplained pain, wasn’t sleeping well, was having lots of fatigue, and joint issues. It’s difficult to diagnose and treat as many people experience this illness in many different ways. Basically the brain is telling you something hurts more than it should as the pain signals she feels are amplified.

She has learned to manage her symptoms and stick to a strict schedule to make sure she doesn’t overdo it, and gets enough sleep. Many people go undiagnosed for a long time, but she feels lucky that she received an answer to learn how to manage her symptoms, work, and participate in things she enjoys. Her wisdom and ability to describe how this invisible illness helps others realize what they see on the outside isn’t the whole story.

Location: Bridgewater, Virgina, United States


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