Beyond My Battle was started by Martel and Nell – fast friends with vastly different incurable diseases.
In 2016, Martel Catalano and Nell Pritchard were introduced for the first time over oatmeal and coffee. It wasn't long until they found themselves deep in conversation filled with laughter and tears. While they live with two different medical conditions, there was a kindred spark of honesty and understanding.
Despite their inability to grasp each other’s struggles on a physical level, they related on an emotional one.
Martel and Nell had each explored online spaces for their own conditions earlier in life – eager to find someone who could relate to what they were going through. But what they individually found was that disease or disability-specific groups have a tendency to draw in those who compare notes, vent, and sink further into the anxiety, sadness, fear, and anger that comes with having something you can’t "fix". And while these spaces serve the purpose of providing information relevant to their conditions, the focus on sad or scary stories left them feeling stressed or depressed. Both Martel and Nell wanted to embody a sense of hope rather than hopelessness. From the beginning, they both had the same outlook...
That we all are so much more than our bodies, our minds, and therefore, whatever conditions we battle in them.
Over many more coffees, they discussed and explored why it had to be this way. Why the spaces we seek support instead often bring us down – increasing our stress and, therefore, the likelihood to inherent additional ailments in body and mind. They thought "what if there was a space where we left feeling better about our situation, rather than worse." So they decided to go out and change the conversation – shifting the negatives to positives – starting with their online support group. Their focus was simple:
Use positive thought, mindfulness, and self-care to combat the stress that comes with having a disease or disability.
What started as a supportive relationship between two individuals has grown into far more, Today, Beyond My Battle is a resource extending the same kind of loving, helpful support Martel and Nell once provided for each other to people around the world. It is a nonprofit organization helping others learn how to live life to the fullest, rather than in sadness or anger, through support and education. It is a flicker of light in a world that sometimes feels dark – and that flame is growing stronger each day.