How does one depict what it is really like to have an illness? Can a website create the emotions and the struggle that some illnesses take someone through their life? In analyzing the website curejm.org, the signs and symptoms of Juvenile Dermatomyositis are explained and using visuals, we can see what it is like to live with this illness. There are three components used to analyze the website. The first being ethos and how well the website is credited. The second is logos, does all the information make sense and does it have evidence? The last component is pathos; does the website really show what it is like to have this illness? The visuals and texts are analyzed with all of these elements.
At the bottom of the web site it says,
“This website is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Cure JM is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services and this information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem. The site author and the content providers make no representation or warranties, expressed or implied. Providing links to other websites does not imply that Cure JM endorses the information or services provided on those websites. The organizations operating those websites are solely responsible for the content found on their websites.” (curejm.org)
This states that the web site is credible because it shows that it does have an author, although no specific name is given.
The website uses logos by saying that JDM is a rare and life-threatening autoimmune condition affecting approximately 17,000 children in the United States alone. All throughout the page it continues to give facts and statistics about the illness. For example, “JDM begins in childhood or the teen years. The average of onset of JDM is between six to seven years old; 25% are age 4 or less.” (curejm.org)
Through the use of pictures and dialect the website expresses what it is like to be a child and have this illness. This brings out the appeal of pathos because it applies to one’s emotions, when we see what the symptoms look like and what the side effects of the medications are. Looking at the pictures, we can see the rash on the skin and how the medications can make children gain weight. The pictures on the website are categorized by body part.
In looking through all the pictures of the faces, all the children are smiling. I think this is done on purpose so that the children still look happy and that they can still lead a normal life with the illness. The website uses words like attacking, sufferers, and weak; this shows that the illness is very detrimental and that every person that has to deal with it goes through a struggle.
Recently, my younger cousin was diagnosed with JDM and it was a very dramatic and scary experience for our whole family. It worried me because JDM is a form if an illness that I have and I did not want my younger cousin to have to go through what I went though. From reading all the information for the family, it explained everything that a family needed to know about the illness and there was a phone number to call if there were any questions. When my cousin was first diagnosed, my mom called the phone number on the website. Although it says that it is the foundations information, it goes to the woman who started the foundation. When my mom called her, they stayed on the phone for hours and talked about the woman’s son who was diagnosed when he was little and my mom got a lot of information from the woman. This shows that the people who are in charge of the website want to help anyone who has this illness.
I asked my cousin to review the website and to decide if it correctly describes JDM. My cousin Caroline Farley said,
“It feels like your muscles are always exhausted. Like you just worked out really hard or did something tiring. It also hurts because your muscles are sore and in a few places my muscles actually hurt just when you touch them from the outside. Sometimes I feel weak, like a paper doll sometimes, as it got increasingly worse it also became very annoying and especially because I am usually pretty active so not being able to zip up my coat without help was frustrating to me.” (Farley).
Through her explanation, it is shown that the website correctly depicts what it is like the have the illness and that all the scientific information is correct.
The predominant focus is the text because there is more information about JDM then there are visuals. With all the information there are pictures that represent what it is talking about. For example, after reading about one symptom there is a picture creating a visual. It talks about how a skin rash is one of the first things that is seen with this illness, and then there is a picture.
This shows that the text and visuals complement each other. The visuals deepen the understanding of the text because the text might use big words that not a common person would understand, but after seeing the picture it shows what it really means. The visuals are placed in various locations throughout the website. Some are throughout the text that is explaining the information and some pictures are under their own category of pictures.
In perusing the website, I believe that it correctly depicts what it is like to be a patient living with JDM. Pathos is used throughout the website with all of the pictures because they show the children and what their skin looks like having the illness. Ethos is used because the author is a credible source. Logos is used throughout the website because it has facts and statistics. There is more text in the website than pictures, but all the pictures go hand in hand with what is being talked about throughout all of the text.
"Cure JM Foundation Is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization Dedicated to Finding a Cure for Juvenile Myositis (JM). JM Is a Group of Rare and Life-threatening Autoimmune Conditions Affecting Approximately 17,000 Children in the United States Alone."Cure JM Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.
Farley, Caroline. "JDM." Telephone interview. 17 Feb. 2014.