History of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day from the NFA
In 1993, May 12 was designated as the International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND) by Tom Hennessy, the founder of RESCIND, Inc. (Repeal Existing Stereotypes about Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases), to memorialize the birth date of Florence Nightingale, the English army nurse who inspired the founding of the International Red Cross. Nightingale contracted a paralyzing, CIND-like illness in her mid-thirties and spent the last 50 years of her life virtually bedridden. Despite her illness, she managed to found the world’s first School of Nursing.
The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) joined the Awareness Day effort in 1997 and has led the call for increased recognition of fibromyalgia each May 12. The NFA collaborates with fibromyalgia support groups and patient advocates around the world to coordinate innovative national and international events in honor of Awareness Day. Awareness Day activities are designed to increase awareness of chronic pain illnesses including fibromyalgia, as well as to assist patients and organizations in educating the general public, healthcare professionals, government officials, and legislative bodies.
The National Fibromyalgia Association’s theme for the 2009 National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day campaign is “Fibromyalgia Affects Everyone” and will focus on the far-reaching effects of this disorder—from broken lives to the economic costs to patients and society.
There are events going on all over the country (and world) in honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. If you would like to see if there is an event going on in your community you can check the NFA community events page.
How I plan to participate in Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
I struggled to come up with one thing for my fibromyalgia support group to do in honor of May 12. The NFA is doing a walk and I considered following their lead, but then I thought about walking, and I thought about getting other group members to walk, and I quickly decided that a luncheon would be a much more successful event. But I didn’t stop there. I schedule three events for my support group members in honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness.
On May 12 we will be having our luncheon at a local mediterranean bistro. A bit fancier than the coffee shops where we usually meet. I am looking forward to a great afternoon of socializing with the spirited and resilient members of my group. If you have the impression that support groups are depressing, this group would change your mind. Someone suggested we should be called an empowerment group instead! It is definitely under consideration.
On May 15 we are meeting at the beautiful Chopra Center in La Costa to take an intro to meditation class. Meditation is not as easy as it sounds. It takes practice to learn how to quiet your mind and breath in a manner that will restore and refresh you. At this introductory class they spend half an hour teaching about meditation, and half an hour practicing. I went to the Chopra Center last night with another group member to practice the daily 30 minute meditation, and get an idea of what to expect when we return next week. I took a couple of photos so I could share them with you.
They were very welcoming and the environment is so relaxing and reverent. I hope each of my group members takes advantage of the free opportunity they are extending us.
Finally on May 16, The Wellness Center is supporting Fibromyalgia Awareness and offering a free gentle yoga class to my group members, and to anyone in the community who is interested in participating. I felt it was important to have one event that was active, and since I am a huge proponent of yoga, I am very pleased that we were able to organize this.
It is going to be a busy week, but I am grateful for my group, and grateful to the community I live in for their generosity and participation in promoting Fibromyalgia Awareness.