National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day History
2012 is the 20th anniversary of nationally celebrating a day for fibromyalgia awareness! Over the years I’d often wondered when National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day got started and last year I decided that I would share my findings with all of you during this year’s celebrations.
Tom Hennessy, the founder of RESCIND, INC. (Repeal Existing Stereotypes about Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases), was the first to get things doing. In 1993 he designated May 12th as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases. Conditions that fell under that umbrella were Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Gulf War Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome. Many of you know that May 12th is still commonly a combined awareness day for fibromyalgia and CFS/ME.
Why May 12th though? Hennessy chose the date to memorialize Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale was an army nurse who became chronically ill while on the front line. Many of her symptoms were similar to those in fibromyalgia and CFS/ME. She improved military medical care and founded the first School of Nursing, but was bedridden the last 50 years of her life. Nightingale was an inspiration then (a pioneer of the Red Cross movement) and still is today.
The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) started in 1997 and helped propel National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day to what it is today. For years they were the organization and contact listed for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day in the National Health Observance calendar published by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Sadly, National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was not on the National Health Observance calendar for 2011 or 2012. 2011 is when the National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association took over awareness day activities from the NFA.
Will you be wearing purple this Fibromyalgia Awareness Day?
You may also be interested in reading:
National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
*Image Credit: from www.flickr.com by lurnmri1