We, at the NFA, are so excited for this special 20th anniversary of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day! It all started here at the NFA back in 1998, when our founders, Lynne Matallana and Karen Lee Richards, set out to get as many cities, counties and states as possible to proclaim May 12th as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.
They mailed out over 100 proclamation packets to individuals and support groups across the U.S. with suggestions on how to approach political leaders about the importance of creating awareness for this virtually unknown illness. That first year, Lynne was able to get the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to officially proclaim May 12th as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (L.A. County includes 88 cities). Approximately 25 other jurisdictions across the country did the same.
The next year, about 150 proclamations were done. In the first 5 years of Awareness Days, there were over 2,000 proclamations in cities, counties, states, the U.S. Senate, Congress, and even at the White House, thus officially making May 12th National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. The trend continues to this day and many thousands of Awareness Day proclamations have been made all over the world. That means that each of the entities that have proclaimed an official Fibromyalgia Awareness Day recognize that FM is a legitimate life-altering illness, and they support the under-served population of people living with it by calling for more research and new treatments to help improve their quality of life.
May 12th is a day to remember how far we have come, from the days when almost no one had even heard the word “fibromyalgia,” to today when almost everyone has heard of it and knows someone who lives it. It is also a day to celebrate yourself for the fibro warrior you are, or the fibro warriors you support. You are part of this thriving community that was one of the first truly disruptive organizations to make a difference in how the world treats people in pain.
To celebrate the 20th National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, create your own event or fundraiser in support of the NFA. Click here for the NFA’s guidelines and tips to help you get started. May 12th is just around the corner—let’s spend it together!
For more on the history of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, check out this page on the NFA website.
Lynne’s 2010 Awareness Day message: