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International Awareness Day for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Since 1992, May 12 has been designated International Awareness Day for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue and other chronic pain conditions. Across the county and around the globe, Fibromyalgia patients and their families are devoting time during May to raise funds and build awareness of these chronic diseases. A complete list of the diseases addressed on this day, also known as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND), include Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

These illnesses are grouped together because they share several characteristics: cognitive problems, chronicle muscle and joint pain and exhaustion.

May 12 was selected because it is also the birthday of Florence Nightingale and it is believed that she suffered from ME/CFS. Florence Nightingale was an English army nurse who founded the International Red Cross. She became chronically ill in her mid-thirties with a ME/CFS like illness, and was bedridden for the last 50 years of her life. Despite her illness, she is known around the world for her inspirational leadership in helping others.

Events in the United States, Canada and around the world are geared to raising awareness and to connecting individuals and families. The nature of the disease tends to be one of isolation. People generally connect with each other through work or community activities. When one cannot leave the house, it is easy to become isolated, dependent on close family members, and depressed about the eventual outcome of the disease. Awareness Day is centered on the idea of reach out and connecting fellow sufferers and increasing visibility of these illnesses.

We applaud all of the organizations who are working so hard to expand awareness of ME/CFS and supporting the activities for this special day.

In recent years there have been what appear to be breakthroughs in treatment and changes to the understanding of ME/CFS, but there is still no cure.  An article in the May 2014 issue of Scientific American provides a complete history and describes fibromyalgia as “relatively treatable,” which was a surprise to us. Yes, there are new drugs that are FDA approved and some patients enjoy relief from cognitive-behavioral therapy and exercise, but there are many patients whose symptoms do not respond to therapy or medication. The best they can hope for is to get through a day with as little pain as possible.

These individuals depend on disability insurance benefits to pay their bills and maintain a semblance of a normal home life. Unfortunately, the same chronic pain that makes them unable to work also makes it difficult, if not impossible to tackle all of the tasks needed to successfully file a disability insurance claim.

If you or someone you love is facing this very same situation, please call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) and find out how we can help.

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