May 12th has been designated as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND) since 1992. The CIND illnesses include Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Of the included diseases, fibromyalgia is the most common, affecting approximately 8% of US adults. For that reason, May 12th is often referred to as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. However, it is important to remember the other conditions as well.
May 12th was chosen because it is the birth date of Florence Nightingale. She was the English army nurse who inspired the founding of the International Red Cross. Nightingale suffered from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)-like illness. She became chronically ill in her mid-thirties. She spent the last 50 years of her life frequently bedridden. Despite suffering from a debilitating illness, she managed to found the world’s first School of Nursing.
ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was designated to increase awareness to these chronic, yet often overlooked conditions. The effort is also meant to educate the general public, healthcare professionals, government officials, and legislative bodies.
Here is a list of related sites Worth visiting:
- National Fibromyalgia Association
- National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association
- Chronic Fatigue Community
- National Gulf War Resource Center
- The Environmental Illness Resource
- National Organization for Rare Disorders
- The Chemical Sensitivity Foundation
If all sufferers educate themselves first, and then others, awareness will increase. As awareness increases, resources and research are more likely to follow.