In 2004 the National Fibromyalgia Association established our Fibromyalgia Awareness Day Proclamation Program providing support groups or individuals the materials necessary to reach out to their elected officials asking them to declare May 12 as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day in their jurisdiction. Over the years the NFA’s Proclamation Program has succeeded in bringing awareness of the fibromyalgia community to all levels of government, from mayors and governors to even the president of the United States.
How the Proclamation Program Works:
Identify the Government Official(s) to Approach:
Many support group leaders and individuals will contact more than one official and receive multiple proclamations. A support group leader in Orange County approaches every city mayor’s office and has received numerous proclamations over the years. The internet is one of the best ways to determine who the officials are in your city, state and federal government. The following is a list of potential officials to approach:
- City Mayors- Most cities now have a web site that list contact information
- State Officials- Using your state’s web site, under legislators enter your zip code to determine your local representatives
- Federal Officials: Visiting http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
Contacting government Officials:
Once you have determined the official(s) you would like to approach it is a good idea to contact their office and ask what their procedures are for proclamations and who you should send the request letter and proclamation language to. Then write a letter of request, attaching the proclamation, NFA Fact Sheet, and About FM. Don’t forget to include your contact information.
After you have sent the letter of request, wait three to five days and then call the person in charge of proclamations. Ask if the materials have been received, and if there are any questions. This is the most important step because you may need to re-send or fax it to them.
Create an Event
Once the official/representative has agreed to do a Fibromyalgia Awareness Day proclamation, you’ll need to arrange the best place to receive the proclamation. It can be done in a public forum such as a city council meeting, at a support group meeting, or a local hospital can host an event. Decide who will do the formal presentation; it could be the legislator, you, a support group leader, a doctor, or anyone who you feel best represents your local fibromyalgia community. Make sure to have the event where many fibromyalgia patients and their families can be present.
Promote Your Event
When you’ve decided on the presentation time and place, contact your local newspaper, television and radio stations. Feel free to contact as many media sources you wish. Encourage the reporters to do a story on Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, the proclamation presentation, and/or your local support group. If you need a spokesperson to answer media questions about Fibromyalgia and the NFA, text our main office at (949) 466-2373 and one of our staff will contact the media representative for you.
On the day of your event, have fun! You have an opportunity to spread the word about fibromyalgia and the effect it has had on you or your group’s members. Seize this chance to be positive and hand out educational information such as the Fibromyalgia Fact Sheet. Additional materials are also available from the NFA.
After the Presentation
It is extremely important to send your legislator and any media contacts a hand-written thank you note. They have taken their time to help you and will appreciate hearing about how it has helped you or your group. Be sure to thank your proclamation team as well, with a phone call or a personal note.
Share your Success
The NFA takes pride in sponsoring this program every year and wants to hear your success stories. Please send us copies of any media coverage or pictures you have had taken at your event, and a copy of the proclamation.
Send your photos and stories to: email@example.com