Dear NFA Friends
As many of you know, the National Fibromyalgia Association surpassed 100,000 followers in May 2013 on our Facebook page. In fact, since that momentous figure was reached we have gained almost another 120,000 fans on our Facebook page! This amazing momentum is indicative of your engagement and extraordinary support and we humbly thank you. It’s wonderful to see your continued passion, especially as the NFA, recognized by many as the premier fibromyalgia organization in the world, is about to enter a new phase of its service to the fibromyalgia community. But first, a reminder of how far we’ve come and our accomplishments over these last successful years.
For those of you who don’t know, it all started in Lynne Kennedy Matallana’s living room. Having been diagnosed with fibromyalgia after years of misdiagnoses and seeing 37 doctors (we know many of you have similar stories), she took matters into her own hands and started the NFA, a [501 (c) 3] non-profit organization with the mission to raise awareness about the often unrecognized condition. And, while there is still much to be done, to a large degree she accomplished that goal as fibromyalgia has become better accepted and understood because of the NFA’s work. With her leadership, vision and incredible energy she built the NFA into an internationally recognized association that, at its height, had 25+ employees and multiple programs (Leader’s Against Pain, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, Pledge to Care, FAME Conferences, Walk of FAME, Make Fibromyalgia Visible, and so on…) that provided help for people overcoming pain, their families and healthcare professionals. Other highlights included:
The NFA raised millions of dollars to promote & facilitate research, while Lynne crisscrossed the globe to speak at events ranging from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearings to featured speaking engagements at global meetings on chronic pain, and put fibromyalgia in the media spotlight on such high-profile national platforms as The New York Times, “The Doctors,” US News & World Report and Newsweek Magazine in addition to countless other publication and broadcast interviews. She also was there for you on an individual level – more than once she helped those on the brink of suicide by listening and finding local help. And if that wasn’t enough, she wrote and produced a public service announcement, co-wrote and produced a documentary on fibromyalgia and authored Vol. 1 & 2 of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fibromyalgia.
Although Lynne had to spend three months immobile and 14 months doing physical therapy after suffering a terrible accident and major knee surgery in late 2010, she continued to fight to keep the NFA going and spent months raising funds, overseeing ongoing projects and doing everything she could to keep the organization alive. Her passion to help the FM community spurred her on, because she believed that the FM community had always supported the organization and believed in its ability to make a difference for people with FM. The Board continued to meet regularly and decided to allow some of the NFA’s community programs to also be implemented by other non-profit fibromyalgia organizations, but agreed that the NFA would continuing to focus on Awareness Day campaigns and events, continue to work closely with the media, share updated research findings and treatment information via articles and its very popular Facebook, promote Make Fibromyalgia Visible, release informational newsletters and work toward launching, “The NEW Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine”, and the daily task of managing the NFA’s very popular Facebook page and other social media venues. Having resigned as president in June 2012, Lynne still continued in her role as founder, and has worked tirelessly with the Board and other volunteers during these past years to raise funds to keep the organization and its key programs, including the Continuing Medical Education programs and Health Care Provider web site up and running. The most recent endeavor has been the complete redesign and informational update of the NFA’s leading international web site. With these efforts, the support of the NFA Store, and ongoing donations from loyal followers like you, the NFA and is now poised to move into an exciting new phase of service where we will be taking education around chronic pain to a new level.
We cannot say enough how important Lynne’s undying championship of the NFA has been to keep us afloat. We ask you to join us in thanking her for that devotion, and for her commitment that she will always be aligned with and supportive of this group.
Don’t hesitate to continue to show your appreciation for Lynne and the NFA by spreading the word to keep those “likes” coming on the NFA Facebook page and, importantly, commenting on our Facebook page! We promise we’re listening.
Please stay tuned as we continue to re-design the NFA site and focus on our mission. We look forward to continuing to work with you to keep the National Fibromyalgia Association a vibrant and impactful organization that supports people struggling with fibromyalgia and the healthcare professionals who treat them.
All the Best,
Michael Seffinger, DO, FAAFP
& the NFA Board