History of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

Did you know that Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was started right here at the NFA in 1998? Since then millions of people have embraced May 12th as a day to share with others what it is like to live with fibromyalgia. Now, 20 years later, the National Fibromyalgia Association is still working hard to bring awareness across the globe through Awareness day.

Here are some of our accomplishments over the last 20 years:

Awareness Day, Lynne Matallana

NFA HistoryWe started with the proclamation program that spanned ten years in which NFA ambassadors across the United States approached their local and national law makers to inform them of this condition called fibromyalgia.

We continued this grass-roots outreach when we took this proclamation program to the courthouse in California in 2006 with the Pledge to Care in Sacramento with assembly member Donnelly, who was chairman of the California Assembly Health Committee.

In 2008, the Lights of Hope campaign brought hundreds of people to California’s capital in Sacramento to march around the capital building carrying banners and signs to raise awareness and a better understanding of what it is like to live with FMAwareness Day Hundreds of people with FM who were too sick to be at the event were commemorated with candles, and attendees read their names so they would be recognized for helping to raise awareness.  The attendees sat on the capital steps and shared their stories with each other and some stories were told to a reporter at the Sacramento Bee, who published an article that was read by millions of people.

It was actions like these that led to the acceptance of fibromyalgia in states across America.

NFA communityThe NFA has also partnered with great singers and entertainers, such as R&B singer Tony Terry who performed a special song celebrating people with FM at the 2nd Annual Walk of FAME (Fibromyalgia Awareness Means Everything)  in 2010.

These walks spanned four years and had hundreds of people with FM, friends, family and health care providers walking side by side to show support for finding new ways to help and treat people with FM. The walks received national media coverage and the message of FAME reached thousands of people across the country.

NFA Awareness Day
NFA Walk of Fame
NFA Fame Walk 2019

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day extended to include seminars with doctors like Dr. Muhammad Yunus in 2009. This educational event concluded with a candlelight ceremony and evening vigil. In 2010, we launched our Know Fibro speaking tour, which traveled around the country talking to support groups and others about the importance of staying physically active.

2013 and 2014 Awareness Day activities included an interactive video series called “Ask Lynne” in which FM community members submitted video questions and founder Lynne Matallana replied through a video sharing program.

Our 2015 activities included a wonderful Feast, Friendship & Fibro dinner where every person living with FM across the globe could share their experience with fibromyalgia over a dinner with friends.

Jenna Grillo In 2016, we were so happy to announce the creation of Team Aware, an ongoing collaboration among our spokesperson, race car driver Jenna Grillo, the NFA, and the Community Pain Center. We are working together to encourage people to support and help people with FM and chronic pain.

2017 is the NFA’s 20th year of hosting National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.

2021 Was a great success with our International campaign “Turning Lemons into Lemonade.” We had an overwhelming response from the FM community who submitted their stories of how they turned difficult situations into one that was positive. Two individuals received “Healthy Help” Grand prize packages worth $500 for their story submissions.

We could not do this without the years of dedication from the fibromyalgia community. It is your willingness to help build awareness and support for people living with fibromyalgia that keeps us thriving.

Please continue to keep our great work going by donating here.

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