CFS/ME Awareness Day

May 12th of every year has been designated as "CFS/ME Awareness Day" throughout the world. CFIDS-based activities proposed and initiated on this day are to inform the world-wide population about the devastation of this illness. This day has been set aside in reverence of all those who suffer with chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome and the direct and/or indirect affect that these individual's lives have on anyone's life that they interface. This illusive disease does affect over a million people world-wide and because its cause is still eluding the medical community, who knows how many other people will be infected before its cause and cure can be enacted. You can help support the education and enlightenment of the world to the ravages of this sickness by setting aside some time and energy to acknowledge the significance of chronic fatigue syndrome in your life. You, family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, acquaintances, etc. can all pitch in to help teach each other about this syndrome by getting involved in any CFS-related activities in your community on May 12th.  If you can't seem to find any activities happening in your neighborhood, create some. Why not have everyone scatter informational brochures around various doctor's offices, hospitals, and clinics? Contact your local hospital either directly or through your physician and plan a series of no cost lectures from various informed doctors and specialists about this disease. Your relatives and friends could raise funds through a walk-a-thon or some kind of sale and donate all of the money to a non-profit organization that does chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome research. How about having a CFIDS block party to raise your neighborhood's awareness about the illness? You and your support group can combine efforts and imaginations and formulate wondrous ideas that you can make a reality all to help educate others about this disorder.

There are other ways that you can help the CFIDS cause such as writing letters or sending faxes and/or e-mail to your elected government officials on May 12th. Your congenial letters should be short and to the point emphasizing your personal contact with this illness and to stress the importance of your government in acknowledging this disease as a real threat to the world's well being. Hopefully, if your letters are received by caring individuals who are truly committed to serving their jurisdictions, you will get some type of response back from your letters. Get everyone who knows you or has contact with you to take the time to even mail one letter. Imagine if every person in this world did mail at least one letter to a sensitive government official. In no time, everyone world-wide would become knowledgeable about chronic fatigue syndrome through their own governments!

            Another option is to contact your local media and make them aware of what May 12th means to you or your loved one. Suggest a focus story be done on this illness in general, and/or a personal interview with you, or a story written about your support group.No matter what you offer for ideas, the main premise of contacting the media is to utilize their capabilities to reach a large audience over a vast area. Be sure to propose that they record and become involved in promoting any activities for May 12th in your community. Their participation can aid in educating your entire area about CFS.

            You may wonder why May 12th was picked to represent CFS/ME Awareness Day. May 12th is Florence Nightingale's birthday. She founded the Red Cross and was very actively involved in helping sick people from all over the world even though her attention was in the United States. It was noted in medical logs and in her own diary that she had contracted a disease similar to chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome in her mid-thirties. Florence ended up contenting with this syndrome for the rest of her life. As a result of tolerating this undiagnosed disease, she was bedridden for the last fifty years of her life. Even though she was ill with this sickness, Ms. Nightingale devoted her precious energies to starting the first school of nursing. Any person who is a sufferer of CFIDS knows what a phenomenal feat this must have been for her to accomplish. The idea of spending fifty years bedridden is a nightmare for chronic fatigue syndrome infected individuals but this woman managed to overcome her own exhaustion for the needs of the many throughout the world. There is a bittersweet sense of pride and respect that comes from acknowledging this ailment on her birthday. The affliction she fought her whole life to overcome was also the source of motivation for her to keep participating in life. No amount of personal suffering and sacrifice kept her from thinking of what she could do to help others.

            People all over the world can learn a valuable lesson from the strength and faith of Florence Nightingale.