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Volunteer Buddy Program in Chicago for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Patients

  [ 572 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ] • August 19, 2007

Serving the Chicago area, DePaul University’s “Buddy Program” is a community-based initiative organized more than 10 years ago by Dr. Leonard Jason, PhD, and Jennifer Shlaes at the Center for Community Research.

The purpose of the program – offered for both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking participants (as El Programa del Amigo) - is to alleviate physical strain and exertion as well as the emotional pain associated with “involuntary isolation” among people suffering with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

All volunteers go through an orientation, and training to learn about these illnesses.

Then the program pairs each patient with a volunteer buddy who can offer various types of support on a weekly basis via visits and/or phone. Support may range from empathetic listening to practical assistance such as grocery shopping or other errands, or deskwork. (No homemaker/maid or medical services.)

A buddy request form for patients and an application form for interested volunteers may be found, completed, and submitted online at the program’s website – For questions about the program, e-mail

You may also call the program at 773/325-1897 to ask that a form be mailed to you, or write to:

The Buddy Program, Center for Community Research
DePaul University
990 W. Fullerton Ave, Suite 3100
Chicago IL 60614

Please Discuss This Article:   Post a Comment 

If it's 10 years old why...
Posted by: gundy
Aug 22, 2007
Just wondering - if this system has been in place for a decade now - why are we just hearing about it? CFIDS research is so behind - but it seems to me the greater tragedy is that the few resources & helpful programs that are available aren't made known to patients &/or advocates for years on end in most instances. Why is this? If i'd known something like this was in place in Chicago YEARS ago i'd have tried to get a similar program set up here in New England. But - in a way it makes me a little sad as well because it just reminds me that - yet again - the powers that be will NOT admit how closely intertwined CFIDS & AIDS really are...but they'll call us PWC'S & institute buddy programs for any of this sounding familiar to anyone else who was there for the first decade or so of the AIDS crisis? Until someone steps up to the plate & is brave enough to admit that they're related we are all going to suffer needlessly when we could be pooling our limited resources with the AIDS/HIV communities resources & maybe finding a cure for both diseases that much faster!
Reply Reply

my take
Posted by: ryotboi
Jul 27, 2008
to the first respondent: a cure for aids/cfids would put the medical industry, and big pharma, out of business. like the cancer industry, for profit it's better to attempt to advertize 'manage' a chronic condition than to look to 'cure' it. mother nature has many answers yet undiscovered. yet big pharma and even some natural health companies try to patent extracts or rearranged molecules of a natural substance so they can charge for what was supposed to be free. now herbalists are saying the whole plant provides the most healing benefits. that you can't make money off of. a major culprit is environmental toxins both inside and outside the home. the same corporations that make chemicals to pollute our homes, offices and parks also help stuff the drug research and development coffers for 'answers' to management of each symptom of whole collection, individually treated conditions like 'dry eye' or 'overactive bladder' or 'ards', even rhinitis. instead of treating the underlying cause, the chemical companies work with big pharm to even permit use of their waste in medicines, changed around a bit on the molecular structure, like benzos, fluorine in prozac, etc. rampant pollution of air, water and soil along with poisons in cleaning and building materials is the true common denominator in lowering immune systems across the western world. sure, there is a genetic link to immune system function, but the trigger is the environment. until we all coordinate to stand up to this hoax, along with our allies, this charade will continue. because the corporations that pump out chemicals are laughing all the way to the bank, while we pay for the cause and marketed solutions they generate to cover up their culpability.
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