May is the month designated to raising awareness of fibromyalgia and myalgic encephalitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, so let’s first define a few words: advocate, advocacy, and awareness.
- Advocate: one who pleas the cause of another; one who defends or maintains a cause or proposal; one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group
- Advocacy: the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal
- Awareness: the quality or state of being aware; knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists
Some people describe advocacy simply as speaking up and for an issue. When you see someone with fibromyalgia being treated as though they are invisible and you speak up on their behalf, you are advocating. When you share information to help raise awareness about something, you are advocating. When you pass out flyers about a school bond issue, you are advocating. You are sharing your passion about an issue with others in hopes that they will see – and share – your point of view.
The great anthropologist Margaret Mead is often quoted: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that has.”
Advocacy can change the world.
A quick Google search of “who advocates for fibromyalgia” provides 893,000 results and our website includes a variety of organizations, including:
Subscribe to the World's Most Popular Newsletter (it's free!)
Per the ProHealth website, the cumulative effect of advocacy efforts, from organizing major fund-raising drives to simply signing a petition, is that all of our lives are made easier.
May 12 is Awareness Day for both fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. People all over the world will hold events, participate in walks, seek state proclamations, raise funds for research – advocate – on behalf of raising awareness so that more people have knowledge and understanding about these invisible illnesses.
In May, help us highlight the work of advocates at all levels – individual, local, association-level, state and federal.
We want to hear from you, our reader.
We offer you resources and information so that all of our lives are made easier, which in the end…can change the world.
How will you help raise awareness? Share your ideas and activities with us in the comments below.
This article was first published on ProHealth.com on May 1, 2018 and was updated on May 1, 2021.