In 1993, May 12 was designated as the International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases, to memorialize the birth date of Florence Nightingale, the English army nurse who inspired the founding of the International Red Cross. The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) joined the Awareness Day effort in 1997 and has led the call for increased recognition of fibromyalgia each May 12 since then.

The theme for this year’s Awareness Day is “Fibromyalgia Affects Everyone.” The day will focus on the far-reaching effects of fibromyalgia.

This year will mark the second annual Walk of FAME (Fibromyalgia Awareness Means Everything), a 5k event hosted on May 12 to raise awareness of the disease. This year’s walk will expand to increase participation and maximize outreach efforts by consisting of hundreds of walks in local communities across the country. On May 12, teams of three or more will walk at an array of popular destinations including shopping malls, the perimeter of Disneyland, and high-profile college campuses wearing Walk of FAME t-shirts and handing out information cards about fibromyalgia.

The NFA has other events planned for Awareness Day that range from a group road trip up the coast of California to a candlelight observance. Information on all activities can be found on the NFA Web site.

In an effort to request a proclamation declaring May 12 International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, the NFA provides a customizable proclamation template to send to local and state government officials for support.

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