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The idea of Awareness Day began in 1992. The date of May 12th date was chosen to honor the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the English army nurse who was a pioneer of the Red Cross Movement. Nightingale was virtually bedridden with a painful and fatiguing illness resembling FM and/or CFS/ME, yet went on to inspiring accomplishments, including the founding of the first School of Nursing.

One of the most difficult aspects of having FM and/or CFS/ME is that most of the symptoms are invisible, which makes it hard for others to understand what living with these debilitating illnesses are really like. That's one of the reasons why FM/CFS/ME Awareness is so important.

I've listed some ideas below to help you to increase awareness in your area.

Awareness Advocacy


No one expects you to do a million things, but DO try to write at least one letter to your Congressperson. Then if you're up to it, choose one of the other suggestions listed above (or come up with something new!) that suits you best and that you are best able to accomplish. Let us know what you are doing to make others more aware of FM and CFS/ME!

Thank you for helping to increase awareness about FM and CFS/ME!

Join the Fighting Fatigue "Fighting Back" Challenge!

In honor of their 5th year anniversary, the Fighting Fatigue website has initiated the "Fighting Fatigue Fighting Back Against Chronic Illness Challenge"!

How the Fighting Back Challenge Works:

  • Just upload a video to You Tube and send them your link or you can email them your story in writing

  • If you would like to remain anonymous and are submitting your story in writing, please be assured that they will NOT include any names. You can give them a nickname or initials that you want me to use.

  • If you currently have a blog or website on your illness or chronic illness in general, please feel free to include your link in your story or video. Hopefully by doing this, we can spread the word even further and start a "fighting back" revolution!

  • Also please mention in your video or story that you are participating in the Fighting Back Challenge. This way we can all further promote our message of surviving and thriving with chronic illness.

They are hoping to get some sponsors who will want to get involved for some great giveaways and contests throughout the year and they are currently working on bracelets that can be purchased.

Let's all make this a great year of sharing our inspirational stories and raising awareness for chronic illness! You are special and you deserve to tell your story and have your voice heard! Let's make this a great awareness year!

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How To Raise Awareness:

  • Write, call or visit your Congressional representatives. If you don't know who they are or how to contact them, visit our Advocacy Links section.
  • Organize a support group member project.
  • Take copies of your advocacy letter to your support group meeting. Other group members can either copy the letter by hand or use a photocopy of your letter.
  • Make and bring copies of the enclosed FM/CFS/ME Fact Sheet, which explains what FM and CFS/ME is, who gets it and how it's treated.
  • Ask each group member to bring at least one envelope and one first-class stamp to the meeting.
  • Have each person place the letter and the FM/CFS/ME Fact Sheet in an addressed envelope, seal it, stamp it and then mail all the letters at once.
  • Start this process early! You want to have lots of time for your elected officials to receive your letters.

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Inform The General Public

  • Set up a display in your local library for the week of May 12th or the month of May. This can be done by the librarian with your suggestions on what information should be included in the display.
  • If members of your support group can manage some time at the mall, you may wish to set up a display there.
  • Consider asking your place of worship to include a notice about the significance of May 12th in its worship material.
  • Place a classified ad in your local newspaper.

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Alert The Media

  • Contact the health reporters at your local TV and radio stations, newspapers and magazines regarding FM/CFS/ME Awareness.
  • Mail your letters or call the reporters early. Program directors often plan ahead and since May is a TV and radio ratings month, they are busy preparing feature stories now for broadcast in May.
  • Designate someone as your group's spokesperson, so the media has a contact for stories.

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Innovative Ideas for Awareness

Probably one of the most innovative ideas I've seen is from Fibroduck is owned and run by Jamie Goodwin, a freelance writer and former stand up comedienne. The aim of Fibroduck is to raise awareness for Fibromyalgia, whilst making you smile. Their small, plastic, yellow duck is free, you only pay shipping. The challenge is to draw attention to Fibromyalgia by using the duck in places a duck wouldn't usually go. Upload photos of your duck onto their website and view photos of other ducks on their mission to raise FM awareness! Visit their website - to get your own duck.

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