NEW BRUNSWICK — On Saturday, May 12, people around the world will observe National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day to help draw attention to the poorly understood and relatively unknown medical condition.
John Obenchain has been leading the effort to bring more awareness to fibromyalgia through an online forum geared toward suffers, as well as their caregivers, family and friends, to share their stories. Over the past ten years, Obenchain has watched his wife succumb to the debilitating effects of fibromyalgia. The stress, pain and fatigue of this medical condition have reduced her once active life to a series of doctor visits and days spent at home.
Obenchain understands that fibromyalgia affects a whole family, and his efforts to bring more widespread attention to the disease are paying off. He created the online support group for fibromyalgia, The Alliance Against All Fibromyalgias (AAAFMS), as a way to support not only those diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but also their caregivers and family members.
“Though fibromyalgia had effectively isolated us, we realized that we weren’t alone – far from it. There were millions of people out there suffering like my wife, and at least as many like myself, who had to stand by and watch a loved one suffer,” Obenchain says. “When I realized how many of us there were, I suddenly saw that the way to defeat fibromyalgia was strength in numbers and unity of purpose.”
Obenchain believes that if one person expresses anger or frustration about fibromyalgia, typically that lone individual will be seen as the problem. However, if the millions of sufferers unite their voices to express their anger and frustration, then the world will know that fibromyalgia is the problem.
“This is why I created the AAAFMS,” Obenchain says, “to unite the victims of fibromyalgia and the caregivers of fibromyalgia sufferers against a common foe.”
Fibromyalgia is an unpredictable medical condition that can cause mild, moderate and severe symptoms. Symptoms vary depending on the person but often include severe pain and fatigue as well as mental, physical and psychological problems.
To learn more, visit www.aaafms.com