CLUB — RSDS and Fibromyalgia Survivors Support Group
RSDS and Fibromyalgia Survivors Support Group
The RSDS and Fibromyalgia Survivors Support Group Club met Sept. 26 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Streator. Club leader Bea Danko started the meeting with a request to spend five minutes each day to try to smile. She brought a sign her husband, Andy, hung in the room. It said one word in bright colors, smile. Danko added “You have RSD or fibromyalgia, it does not have you.”
The other topic of the meeting was hope. Most members wear a dove pin that symbolizes hope. Danko reminded members how important it is to hope for a better tomorrow.
Two visitors attended the meeting. Stephanie, a 21-year-old college student, and Maggie, 12, who was diagnosed within the last year. Stephanie was diagnosed at age 17. The RSD started in one leg and spread to her other leg and one of her arms. Maggie’s RSD is in her foot and cannot bear weight on it. She counts on her parents and siblings for support.
One member, Marcia Amell, a fibromyalgia sufferer, praised both girls for their will to get up each day and live their lives, even though they are hurting. She said some sufferers of these illnesses three times their ages do not always show the strength. Vivian Umphress, an RSD sufferer, said, “I may have RSD, but I refuse to let it take my life. I will not give into the pain.”
She and the rest of the group are there for one another. Meetings help each person differently. Many sufferers read an article last month about Senate Bill 1861, The RSD Education Act. Danko is the advocate and Sen. Gary Dahl, R-Granville, is the sponsor for the bill.
With the help of the group and individuals who contacted senators, 12 senators now support the bill. With the help of this bill, doctors in Illinois will be educated on how to diagnose and treat RSD.
The next meeting will be from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at St. Mary’s Hospital. The group will celebrate Halloween. It will be the last meeting for the year. Anyone who has RSD or fibromyalgia can attend any of the confidential meetings.