Sunday, May 12 is International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.
The day also brings awareness to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.
Big words that refer to chronic conditions that are both invisible and debilitating.
In North Bay, people are asked to participate in the Light Up the Night Challenge.
The idea is to get as many public buildings, structures, businesses and private residences in the area to light up purple.
Mario Domingue, the founder of Fibromyalgia North Bay, says the conditions are hard to describe because they are so complex.
“The Light Up the Night Challenge is to show support for people who are suffering from the condition. A lot of people suffering from fibromyalgia are not understood by their family or friends,” explained Domingue.
“People suffering from fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, many think they are the only ones going through this. So, by lighting up, it shows that they’re not alone.”
Domingue launched the awareness page on Facebook and the closed support group meetings just over one year ago.
“My members wanted it closed so that the discussion within the group remains within the group. On Facebook, we have about 140 members.”
Face-to-face meetings are held twice a month at Calvin Presbyterian Church.
The group meets every second Wednesday of the month from 1 until 3 p.m. and on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 6 until 8 p.m.
Guest speakers are often invited to share their knowledge and answer questions from members.
“Most times we will have a discussion topic based on different conditions. For example, the first topic we had was acceptance and denial. So, members who came out discussed whether they were accepting of their conditions or in total denial. We also talk about different coping mechanisms used in order to accept it.”
People are also asked to light up Facebook, and support the cause by wearing something purple, whether it is a t-shirt, a hat or even jewellery.
Domingue says by lighting up purple, people can show their support, love, and care for those living with this life-altering illness.