IACFS Presents Special Service Award to Kristin Thorson
This article, from the IACFS/ME Spring 2007 Newsletter, is reposted with permission from the IACFS/ME (International Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalopathy).
Each year since 2001, the IACFS has recognized extraordinary individuals outside the field of research who have contributed substantially to those with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or fibromyalgia (FM). This category may include advocates, leaders, practitioners, supporters, or any person who has lent special effort or talent to the field.
This year’s Special Service Award goes to a woman who has been tirelessly — and almost single-handedly — promoting FM and CFS research for about 20 years. She founded the Fibromyalgia Network in 1988 to provide news and current information to women and men with fibromyalgia. Working out of her own home, she developed a newsletter that has become the foremost source of fibromyalgia information for patients.
Beginning in 1991, Fibromyalgia Network started hosting informational booths at major medical conferences to spread the word about the legitimacy of FM and CFS to people in the health care field, most of whom were physicians. Then in 1993 she founded the American Fibromyalgia Syndrome Association (AFSA), a non-profit organization that raises funds and supports research in FM and CFS. Over the next 13 years Kristin Thorson raised almost $2 million, which has supported 30 different research projects. Remarkably, AFSA is rated as one of the most efficient charitable organizations in the United States because more than 90% of the donations go directly toward research.
You may recognize Kristin Thorson because she has attended virtually all of the IACFS Conferences. Kristin has worked closely with some of the best known names in our field including Bob Bennett, Jon Russell, our former board members Dan Clauw and Don Uslan, sleep expert Harvey Moldofsky, Dan Wallace, Richard Podell, Dan Peterson, Charles Lapp, and many others. It’s time that we give recognition to this woman who has given so much to us, and especially to patients with FM and CFS.
The International Association for CFS/ME (IACFS/ME) is a non-profit organization of research scientists, physicians, licensed medical healthcare professionals, and other individuals and institutions interested in promoting the stimulation, coordination, and exchange of ideas for CFS and ME research and patient care as well as periodic reviews of current clinical, research and treatment ideas on CFS/ME for the benefit of CFS/ME patients and others.