September 12, 2008
NFA Hosts Fourth Annual International Leaders Against Pain Seminar
The National Fibromyalgia Association hosted its Fourth Annual International Leaders Against Pain (ILAP): Media, Leadership and Advocacy training seminar August 10-14, 2008 at the Airlie Conference Center in Warrenton, Virginia, located 45 miles south of Washington, DC.
The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) partnered with co-sponsors Eli Lilly and Pfizer Inc. and support sponsors Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Forest Laboratories, Inc., Purdue Pharma and ALCIS to host 65 scholarship winners from around the world. The scholarship winners were chosen from more than 165 applicants and included 45 support group leaders and patient advocates, representing 19 U.S. states and 20 international leaders from the countries of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Sweden.
“ILAP was an opportunity for the participants—some of them new to the program, and some of them who have attended before—to come together at this historic site to develop friendships and learn from each other,” says Lynne Matallana, president and founder of the NFA. “It was also an opportunity to discuss ways that we can collaborate to better serve the fibromyalgia community.”
The 2008 ILAP seminar featured special guest speaker and NFA spokesperson Frances Winfield Bremer, who shared her struggles to live with fibromyalgia as an ambassador’s wife, a mother, grandmother and author. (Mrs Bremer’s husband, who accompanied her to the event, is the former Ambassador to Iraq L. Paul Bremer, III.) The program also included daily workshops taught by leading national and international experts in the fields of fibromyalgia research, public and media relations, advocacy and public speaking.
Among the highlights of the event was the announcement of the formation and the development of the Leaders Against Pain Coalition’s Executive Committee, which held its first official meeting just hours before the kick-off reception on Sunday evening. The LAP Coalition Executive Committee is comprised of co-chairs Michael D. Peterman, CPCU, RPLU, a patient advocate and business professional, and Sharon Waldrop, director of the Fibromyalgia Association of Michigan, as well as committee members Northern Utah Fibromyalgia Connection leader Janet Chambers, Wisconsin support group leader Thomas Hintz, California patient advocate Lynn Roller and North Orange County Fibromyalgia Support Group leader Phyllis Talarico. Co-chairs Peterman and Waldrop have been working together and with NFA leadership over the past year to plan for this meeting. Many scholarship winners stated an interest in joining the coalition during the conference, and the executive committee members committed to continue working on the development of the coalition’s structure.
“We are honored to provide inspiration, information and instruction to these scholarship winners, and to bring together these committed leaders to help impact how fibromyalgia is perceived worldwide,” says Matallana.
ABOUT THE NFA
The National Fibromyalgia Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to develop and execute programs dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with fibromyalgia by increasing the awareness of the public, media, government and medical communities. The NFA publishes a quarterly magazine, Fibromyalgia AWARE and hosts an award-winning website at http://www.FMaware.org