Working Towards a Better Tomorrow
The Fibromyalgia Association of Michigan was born out of the Fibromyalgia Support & Education Group at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital that was founded by Sharon Waldrop in November 1997. Sharon Waldrop was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1996. She was trained by the Arthritis Foundation, Michigan Chapter, to start and lead the Support & Education Group. "When I was diagnosed, there was very little information available on fibromyalgia," said Waldrop. "Thanks to finding good resources, I was able to get my life back. I wanted to help others to do the same."
People diagnosed with fibromyalgia and related chronic pain often feel alone according to a recent survey by the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association. The goal of FAM is to provide an organization so people are not alone and connect them to the best resources as soon as possible. Members receive free monthly E-newsletters and real-time news and updates on Facebook and Twitter.
About Sharon Waldrop (President & Founder, FAM Support Group Leader)
Sharon Waldrop is the founder and president of the Fibromyalgia Association of Michigan (FAM) and Vice President of Education for the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA). FAM grew out of the Fibromyalgia Support & Education Group that Waldrop founded at St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital in Warren, Michigan. Diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1996 (and a variety of other conditions including TMJ, endometriosis and vulvadynia), Waldrop founded the support group in 1997 under the guidance of the Arthritis Foundation. In 2003 she incorporated the group into the non-profit volunteer-run organization FAM. Waldrop is an advisor and founding member of the NFMCPA’s Leaders Against Pain Action Network, a network of advocates across the country who work to represent chronic pain patients on legislative issues, access to healthcare issues, and increasing awareness to reduce the stigmatization people with chronic pain illnesses endure.
She was a fibromyalgia patient representative for OMERACT (OMERACT is an international network aimed at improving outcome measurement in rheumatology), she serves as a patient representative for Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI funds research to help patients make informed healthcare decisions) in Washington DC, she is a Fibromyalgia Reviewer for the Cochrane Collaboration (Cochrane gathers and summarizes evidence from research to help people make better healthcare decisions), and she has a B.A. in Communications/Public Relations with a public relations/ marketing career spanning over 20 years.