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National Fibromyalgia Association Names First Black Spokespersons


ANAHEIM, Calif.---As the new and first African American spokespersons for the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA), R&B recording artist Tony Terry and his wife, Larondra, are living proof that fibromyalgia is not just a “white, middle age woman’s disease.”

“One of the main reasons my wife, Ronnie and I wanted to get involved with the National Fibromyalgia Association is because we want to help bring national and international awareness of this illness from both a caregiver spouse point of view as well as from an African American point of view,” said Tony Terry who appears with Ronnie on the new issue of Fibromyalgia AWARE magazine, the NFA’s quarterly publication. “And who better to communicate those messages than a husband and his African American wife who is suffering from it?”

The couple’s upcoming national advocacy efforts, which also offer a rare and intimate look at how her diagnosis has affected their marriage and his important role as the caregiver spouse, coincide with three recent studies on fibromyalgia and chronic pain illustrating disturbing effects on spouses, caregivers, as well as Blacks and Hispanics.

“The National Fibromyalgia Association has continually recognized and brought to the forefront that fibromyalgia affects people and caregivers of all races and ethnicities,” said Lynne Matallana, president and founder of the NFA. “We have featured men, children, Asians, African Americans and their caregivers on the cover of our magazine, Fibromyalgia AWARE.

“We hope that there will be further studies that will continue to bring the issues of caregiver spouses of all races, as well as ethnic groups that bear a disproportionate part of these illnesses to the forefront.”

Tony Terry debuts NFA’s new theme song at National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
Tony Terry performed a special concert at National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day last Saturday, May 15 at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). Terry sang the NFA’s new theme song, “Vigil Song,” during the “Lights of Hope” candle-lighting ceremony. National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day was hosted by the NFA and Cal State Fullerton’s Fibromyalgia Research & Education Center.

The studies are as follows:

“Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, and Marriage: A Daily Diary Pilot Study”
Source of Study: University of Missouri
National Council of Family Relations Conference 2009
Findings:
Strong link between fibromyalgia and feelings of depression and fatigue
Diagnosed spouses have considerably higher levels of depression and pain
Diagnosed spouses report more marital instability and anger
Symptoms trigger increased emotional withdrawal and mental strain for both spouses

“Blacks, Hispanics Report More Pain and Disability with Arthritis Than Whites”
Source of Study: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Published in the May 2010 issue of Preventing Chronic Disease
Findings:
Blacks and Hispanics face significantly more pain and disability when diagnosed with rheumatic diseases than whites
Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to get the most severe, systemic forms of arthritis like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis


"Depression Risk for Black Men with Chronic Pain”
Source of Study: University of Michigan
Published, April 2010 Journal of the National Medical Association
Findings:
Black men with chronic pain are more likely to experience depression, affective distress and disability than white men with chronic pain.
Persistent pain black men experienced was more severe and which may lead to greater disability
Previous research by U-M has shown that black women are more severely impacted by chronic pain, and in general minorities have a harder time filling prescriptions for painkillers in their local pharmacies
Black men with chronic pain are in poorer overall health than white men and are at higher risk for not being able to take care of themselves or their families.
Reasons for the worse outcomes among black men vary from their lower marriage rates to engagement in litigation related to their pain

About the National Fibromyalgia Association
The National Fibromyalgia Association is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization headquartered in Anaheim, California whose mission is: To develop and execute programs dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with fibromyalgia. The NFA publishes FM Aware magazine, which recently went digital in 2010. For more information, visit www.fmaware.org



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