A woman from Chesterfield has started a petition to get fibromyalgia, a long-term chronic pain condition, recognised as a disability.
Adrienne Lakin, whose mother and three sisters also suffer from the condition, started the Change.org petition, which is aiming for 15,000 signatures.
It’s been live for two weeks and with the current tally over 12,500 it’s well on the way to reaching its target.
— Leeann Lakin (@Leebee2202) February 26, 2017
What is Fibromyalgia?
According to the NHS Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a medical condition characterised by chronic widespread pain and heightened pain response to pressure.
The exact cause of Fibromyalgia is not known but its thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system processes pain messages carried around the body.
In many cases the condition is triggered by a traumatic event, such as an injury, giving birth, an operation and the breakdown of a relationship.
Women are seven times more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men and some estimates suggest 1 in 20 people may be affected to some degree.
What is its current status?
Fibromyalgia is classed as a disability in the US, Australia and even Northern Ireland whose health service is separate from the NHS.
In England fibromyalgia is currently considered an ‘impairment’ which means sufferers are afforded a lesser quality of care than those with accepted disabilities.
This is because the severity of pain experienced by sufferers fluctuates from person to person.
Adrienne disputes this, however, and says it leaves those like herself, her mother and her sisters, who all experience frequently debilitating pains, without the treatment they need and deserve.
“It’s taken away the person I was before it got this bad”
Adrienne says the pain flares up constantly and prevents her from performing even the simplest everyday tasks:
“Trying to get out of bed in the morning with every part of your body hurting and pins and needles and feeling lie you’re getting ripped apart. I can’t do a lot every day because otherwise I end up exhausted.”
Adrienne also struggles with depression and anxiety, part and parcel of the condition, and has trouble remembering things – a side-effect dubbed ‘fibro-fog’.
Support groups receive no funding
Adrienne met with Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins to discuss getting the issue into parliament and was pleased with his response.
“I think it went very well. He listened to everything that I had to say and put forward,” Adrienne said in a video posted to her dedicated site.
She advised him that more assistance was needed in communities, with the Chesterfield support group and similar groups receiving no government funding, and said Mr. Perkins committed to bringing the issue to the attention of the Department of Work and Pensions.
She’s also received support from a parliament commissioner who’s wife suffers from the condition and the Fibromyalgia Association UK.
“We need to continue to stand up as fibro-fighters, as warriors”
Adrienne is delighted by the response the petition has received but admits there’s still a way to go before the issue can be put to MPs in the Commons.
15,000 signatures is sure to increase awareness for the cause but 100,000 are needed to take it to parliament. Adrienne is grateful for the support and says she’ll keep fighting to get her disability recognised.
“All I can say is thank you to everyone who’s joined this cause so far, for not just myself but for all the other fibro-fighters as well.”