Dream, Believe, Lead was the theme chosen for the Class of 2012 Leaders Against Pain Training workshop.
Do you dream of a life free of pain for yourself or a loved one? Do you believe that you deserve a better quality of life? Do you have hope that someone can effectively lead the way when it comes to sharing the needs of the fibromyalgia patient?
Nineteen participants, chosen from across the United States and Mexico for their dedication and passion to helping others, met in Washington, D. C. this past November to become advocates for people with fibromyalgia and chronic pain illnesses. They attended workshop classes designed to teach leadership and media skills and facilitating support groups in their communities.
Realizing that knowledge is the first step toward empowerment, trainees were updated on the barriers and current critical issues facing patients with regard to access to health care, funding for research, political policies, and bills in the pipeline that will affect those for whom they will advocate.
Leaders received tips and tools too develop successful media relationships, practiced interview skills, and crafted legislative “elevator speeches” after which they received constructive feedback for personalizing their messages for effectiveness.
Being inspired and motivated by the passion of their instructors who personify advocacy as “leadership from the heart,” the participants realized the impact that their advocacy and support group leadership efforts will have. Passionate leadership can affect, not only the lives of people living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain, but also the lives of their families, friends, co-workers and even healthcare providers.
After classes Thursday evening, leaders toured our beautiful national capitol under the night lights with their new friends. On Friday the newly certified Leaders Against Pain were challenged to utilize their recently acquired knowledge, skills, and attitudes in separate meetings with legislative representatives from their individual states.
The LAP Class of 2012 meets regularly keep abreast of the current access to health care issues and discuss action plans to objectively represent the fibromyalgia community. They have committed to share their diverse skills and talents toward projects and events that will contribute to the strength of the Leaders Against Pain Coalition and its mission to communicate a unified message and strong voice for the importance of education, advocacy and research.
Written by Cindy Sharp, Leaders Against Pain Coalition Director