Tom Hennessy – Originator of May 12 Awareness Day – Passes Away
Thomas Michael Hennessy, Jr. passed away on September 9, 2013 in Boca Raton, Florida, following a 25-year battle with ME/CFS. He was a vocal and passionate advocate for people with chronic immunological and neurological diseases including, ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, Lyme’s disease and Gulf War Syndrome.
Tom will probably be best remembered as the man who originally (21 years ago) designated May 12 as International Awareness Day for Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and other neuroendrocine immune diseases. He also founded the advocacy organization R.E.S.C.I.N.D. – Repeal Existing Stereotypes for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Disorders. (R.E.S.C.I.N.D. is no longer online)
All of us who have fibromyalgia or ME/CFS owe Tom Hennessy a debt of gratitude. Awareness of these disorders has come a long way in the past two decades, but it was Tom who got the ball rolling and gave us a voice.
If you would like to know more about Tom and his advocacy efforts, see Cort Johnson's excellent interview with him: Fierce Advocacy: International Awareness Day Founder, Tom Hennessy Talks (May 2008)
You can also read a touching tribute to Tom by Celeste Cooper, who knew him personally: The Legacy of Thomas Hennessy, Jr. – Tribute to an Advocate