Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance

FMA-UK-2015-400x160Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMA UK) has the pleasure of announcing that Pam Stewart, Trustee and a former long-standing Chair of the charity, has received an international Distinguished Services Award from the Bone and Joint Decade, a Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health. This is an international Alliance of organisations working in the musculoskeletal conditions field.

Pam received the Award “for promoting the goals of the Bone and Joint Decade and in recognition of distinguished professional excellence and service to colleagues and people affected by musculoskeletal disorders.” Everyone at FMA UK would like to congratulate Pam wholeheartedly; she deserves the award for her outstanding contribution, commitment and achievements in raising awareness about fibromyalgia, and for her advocacy work in the UK and in Europe.

Pam has been working tirelessly, raising awareness in this field for two decades. She has been Chair of FMA UK for over 10 years. Pam stepped down as Chair in July 2015 and has remained an active board member. Prior to her role as chair she was helping the previous chair Bob Stewart, her husband. The passing of her husband, who suffered from fibromyalgia, was a catalyst for Pam to champion the cause nationally and internationally.

Pam has also been a member of the board of European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations for many years, serving in a volunteer capacity first as a Secretary, then as Chair. She recently stepped down from the Chair role and remains an active Board member.

When Pam started over 20 years ago working as a volunteer in raising awareness of fibromyalgia, there were not many people in the UK who worked in this field. Fibromyalgia was a little known condition. Pam has helped to change the dynamic of how fibromyalgia has been perceived in the UK and in Europe. She has dedicated all those years to raise awareness of fibromyalgia in the UK and in Europe, and further afield, becoming a stalwart figure recognised internationally for giving persistent and continuous voice to those who were unheard – those people affected by fibromyalgia.

Pam has been working as a volunteer giving countless hours, week after week, year after year, to raise the profile of fibromyalgia and she has achieved it. She attended various UK, and international medical conferences, parliamentary meetings, events; she has met supporters, patients, their families and carers, local decision makers and many others, all the time delivering a consistent message: that fibromyalgia is very common; that patients and their families need appropriate diagnosis, treatment and care; that organisations and medical professionals need to work together; that politicians need to listen to the patients; and that everyone involved needs to keep raising those issues.

When we look at how fibromyalgia awareness is today, it is in a completely different level of awareness than it was; there are fibromyalgia support groups in all parts of the country, patients feel empowered, healthcare professionals are involved, the public and politicians are engaged. There is still a lot of work to be done and FMA UK is committed to fighting the cause, but it would be right to say that a lot of this has been achieved only because of Pam’s dedication, persistence, preservation and encouragement.

Pam has been a catalyst for positive changes in fibromyalgia awareness in the UK and across Europe and her work deserves recognition. She is an example of a heroic struggle to make the lives of millions of people suffering from fibromyalgia better, healthier and their voice to be heard by politicians, the medical sector and the society. We believe that others should hear about Pam’s work.

The Board of FMA UK would like to add their thanks to Pam, to honour her achievements, and would like to reaffirm the will to continue Pam’s work to fight for better care and better lives of people living with fibromyalgia.

Pam Stewart said: “It is a great honour to be recognised as having an impact on the awareness of Musculoskeletal Diseases and Fibromyalgia in particular.  With the help of so many people I have been able to represent FMA UK at national and international level and so raise the profile of fibromyalgia alongside other MSDs.  I could not do this without the support of the trustees and all the other volunteers who make FMA UK a successful organisation.  Some of you I know well but there are many I have not met or spoken to who give your support in so many ways to so many people who are in so much need.  So I take this opportunity to thank you all.”

“The Bone and Joint Decade doesn’t sounds as if it should represent people with fibromyalgia but I am assured it does and they are considering a name change!  At their meetings it is inspiring to hear how other countries are coping with the difficulties long term illness brings and also how advanced we are in comparison.  One project was about bringing sitting toilets to every community.  Can you imagine having to squat and get up again even on a good day!”

“Of course the award does not mean we can be complacent; there is still a long way to go before we have the treatment for fibromyalgia that is needed.  I certainly will not be giving up and I know everyone involved with FMA UK is determined that things will get better for everyone with FM and therefore all those around them.”

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