Trifecta in Knoxville, Tennessee
In an example of Knoxville leading the way for Tennessee, Mayor Madeline Rogero and the Knoxville City Council have provided an ME/CFS Proclamation and Resolution in honor of May 12th, International ME/CFS Awareness Day. Supporting the global movement of lighting bridges and buildings in the ME blue awareness color, Knoxville’s Henley Street bridge was also lit in blue!
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention” — the words of Mayor Rogero, on May 12, 2017, after she read the ME/CFS Mayoral Proclamation to a distinguished group of friends, supporters, and advocates.
Earlier in the week, Knoxville Councilman Finbarr Saunders sponsored and read the ME/CFS City Resolution at the City Council meeting. Cindy Siegel Shepler of Knoxville, the ME patient-advocate that led the way for this advocacy, was asked to speak at the City Council meeting. She spoke passionately and emotionally about her concern for young people with ME —— wanting them to have the care and hope that doctors had denied her in her youth. She spoke about her despair when hearing that young people are still being told that this is in their heads. Hearing of young patients on feeding tubes, in dark rooms, unable to speak — she felt compelled to speak out.
Cindy shared that Mayor Rogero publicly thanked her for bringing this to their attention, while looking her right in the eyes with tremendous sincerity. Cindy’s reaction was, “Isn’t that what every elected official should say about a health crisis like this? It really is amazing that they don’t!” Cindy told the Mayor and City Council that these important actions make Knoxville shine globally and how grateful millions of missing people would be. Join us in congratulating Cindy and all the people of Knoxville for taking this important step forward to open the door in Tennessee!
This trifecta of awareness and support from Knoxville is much appreciated and brings hope to the many Tennesseans living with ME. We see it as a very important step towards change. We look forward to working with city and state officials across Tennessee and our nation to create the much-needed change in the perception, treatment, and research of ME. It is up to us, fellow ME advocates, to step in and help propel this awareness into change.
Thank you to those in the Knoxville community that came together to share the Mayoral Proclamation!
Featured Photo: Henley Street Bridge lit blue for ME awareness courtesy of WBIR