About The Network
The Fibromyalgia Support Network of Western Australia was formed in Perth by Dr Kaye Brand, Physiotherapist. Kaye was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in the mid 90's, finding no support and little understanding of the challenges facing those with this diagnosis. She studied overseas, including a scholarship to the USA on Advocacy Training for Fibromyalgia sufferers. In 2007 Kaye founded the Fibromyalgia Support Network WA along with Sian Doughty, the earliest member. The Network became incorporated in 2011 and was granted a Charitable Collectors License.
In 2012 the committe had a big turnover for various reasons and Sascha Gardner was elected as President and Stuart Woods as Vice President, after which the Network Committee slowly developed a strategic plan. Grants were obtained from ConnectGroups for equipment allowing us to record presentations. Lotterywest then came on board with the finance to build a website, and to purchase IT equipment, making us more organised and able to reach out to more people.
There have been many changes in Committee membership since 2012, and at the 2016 AGM, Stuart Woods retired due to ill-health, and Susan Ormrod took over the position of President. The network is run solely by volunteers most of which have Fibromyalgia. The current Committee is strong and hard-working and we look forward to a bright future together.
Currently there are twenty Coffee Catch-ups all over the metropolitan and country areas, allowing members to meet and make friends. The monthly Educational Forums continue at the South Perth Library, non-stop since 2008. The newsletter is now published four times a year. The High Tea is now a tradition, having been held annually for the past five years, again giving members an opportunity to meet in a celebratory environment. Our latest venture is that of Roadshows, "Fibromyalgia, What Is It, and How Do You Live With It?" to country towns, in an effort to spread the word and awareness.
There is a busy FaceBook page with constant 24-hour traffic, discussing symptoms and medics and offering support to one another. The HBF Fun Run for a Reason, held annually in May, continues to be our main fund-raiser, and finding healthy people to take part in our name is an ongoing project.
The Committee continue to develop the Network in line with our strategic plan and goals for the future. We are consolidating what has been achieved so far and ensuring that the organisation is strong, whilst continuing to grow and spread awareness.
Why a tortoise, you ask?
You must have heard the story of the tortoise and the hare… Once upon a time a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Then seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race.
He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise, plodding on, overtook him and soon finished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ. The hare woke up and realised that he'd lost the race. The moral of the story is that slow and steady wins the race.
Now you know why we have chosen the tortoise as our logo! Our tortoise represents strength, endurance and protection. The Fibromyalgia Tortoise is moving forward with a smile, with power in the hind legs and with a sense of purpose.