I had to put this article here to applaud Brianna for what she is doing.
School projects abound, but I was intrigued by this one that Berlin resident Brianna Tulin has undertaken. It appears to have taken on a life of its own and gotten attention from a national organization.Brianna's mother has been afflicted with fibromyalgia for many years and this winter she decided to spread the word about the syndrome. She set up a display in the lobby of her school, the Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford, on fibromyalgia. When she and her father, Jay, asked state Sen. Donald DeFronzo if there was something the state could do he promised to introduce a bill to the legislature designating May 12 as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. That bill is pending in the legislature, here's a link to a page where you can track its progress and Brianna said she plans on testifying at an upcoming hearing on the bill. Here she is with her father outside their home the other day.Her efforts caught the attention of the National Fibromyalgia Association. The group highlights efforts its members make to spread awareness of fibromyalgia and it has done this with Brianna. Here's a link to what they've done."I had no idea I would be noticed by anyone," Brianna said about the attention her project has received. "I was shocked but pleased."Sandy Bennett, a spokeswoman for the NFA, said she learned of Brianna's efforts because they contacted another association staffer who deals with advocacy issues. Bennett said she was particularly impressed by Brianna's youth. "She has done all of this while dealing with the challenges of growing up with a sick parent," Bennett said about Brianna in an email to me.Brianna said her mother was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1990 and suffers from other health problems as well. These have rendered her bedridden for the past couple of years. Brianna said the project was done for a school assignment. Part of the program at Solomon Schechter calls for students to do what is called in Hebrew a "mitzva," which Brianna said can be translated into English as either a good deed or something commanded by God.She said the project must be something that raises people's awareness about something or solicits their help dealing with a problem, like making donations. Brianna said she thinks awareness of fibromyalgia is limited and chose to do something on her mother's disease because of that. "It's pretty plain but it has everything you need to know," Brianna said about her display at school.She said many people she knows, including fellow students, knew little or nothing about the disease. "People think fibromyalgia is just some random disease that was made up," Brianna said.