For two hours on the second Tuesday of each month, the basement “community library” at an apartment building in Coney Island’s Luna Park neighborhood becomes the headquarters of the New York Fibromyalgia Association. It’s a small space, occupied by bookshelves lined with novels written in Russian, but it serves the purpose.
Fibromyalgia sufferer Kris Corleone founded the organization in September of 2010. The group’s members range in age and race, but with the exception of one very supportive husband, are all women. Attendance fluctuates monthly; sometimes there are 10 people, other times only two, but that hasn’t slowed Corleone down.
“It’s keeping my brain active and I think that probably helps the other girls, too, in the group,” says Corleone, of Luna Park. “We’re hoping to have some men in the group soon. It’s been challenging and I love a challenge.”
Corleone tries to bring in an expert each month to share new information about treatments and studies with the members. She successfully lobbied Public Advocate Bill de Blasio to officially make May 12 in New York City Fibromyalgia Awareness Day but lobbied less successfully to have the Empire State Building turn its lights purple, fibromyalgia’s “official color,” on the same day. She plans to try again next year.
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