December 2004

 Vol. II, Issue #13

CFS Blue Ribbon          Bergen CFS Support Group Newsletter


Meeting Report

The meeting was held on Sunday December 19th.  This was an informal gathering to celebrate the holidays – whichever holiday one celebrates.  It was a smaller group than we have seen recently, but the number gave those in attendance an opportunity to get to know one another and to share some coping skills.  The food on the sharing table was incredible.  A catering service could not have provided a tastier or more eye-appealing selection.


Literature Review


This article may be of interest to some of you.  It is from

12-01-2004 Unum-Provident Corp. Accepts Multi-Million Dollar Settlement
Nov. 18, 2004, Unum-Provident Corp., the nation’s largest disability carrier with 25 percent of the market nationwide, settled a multi-state investigation into claim denials. Unum will pay $15 million in fines and will be forced to re-examine 200,000 denied claims as part of the settlement. Attorneys general representing numerous states uncovered a corporate environment at Unum that encouraged looking “for every technical legal way to avoid paying a claim.”

Persons with CFIDS (PWCs) may represent a sizable group within those improperly denied benefits. The investigation found that Unum relied solely on their in-house physicians and often failed to consider both physical and psychological conditions in determining whether to deny or terminate benefits. Scores of PWCs have reported these problems in their dealings with Unum and other insurers now owned by Unum.

We’ve covered some of these stories in the CFIDS Chronicle over the years. Unum insures 25 million people, through individual and group policies written by: Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, the Paul Revere Life Insurance Co., the Provident Life and Casualty Insurance Co., Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., and the First Unum Life Insurance Co.

If you have been denied benefits under a Unum-held policy, contact your disability attorney or visit  for details about the reconsideration process. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives provides a network of attorneys specializing in disability law. You can reach their referral service at 800-431-2804.                                                                        

CFS Awareness Day    

May 12, 2005 is the annual CFS/FM Awareness Day.  It is also International ME/CFS Awareness Day.  There is currently a campaign underway to increase awareness through letter writing.  These letters are to be sent out on May 1st so that all letters will arrived very close to May 12th.  The recipients should include the First Lady, ABC News, Fox News, CBS News, Montel Williams (who has MS), and anyone else you wish to include.

This is being called the Million Letter Campaign.  In next month’s issue we will give you more details and all the addresses.  What you can do now is start to work on your letter. While most of us could write a book about our illness, we are being asked to keep it to one page. 

Your letter should include:                                                                                                         1) Your occupation and achievements before you became ill  

2) The date of onset and what you think might have been the cause

3) Your symptoms  

4)  How the illness has affected your career, finances, relationships, and family 

5)  What is being sought (You may include these or your own concerns).

Recognition for the illness,

            For doctors and lawyers to take the disease seriously in disability cases

            Understanding from family and friends 

            Research money toward a cure

            Media coverage

Points to Ponder


Monday, January 10, 2005 (9am - 5pm): The Federal CFS Advisory Committee will hold its first meeting of 2005 on January 10 in Washington, D.C. There will be a special focus on youth with CFIDS at this meeting, and several guests with expertise or personal experience in this area have been invited to participate by committee chairman Dr. David Bell. The agenda also includes health agency updates and public testimony. The meeting will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. at the Department of Health and Human Services, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 800, Washington, DC 20201. It is open to the public. The official meeting notice contains details of the agenda and how to register to present testimony. For further information, see the Committee's website or call 202-690-7694.


Follow Up  

This info came from

Advocates Respond
CFIDS advocates have used the Association’s
Grassroots Action Center to send more than 12,000 letters to Congress, federal health officials and writers, editors and producers.

An Action Alert! sent out on Nov. 19 asked advocates to contact Fox network affiliates about a new TV medical drama, House. The show included a segment about CFIDS/FM that reinforced negative stereotypes. Within three days, nearly 1,000 letters were sent by advocates in response.

The power of the internet and the passion of CFIDS advocates create a potent force. To learn more, click on the Capitol building icon on the Association’s home page (   There you’ll find numerous Action Alerts! and sample letters to facilitate your responses. Sign up for the listserv and be among the first to learn of timely opportunities to take action.


Next Meeting


The next scheduled meeting is January 16th from 2-4 PM at Pascack Valley Hospital.    

Our guest presenter will be Ken Andes, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist,

demonstrating Tai Chi exercises that can be done while sitting.  We are pleased that

Ken has agreed to make this return visit to our meeting.  Please remember that our

meetings are fragrance free and smoke free.


Happy New Year


This newsletter is intended for CFS patients in the area of this support group.  The purpose is to share information and support.  If you have questions about meetings please contact Group Leader Anne at or  Subscription problems: Nancy Visocki at Editor: Pat LaRosa at