Online Fibromyalgia Community FIBROM-L Wins LISTSERV® Choice Award
L-Soft's Award Program – the Only Global Recognition for Email List Excellence – Honors Discussion List for Sufferers of Painful Health Problem
Bethesda, MD (September 20, 2005) – L-Soft, a leading provider of email list management software since 1994, announced today that FIBROM-L has won the LISTSERV Discussion Award in this year's LISTSERV Choice Awards program. Comprising 1,023 people living with fibromyalgia, FIBROM-L uses LISTSERV to provide a vital lifeline to information, support and community for people living with this complex and frequently misunderstood illness, which causes chronic pain and fatigue in addition to neurological, muscular and skeletal problems.
"Our mission is to provide hope, support and answers to all who join us. Fibromyalgia and the related disorders of Chronic Fatigue and Chronic Myofascial Pain can be insidious diseases, stripping a person of their self-esteem, their friends and family and their 'old life' – the active confident person that used to be is now replaced by a person that deals with constant unrelenting pain, fatigue and a host of other maladies. FIBROM-L and its members constantly step up to the plate and make a new member feel welcomed, and most importantly understood," said Audrey Liebl, FIBROM-L list owner and co-facilitator, who lives in Springfield, Massachusetts. The email list is hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"Our jury was touched by FIBROM-L's activity in supporting a group of people facing a debilitating and often misdiagnosed condition. FIBROM-L has created an outstanding community through the sound use of email list technology, and I'm pleased to reward this work and dedication with the LISTSERV Choice Discussion Award," said Eric Thomas, L-Soft CEO and founder and creator of LISTSERV, the product that launched the email list management industry in 1986.
Liebl noted that FIBROM-L's LISTSERV list provides warm welcome messages for new subscribers, straightforward instructions and tips for subscribers, message digests and a Website in an effort to make the list as user-friendly as possible. Many FIBROM-L subscribers consider the email list a key part of their daily lives. Cindy Birdwise-LeCocq – who has suffered from symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic myofascial pain since 1981 – found FIBROM-L shortly after her definitive diagnosis in 2003. Living with her husband and two children in the rural community of Whitehorse, in Canada's remote Yukon Territory, Birdwise-LeCocq faces geographic in addition to physical barriers caused by her illness, including being bedridden most of the time and only being able to go out with the assistance of a wheelchair.
"This is a very isolating disease, and FIBROM-L's LISTSERV list is like a lifeline. You can write into it and 99.9 percent of the time, within an hour, you will have someone write back giving you support," Birdwise-LeCocq said. "It was such a relief to find the email list and learn that there were people like me throughout the world. The friendship and caring has carried me through a lot of tough times."
An online support group, FIBROM-L has even aided fibromyalgia sufferers who were close to suicide. "We helped two people who each wrote a note to the list saying they feel like ending their lives. As soon as the co-facilitators and list members saw that, we went into high gear and called for help so that the authorities could do a welfare check to see if the people were okay," Liebl said. She added that these calls resulted in the two individuals ended up getting treatment that they needed and coming back to the list and thanking everyone. "If it hadn't been for their sending out that email, no one would have known. We helped save a couple of lives."
FIBROM-L's subscribers are primarily in North America as well as in Europe and Australia. "I'd really like to see us spread out to more of a global entity. We'd like to get more bi-lingual co-facilitators and encourage people to use translation tools as we grow and set up different sub-lists," Liebl said. "Without the lists and the software, we wouldn't be able to do what we do for so many people."
The LISTSERV Discussion Award is the first to be announced in this year's LISTSERV Choice Awards competition, the only worldwide recognition program for outstanding email list communication. Originally launched in 2004 to celebrate L-Soft's 10th anniversary, the LISTSERV Choice Awards program for 2005-2006 features four nomination categories: Discussion, Newsletter, Announcement and Innovation.
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L-Soft, which was incorporated in 1994, offers email list and opt-in email marketing software and outsourcing services for managing email newsletters, discussion groups and marketing campaigns. Recognized in 2004 as one of Maryland's top 50 fastest growing technology companies by Deloitte & Touche, L-Soft's products deliver about 30 million messages a day to more than 110 million list subscriptions.
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