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History from 1995 - 1999

Black Hills CFS/FMS Support Group was founded in January 1995 by Stephanie Wettestad, Tyke Secrest, , and Alice James.  Affiliated with Rapid City Regional Hospital, the group is sponsored by Dr. Cynthia Weaver.

Approximately 60 people attended our first meeting.

Support group brochures and logo were designed by Elaine Dodson and Alice James.

Established a lending library and a database for membership (maintained by Elaine Dodson).

The first newsletter was sent out to 80 people.

Joined several CFS and FMS national organizations and the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Health and Human Services Committee.

In 1995, three support group members, Donna Martin, Pat Howard and Deb Brandt, were certified to teach the Arthritis Foundation's "The Fibromyalgia Self-Help Course."  Later Donna and Deb were certified to train others to teach the class.

CFS/FMS Family Members/Loved Ones Support Group was formed in January 1996. The group meets sporadically.

"Hope and Help: Living with CFS/FMS", our first CFS/FMS Health Fair/Information Exchange Fair, was held in April 1996 with over 150 attending.

In 1996, Harold Deurloo was appointed to represent Black Hills CFS/FMS Support Group on the Black Hills Arthritis Association's Board of Directors.

In January 1997, the Hot Line/Pen Pal list and the E-mail PenPal list were established.

In 1997, Alice James, Support Group Leader, received the "Wind Beneath Our Wings" outstanding performance award (sponsored by the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce’s Health and Human Services Committee) for outstanding work with the Black Hills CFS/FMS Support Group.

In 1998, Black Hills CFS/FMS Support Group received 501c(3) tax exempt status from the IRS and Articles of Incorporation for Non-Profit Status by the Secretary of State of South Dakota.

Connie Pich and Black Hills CFS/FMS Support Group received national recognition through an article, entitled "Educating South Dakota about CFIDS and Fibromyalgia," published in the CFIDS Association of America's magazine, The CFIDS Chronicle (March/April 1998 issue).

In October 1998, Black Hills CFS/FMS Support Group sponsored a successful "CFS/FMS Mini-Health Fair" with 200 attending.

In January 1999, the support group participated in the 28th Medical Group's Women's Health Fair and Conference at Ellsworth AFB

In March 1999, the support group received its first memorial donation in memory of a loved one.

Average attendance at monthly support group meetings remains between 25-30.

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