Thomas Hennessy, Jr.

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Thomas Michael Hennessy, Jr. (1954-2013) lived with and advocated for myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). He is known for founding the International ME Awareness Day on May 12th, as well as the (now-defunct) advocacy organisation RESCIND.

Life[edit | edit source]

Early Life[edit | edit source]

Thomas was born in Scranton, PA. He grew up first in towns across the Northeast, before moving with his family to Japan at the age of 14. After graduating from St. Mary's International School in Tokyo, Japan and then Fairfield University in Connecticut, Thomas had successful careers in sales and the service industry. [1]

Illness[edit | edit source]

Thomas became ill with ME/CFS in the autumn of 1987, after a severe bout of the flu. [2]

Advocacy[edit | edit source]

RESCIND[edit | edit source]

Rescind, an acronym for Repeal Existing Stereotypes about Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases, was Tom's organization to bring previously unassociated diseases with most unrecognized commonalities under one umbrella. He was the (among the?) first to group CFS/ME with fibromyalgia, Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Gulf War Syndrome and having underlying (possibly the same) physiological issues related to neuro-immune systems.[3]

International ME Awareness Day[edit | edit source]

Tom was the founder of international awareness day for Invisible Illness, May 12th.  In an interview with Cort Johnson (2008) Tom said, “After reading Byron Hyde’s great book on the history of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, I decided to lookup his hero's Birthday, and lo and behold, May 12th was Florence Nightingale’s birthday. (...) I decided that her birthday May 12th would be the day."[4][5]

Death[edit | edit source]

Following a 25-year battle with ME/CFS, Thomas took his own life on September 9th, 2013, in Boca Raton, Florida.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

HHS/CFSAC Testimony[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Myalgic encephalomyelitis or M.E. has different diagnostic criteria to chronic fatigue syndrome; neurological symptoms are required but fatigue is an optional symptom.<ref name="ICP2011primer">{{Citation


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From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history