After 17 years of being disabled from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Rich Carson, founder of the Santa Barbara, California-based company ProHealth, returns to the public eye in a $4 million national public awareness campaign to be launched on June 7.
Carson, 49, is one of 8 CFS patients and 2 physicians and researchers photographed for the traveling photo exhibit, "The Faces of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" taken by renowned celebrity photographer George Lange.
It is the first national CFS awareness campaign in the history of the illness.
An estimated 1 million people in America suffer from CFS, which is three times as common in women as men. Carson is the sole adult male patient photographed for the campaign.
The campaign includes a press launch at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., media tours, full-page color print ads in national magazines, TV and radio Public Service Announcements and a traveling CFS photography exhibit. It is designed to educate Americans about who is at risk for CFS, the symptoms of the illness, treatment and management options, the importance of seeking diagnosis and treatment, and the impact of the illness on both patients and family members.
The campaign is being funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with The CFIDS Association of America selected as the contractor to implement the campaign.
Kimberly McCleary, president and CEO of the CFIDS Association of American says that Carson, in combination with his long-time advocacy work for CFS, represents an important and often overlooked group of patients - men with CFS.: " While CFS is sometimes referred to as a "woman's disease,' it's crucial for the public to know that it affects kids and men, too. For nearly two decades, Rich Carson has been a beacon of hope to many. His close work with researchers and benefactors has led to important discoveries about CFS, and through ProHealth, he has created a source of invaluable information and supportive therapy for patients and caregivers. We're delighted that Rich's dashing image and compelling story will help illustrate this fact."
Rich Carson, through ProHealth, is also the largest single fundraiser for CFIDS research (over $2.5 million to date). For the past several years, Carson had taken a background role in the day-to-day operations of the company, focusing his time instead on patient advocacy and fundraising for CFS and Fibromyalgia.
Carson has recently returned to the helm of ProHealth, the company he founded in 1988 (www.ProHealth.com) that provides a comprehensive resource of support, education and high quality, hard to find nutritional supplement solutions for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.
"I am very energized and excited by the continuing growth and success of ProHealth, and with the partnerships we have with organizations that provide research for CFS , Fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases," says Carson . "I love working with a company whose products-and profits-help make a difference in the lives of others. "
For more information on ProHealth, visit their website: www.ProHealth.com or call 805-564-3064 .
In 1981, at age 23, Rich Carson was the top sales person at Cox Cable TV in Santa Barbara, CA , holding every established sales record. Then one day in August that same year, he woke up with severe flu-like symptoms. Carson went to a specialist who ran tests for strep throat and mononucleosis, but the results for both tests were negative.
Formerly a long-distance runner, Carson began "wasting away," and was forced to quit his job and move in with his parents. His memory suffered, as did his cognitive functioning abilities. Sometime later, while still feeling extremely ill, Carson spoke with an internist who informed him that he may be suffering from either a chronic cytomegalovirus or a chronic Epstein-Barr virus infection.
Pointed in the right direction, Carson telephoned every researcher he could find to investigate his illness, which has since come to be known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
By 1986, Carson was spending two or three hours a day on the telephone with CFS patients and researchers, and started one of the first and largest CFS support groups in the country. Rich's determination to help CFS patients soon lead to the creation of ProHealth, Inc. Although he still suffers from occasional relapses of symptoms, Carson attributes his "recovery" to the natural vitamins and supplements which became the genesis for ProHealth.
Founded in 1988 by Rich Carson, ProHealth (www.ProHealth.com) provides a comprehensive resource of support, education and high quality nutritional supplement solutions for people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. ProHealth publishes a monthly health resource catalog and hosts www.ImmuneSupport.com, the largest patient forum and information exchange site on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia in the world.
Known for its motto, "commerce with compassion," ProHealth to date has raised and donated over $2.5 million to organizations dedicated to researching CFS and FM and finding effective treatments. Under the direction of its founder, Rich Carson, ProHealth has become the world's leading fundraiser for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.