Well what a week it was last week (or the week before now)! For those that don't know the 11th - 17th of May was M.E awareness week. A week that saw a patient group use up all their feelings of anger, neglect, injustice as well as their hope for a better and healthier future to raise as much awareness of this dreadful illness as they possibly could. And boy what a fight we put up! As a patient group we know that there are very few people on our side, thanks to decades of misrepresentation in the media and a lack of interest by the medical world. How can it be that an illness that in it's severest form can leave patients extremely disabled and dependent or even fatal gets so little recognition? That millions of sufferers are just left to suffer. Therefore when it comes to awareness week those of us that can, put as much effort as we possibly can into raising awareness and fighting for our cause. So in celebration of all this awareness I wanted to write a post with an overview of some of the campaigns, awareness videos and blogs that played a huge role in getting this illness more awareness during awareness week.
The Princesses and M.E/ Team Princess
Obviously I'm a little biased about this one, because in case you didn't know it's one I organize, supported by a great team of princesses that all want to do their best for the cause. After the success of last years event, Team Princess were back this year. Raising awareness by dressing up as Princesses and posting our photos across social media. We also held an auction on May 12th. You can learn more about the event by reading my blog post, here. This year we raised funds for every registered M.E charity in the UK and one in Australia, something we feel proud to have achieved. Our current total is just shy of £6000. You can see more on our Facebook page.
1 weekend 2 perceptions
Here on my blog myself and my friend Ali from All about M.E, wrote colab blog posts about our recent meet up. Both documenting how we experienced the weekend and how much of an effect it had on our symptoms. We wanted to show how M.E can vary from patient to patient and the different triggers that we have. Obviously us being well enough to meet up at all means we're having a 'good' day but from reading about what our bodies and minds are experiencing during this time, you'll soon learn that good really doesn't mean symptom free. You can read my post here and Ali's here. These posts were also a part of Sally's May 12th blog bomb.
Sally Just ME's #May12thblogbomb
This is a campaign for bloggers to unite and bomb social media with M.E awareness related blog posts. Bloggers write their awareness posts to be published on May 12th, M.E awareness day, and Sally brings them all together on her blog and by sharing across social media. This is the second year of the event and again the response was fantastic from bloggers wanting to share their stories in the name of awareness. Also it's a great way to discover new blogs to read and perhaps develop further friendships. You can see an inventory of all the posts that were a part of the blog bomb here.
Laura and Michael's blogathon
Staying on the blog theme Laura and Michael of lauramichaelandme.blogspot.com are blogging every day throughout awareness month. This is a big undertaking as one blog post alone can take weeks and a lot of effort to write. I'm really glad they are getting a great response. They are also raising money through justgiving for Invest in ME, which you can donate to here. They are also celebrating 2 years of blogging. Read all their posts here.
Meg Says and Hayley- Eszti's M.E awareness video
Meg and Hayley are two sufferers that try as much as they can to advocate for M.E and to speak out on behalf of those that are simply too ill to raise awareness themselves. Youtube is fast becoming a great new way for sufferers to raise awareness and to educate a whole different audience of people that may never have heard of the illness before. Or if they have then they might only have heard the negative things. Meg has a beauty/ lifestyle youtube channel called Meg Says and I believe that in putting an awareness video on this channel allows her and Hayley to really target those who know nothing about the illness and bring it to their attention. I think one of the scariest things when you are first diagnosed is not having known about it in the first place. The more the illness can be talked about and bought to a wider audience the better. You can watch the video here.
M.E awareness video by Leanne, Holly, Natalie, Bridget and Holly Michelle
Another chatty style awareness video made by 5 sufferers talking about the real side of M.E. What it's really like. What it means to have M.E and what that feels like. As well as an overview of how it's diagnosed, a list of symptoms and the few treatments that are currently available. There's also a section on the things people say to M.E sufferers born out of the widespread ignorance about this illness. I particularly liked how they ended the video by saying " I have M.E but M.E doesn't have me" and how they were now stronger and braver than ever for all that they are facing. Go ladies! That's so true. We are warriors. You can watch the video here.
This was a social media campaign by The Association for young people with ME. It involved posting selfies along with #nowyouseeME to show the faces of M.E and to help make M.E more visable because all too often M.E is only seen behind closed doors. Given we are too sick to open those doors the majority of the time. This could be a good or a bad day selfie. You can also donate to them by texting AYME01 and the amount (£1, £3, £5 etc) to 70070.
Oh Blue Sunday, one of my favourite things about awareness week. Why? Simply because it involves cake. Blue Sunday was founded by my dear friend Anna who writes the blog Me, myself and I and has just celebrated it's 3rd year. Anna wanted to hold a tea party to help raise awareness and to fundraise for the ME Association, however she was aware that by doing so she could be alienating her friends that also suffer with M.E as they would be unable to attend. This is when Anna had the idea of a virtual tea party. Where she could document the events from her tea party but also ask people from all over the world to join in by simply enjoying a drink and a tasty treat, from the comfort of their own homes/beds and posting a photo to social media using #bluesunday. Again uniting sufferers and breaking down the isolation this illness often brings. Those that wished to could also contribute a donation of what they would usually pay for a drink and cake at a coffee morning or cafe to her justgiving page, which you can view here.
Please note that these are just a few of many campaigns. Many people have done sponsored walks, rides, cake sales and dyed their hair blue all in the name of awareness and charity. Of course all this awareness is incredible for our cause but it being so prominent has of course hurt too. Being reminded more than ever of the horrors of this illness and how betrayed we feel. Then of course there's the post exertional malaise that is racking the bodies of those that have campaigned. However it certainly has not all been in vain. Thanks to everyone that campaigned in any way they could, even if it was simply by sharing an article or retweeting a link, more people now know the truth about this illness. An incredible amount of money was raised for M.E charities to help them to continue to offer the vital support they give sufferers. A propotion of the money raised will also go towards research, on trials to discover biomedical evidence that will give us much needed answers, an idea of what treatments will be effective and one day hopefully a cure.
A big huge thank you to everyone that campaigned and supported a campaign.