Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Make way, make way for Team Princess 2016

We're back!! And ready (as we can be) to take on M.E awareness day 2016 (Thursday May 12th) and build on the amazing achievements of the past two years. Team Princess have raised over £10,000 for M.E charities in the UK and Australia through our The Princesses and M.E events. That has gone towards funding biomedical research, drug trials and all the great services these charities offer to help support sufferers and their families. As well as helped to raise awareness for this much misunderstood illness.

Firstly who are Team Princess and what is The Princesses and M.E event?

Team Princess are a group of M.E sufferers and supporters that become Princesses for the day on M.E awareness day to raise awareness and fundraise for M.E charities. Individually each Princess is admirable, courageous, strong and brave. Even though they might not think so themselves. Facing adversity with optimism. As a group we're a sisterhood (including the men) that want the best for one another. Getting each other through the worst days and cheering for them on their achievements.

The Princesses and M.E event is held on May 12th, where members of Team Princess become Princesses and share photos to social media using the hashtags #teamprincess and #theprincessesandME. All in the name of raising awareness and raising money to help give sufferers support and hope. More details on how you can take part this year are below.

When I first had the idea I wanted to not only fundraise and raise awareness but also celebrate some of the fantastic people that I had got to know that shared a diagnosis and soon became friends. People who left me in awe of their determination, their strength, positivity in the face of adversity and their kindness. They were princesses in my eyes.

But I think the word Princess can conjure up images of diva strops (that's the illness not us), of being delicate, fragile and girly. That they are helpless and in need of rescuing, whisked off into the sunset to live a fairytale life. Yes at times we are helpless and feel no one can offer any genuine help, until rescue comes in the shape of a cure or at least effective treatment that allows us to regain a life we can only dream of. But what I see is far from fragile, helpless and hope-less, I see strong people facing adversity with courage and even humour. They're the kind of people that you want to learn from and get to know more. They're Princesses.

This year we want to ensure that that message doesn't get lost. That people don't just look at the photos and think "oh how pretty you look as a Princess." But see the reasons why you are a Princess and that for all you cope with you more than deserve to be a Princess for a day.

So on Thursday May 12th if you wish to join Team Princess and our The Princesses and M.E event what you need to do is:

1) Get in touch and let us know you'd like to take part. Either comment here, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Links to which are at the end of this post.

2) Set up a justgiving or btmydonate if you wish to set up an individual fundraising page. This is not compulsory and because many sufferers are too unwell to set up their own fundraising pages and keep up with them group fundraising pages for a number of charities have already been set up, to make things even easier should you wish to help Team Princess' fundraising campaign. You can simply share the links,(please note not all event pages for btmydonate have been set up yet but will be added as soon as possible). Here are the links (simply click on the page to go to the page):

Justgiving Team Page
Association for Young People with M.E
Action for ME
ME Association
Invest in ME
ME Research UK

BT mydonate
Smile for ME
Hope 4 ME and Fibro Northern Ireland
Tymes Trust

I've included more details about our fundraising campaign below. And a guide on how to set up an individual page is available here

3) On May 12th dress up as a Princess. Dress up as much or as little as you like, or are able too. Over the years we have had full costumes, rewearing of wedding dresses, wearing a gorgeous dress you already have, Kate Middleton fashion inspiration, pyjama princesses or simply wearing a crown/ tiara. And let's not forget our men in their full Princess attire. Remember to put your health first and if you are too unwell to dress up on that date then of course you can choose another date should you wish or prepare your photos in advance. The point is you're a Princess regardless of what you are wearing. It's not a competition. Even if you simply use an app on your phone like snapchat or pic collage to add a crown it will still help make a difference. And any men that wish to take part but don't want to dress up as a Princess then being a Prince is great too.

4) On Thursday May 12th (or another date if you are too unwell) share a photo of yourself as a Princess to social media and use the hashtags #teamprincess and #theprincessesandme Be sure to post to our Facebook page too.

3) Alongside your photos write: "Today is M.E awareness day and to help raise awareness I've joined Team Princess. I'm a Princess because..."

Post about the characteristics you share with well known Princesses. Who if you look beyond the girliness you'll find stories of bravery, courage and fighting for what they believe in. Qualities that show you're strength and even your sense of humour. Here are some examples:

I ride around in a carriage/ noble steed. Also known as my wheelchair.

I'm in search of a fairytale.

 I feel like I could sleep for 100 years.

Just like the Princess and the pea the slightest discomfort means a restless night.

Because I have help to do chores and put on my shoes. Sadly unlike Snow White and Cinderella the animals have not been very cooperative to training.

Like Ariel I can't walk on land and want to be where the people are.

Like Belle you want adventure in the big wide somewhere.

Because I have been locked away from the world but never gave up on hope that one day things will change.

I long for the day a fairy godmother will arrive and tell me there's a cure.

Like Cinders staying out past midnight leaves you worse for wear.

Brainfog means that just like Cinders we're likely to leave things behind.

One of the quotes you try to live by is 'have courage and be kind.'

Because I am brave and face the beast that is M.E each day. And just like Belle as each day passes I am learning to tame the beast and find the beauty that life still has to offer.

Being brave enough to try to change your fate like Merida.

You're a warrior, like Xena or Mulan, but battling against chronic illness.

Like Kate and Diana I champion a cause and campaign for change.

5) End your post with: "Myself and thousands more are desperately hoping for a fairytale, for a magic potion that will help treat and cure this villain of an illness. You can help us achieve that by helping us raise awareness and donating at..."

5) Link to either the teams fundraising pages or your own fundraising page.

And that's all you need to do to be a member of Team Princess. We'll be sure to share your photos across our social media too, to help raise awareness and ensure they reach as wide an audience as possible. If you don't want your photo on a certain social media then please let us know.

Once again this year we want to support the cause as a whole which means supporting and helping as many M.E charities as possible. Here in the UK fundraising pages are set up on justgiving for Action for ME, Invest in ME, ME Association, Association for Young People with ME, reMEmber, ME Research UK and on btmydonate for Smile for ME, Hope 4 ME and Fibro Northern Ireland and Tymes Trust. These will be group pages and be open from April 12th.

 You are also welcome to set up your own fundraising page, should you wish to do so, which can be linked to the overall team page on justgiving so that we can keep track of our overall total. Having your own page will be best if you plan to sell or giveaway items in return for donations. If you plan to do this or hold an auction please let us know in advance as there are rules and regulations that need to be put in place which you will need to be made aware of before setting up your page. Also please note that no online raffles can be held due to licencing laws.

 Princesses that wish to set up their own fundraising pages are free to choose which charity they would like to support. We also ask that you respect individual members of Team Princess' choice of charity if they decide to set up a personal fundraising page and understand that their decision is based on their personal experience with that charity and the way they have helped them to cope with their diagnosis. However by being a member of Team Princess you are also supporting the cause as a whole, promoting unity and wanting to help as many charities that do so much for us.

Princesses in other countries that wish to take part please get in touch and we can look into how we can help charities in your country too. We'd love to reach as many charities as possible to help sufferers worldwide.

We'll also be supporting a lovely organization ran by an M.E sufferer called Spoonie Survival Kits, which sends survival kits to help brighten a sufferer in needs day. Money will be raised for these through auctioning an item for each charity/ organization, which will be held on our Facebook page Dates for this auction are still to be confirmed.

As recently announced Amanda Carroll's beautiful paintings, as seen above, will also be auctioned on our Facebook page on the weekend of 21/22 of May. Amanda wishes to raise money for the ME Association. Full terms and conditions for the auction will be available to view on our Facebook page.

But wait there is even more information and plans! In the spirit of wanting to create a postive atmosphere and celebrate the kind, generous pillars of strength many sufferers are, the ones we see as real princesses who help get us through the worst days, throughout May we're going to be holding giveaways. Where each week you will be able to nominate a friend(s) (that has M.E) that you think is a Princess and share the love by stating the reasons why you think they're such a good friend/ princess. Each nomination will then be entered into a draw to decide the winner.

There will be four giveaways in total; one on our facebook page, one on instagram, one that is eligible for international (outside the UK) entries and one in which we celebrate our wonderful carers who take so much care of us. The first giveaway, which will be on our facebook page, will start on Wednesday April 27th and they'll be drawn every Wednesday. The rules for each giveaway will be clearly stated with each giveaway announcement. It's so exciting to think about making people feel special and to be giving away prizes that will help brighten someones day.

Finally watch out for our promotional posters and please retweet/ repost/ share them to help spread our message and raise as much awareness as possible.

On our social media accounts we'll also be trying to create a positive space. M.E awareness week can be quite tough for sufferers. As much as it's amazing to see M.E being mentioned so much and people using what limited energy they have to help raise awareness, it can also hard to see so many posts on your social media feeds. It can be very in your face, a stark reminder of reality and all the adversity; that life has not gone to plan. Because as sufferers we know full well the suffering and devastation this illness can cause. It's almost like rubbing salt in the wound. As mentioned it's difficult because awareness needs to happen to reach people outside of the community but if you are in that community it can stir up a plethora of emotions. So we want to create a little bit of a sanctuary. A place you can reflect on personal achievements and strengths. How you've learned to keep a smile on your face. And a place to celebrate others achievements and give them the support and kindness they need.

We're very excited about this years campaign and cannot wait to see how much of an impact we can make this year. 

Keep up to date with all things Princess on our social media:
Twitter: @teamprincess4ME
Instagram: @teamprincessofficial

Thank you for reading, and taking the time to learn more about Team Princess.



  1. I will be away on 12th May, hoping to be treated like a Princess whilst my daughter is on a school residential. I hope to be able to make some things for the auction. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help out.

    1. Yes certainly enjoy being treated like a Princess. The auction is only of Amanda's paintings and an item each for spoonie survival kits and 25% group which we're currently in contact with some companies to help with.Terms and conditions and more admin have meant we're keeping it quite small. Thank you for offering, your creations were a great addition to last years one.

    2. Ok I will make some things and sell them myself and take payment on Just Giving so it can be added to your total.

  2. Thank you for all your hard work. You're a true Princess (and Queen obviously!). Let's do this!!xx

  3. Great post Sian. Wonder could you add the Team Princess Hope BT donate page in the article for me. I'm linking to this in a blog post now. Many thanks... xx

    1. Ahhh thanks for the reminder Sally! Completely forgot with so much going on. Head has been elsewhere. I will update now. X