Imagine that you have absolutely no energy, your muscles hurt, your head aches, your vision is blurred, you get dizzy spells and you can’t think straight or remember things properly.
Then imagine that, unlike the winter colds and viruses that have been doing the rounds recently, you don’t get to feel any better. This is what thousands of people in the UK who are living with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome experience every day.
The isolation caused by the illness is one of its most upsetting and disabling aspects. For many, it is down to chance and good fortune as to whether or not friends and family are understanding, and how much they are able to help out with daily tasks such as shopping and preparing food.
The Morecambe Bay ME (MBME) group exists to help alleviate this isolation and help local sufferers in various ways. There are just over 200 members who keep in touch through a quarterly newsletter, the website (www.bayme.org), regular “round robin” emails and a Facebook group.
For those who can make it out of the house, the group offers regular socials, volunteer benefits advisors and monthly meetings, with speakers on areas ranging from alternative therapies to benefits advice. In 2010, MBME set up courses in Lancaster and Kendal on assertiveness training, yoga, and thanks to a very understanding dance teacher, even ran a few dance lessons at Ludus dance in Lancaster!
The groups have a lot in the pipeline for 2011 and hope to involve more members in feeding into planning the way the group m moves forward.
Although the group has an enthusiastic group coordinator who holds all of this together, she is only funded for 10 hours per week and more help is sought. All the committee members and volunteers are ME sufferers and it is creditworthy that the group continues to achieve as much as it does over an area spanning from Barrow to Lancaster.
Volunteers are needed to help establish, and be part of, a “Friends of the Morecambe Bay ME group”. It is planned that the “friends” would fund-raise, extend the group skills base and also help out with existing activities. In particular,the group is looking at ways to reach, support and involve more of the housebound and severely ill members
• If you are interested in volunteering, or would like to know more about joining the Morecambe Bay ME Group, please contact Jo Farmer on 01524 888214, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: www.bayme.co.uk