Rhiannon Davies “Campaigners call for more research in to ME” NHS Worcestershire are teaming up with locals to raise awareness of ME for the first time ever. In recognition of ME awareness week, which runs from the 7th to the 13th May, the Worcestershire NHS Trust have released videos and shared information across social media about how the illness can affect people. 29-year old Lucy Graham was diagnosed with ME officially three years ago, although she says her symptoms started around the age of 13. She says one of the reasons it took so long to be diagnosed is that there’s a lack of understanding of the illness in the medical community. “There’s so little known about it, if I could ask for one thing it would be just more medical research. There’s a lot of misunderstanding around it, for instance a lot of people think it’s psychological, and that’s just not the case.” Myalgic Encephalopathy, or ME, is otherwise known as chronic fatigue syndrome. The illness affects an estimated quarter of a million people in the UK, across a variety of ages and backgrounds. Those with ME suffer extreme fatigue – in severe cases, people can be unable to sit up for more than a few minutes – that doesn’t disappear by resting. Other symptoms can include sleep problems, muscle pain, headaches, and flu-like symptoms. There’s currently no cure for ME, but symptoms can be managed through medication, a specially formulated exercise programme, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). ME Awareness week was capped off with the ‘#MillionsMissing’ protest outside St Phillip’s Cathedral in Birmingham on the 11th May. The aim of the event was to not only raise awareness but to demand funding for better medical research in to ME, in the hopes of creating a cure and not just a treatment. Protesters were encouraged to bring a pair of shoes to lay on the ground to represent the 25% of sufferers who are left housebound by the condition. Lucy is one of the 75% of ME patients who are unable to work because of her illness, and says that that’s the most difficult aspects of her symptoms. “It’s tough to get out and meet people…and not being able to work, it’s something that’s very important to me…More research in to [ME] would just be our magic wand.” NHS Worcestershire run regular social groups to provide support for those living with ME and CFG across the county. Visit https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/tui2C91zzi2gXrQfoo4w- for more information Pictures attached: 1) Lucy Graham 2) Lucy Graham at the #MillionsMissing event in Birmingham on Friday 11th May 3) Lucy Graham 4) #MillionsMissing event for ME Awareness outside St Phillips Cathedral, Birmingham, 11th May