Giving Is Not About Donating, It’s About Making a Difference
Greeting and salutations to you, my dear reader, and thank you for joining me for another edition of the May blog celebrating 30 years of M.E. Awareness Day.
I’d like to welcome all the new members of the M.E. Support Facebook Page. I’ll give you a brief introduction. I am Rochelle Hanslow, ambassador for M.E. Support and the sole contributor to this blog. Outside M.E. Support, I am a chronic illness and mental health writer and self-published children’s author tackling life issues and mental health for children in a fun, positive and gentle way. I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and a plethora of other chronic illnesses ten years ago and found Louise and M.E. Support on my journey. You can read more about me, my family and my journey with chronic illness in You Are Not Your Illness.
M.E. Awareness Day is extremely important for our community and it means so much that so many individuals and organisations put their heart and soul into fundraising for vital funds every year it comes around. The key, however, is not just the donations but the support and awareness that comes from fundraising.
Walk this way
One of the biggest fundraising events each year is provided by Action For M.E., which has been running Walk with M.E. since 2018. From 31st May to 7th September, they invite you to get a team together to share the responsibilities and collectively walk one million steps in 100 days. If you have mild to moderate M.E., having the team around you means if you can do 100 steps then that’s your contribution and your team makes up the rest. If you have severe M.E., you can nominate a team to walk on your behalf. Walk for M.E. has raised over £25,000 so far to help support people with the illness. If you are interested in taking part you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where there’s tea there’s hope
What if there was a way to raise funds for M.E. charities that meant you could wear your pyjamas, eat cake and drink tea? Well then, I’m about to make you very happy because thanks to the fundraising and organisation of a lady called Anna Redshaw, you can! Anna has been fundraising since 2013 by running Blue Sunday Tea Party for M.E. where she asks you to help 10 M.E. Charities by digging out your best cups and saucers, wearing something blue (your PJs count), buying or baking some cakes and enjoying them with a cup of tea or three with family and friends 1:1 or via video call. You can simply donate the price you’d pay in a café. This year it is taking place on Sunday 15th May. Join in this year and remember to share your photos by using the hashtags #TeaPartyForME2022 or #BlueSunday2022 on social media platforms.
This year sees a brand-new event provided by World ME Alliance called ‘World ME Day’. The theme for the first World ME Day is #LearnFromME. The World ME Alliance wants to use this as a platform for sufferers, carers, friends and family to share their stories, reach out on a personal basis to doctors and healthcare professionals, and build more understanding of M.E. Who better to make people understand than someone who lives with M.E., after all? I have launched a podcast to coincide with this event and you can listen to the first episode Here.
Fundraise while you shop
I love online shopping; in fact, it is the only way I shop these days, especially since we are still in the midst of a two-year pandemic. Did you know that you can use specific websites to donate to charities while you shop? Amazon Smile, Give As You Live and Easyfundraising are all places you can sign up to and support your selected charities while you buy what you need for your day-to-day activities. Simple, easy and hassle-free support for charities who need it.
If you spend a lot of time on social media you can help spread awareness for the M.E. community by sharing posters and graphics from M.E. charities. The ME Association has a page dedicated to M.E. Awareness Week (11th –16th May) and there you will find posters that you can share on your social platforms. Keep an eye out on other charity websites for Twibbons, cover images and other awareness graphics too.
Ways to give support and awareness all year round
Although there are specific times of year that awareness for M.E. is brought to the fore, it really is important to make sure we are creating awareness, support and, if possible, funds all year round.
ME Research UK are part of Recycle 4 Charity, which protects the environment by recycling your printer ink cartridges while allowing you to donate funds to ME Research UK. All you need to do is visit the ‘Recycle 4 Charity’ website via the link provided above, give your name and email address, and choose ME Research UK as your preferred charity.
If you have family members who are very active people and like a challenge, there are lots of big Running Challenges throughout the year, such as the London Marathon 2022, where they can raise awareness and money for their chosen M.E. charities.
Leave a Legacy
It’s something that not many people like to talk about yet it is something everyone will experience. You can chose to donate to a charity and Leave a Legacy in your will; no matter how big or small, it will go towards biomedical research and supporting those with M.E.
Go Your Own Way
Do you have a special talent that could be used to raise funds for charity? Are you a keen crafter or a bit of a whizz at baking? You could hold your own event or fundraiser to help a charity that is close to your heart. Just Giving, Go Fund Me, Go Get Funding and Crowdfunder are all websites that will help you raise money with ease.
Donating to M.E. Support
Louise celebrated a mammoth 21 years of M.E. Support in April. She has got to this milestone through dedication, hard work and determination, and she continues to strive for the chronically ill community. M.E. Support is a crucial and enviable source of quality information, support and advice, and also gives the community a way to share their creativity and befriend each other the only way it may be possible.
M.E. Support is not a charity and receives no funding. The cost of running it is met from Louise’s own pocket as well as sales from the M.E. Support Online Shop and Advertisements on the site.
To enable Louise to continue the website and expand on the content she provides, a Donation would be gratefully received. If you would prefer to donate items instead of money, Louise has a Wish List of items that she needs and which would also be much appreciated.
I know times are difficult: the cost of living is at an all-time high right now and the world is in a scary state of affairs. If you can help Louise at M.E. Support or any of the amazing M.E. Organisations that strive for biomedical research and support for the community, please do so. If you can’t donate it is understandable, but please consider supporting in other ways. You will be surprised at what liking, commenting on and sharing posts can do for charities and organisations to spread awareness.
Thank you for taking the time to read part two of May’s celebratory posts for the 30th anniversary of M.E. Awareness Day. You can read previous posts anytime on the M.E. Support Blog. To finish off awareness month, the last post for this month is a personal collaboration piece with my husband, Dan, where we both talk about our relationship and parenthood with the added challenges of chronic illness and Neurodivergence.