On Saturday, May 11, the Peace Garden fountains will be turning blue alongside many different monuments such as York City walls, the fountain in Geneva, and nine landmarks across the Netherlands including the Rotterdam Bridge to represent ME Awareness week.
That evening the Big Wheel will light up blue, and on Sunday, May 12, Sheffield Cathedral is lighting its entrances blue. ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) is an invisible illness but on Sunday ME sufferers, carers and friends will be making themselves seen and heard in Barker’s Pool, as part of the global campaign for ME health equality. The day will see the lining up of ‘empty’ shoes and footwear of ME sufferers from across the region, footwear that has been unused and made redundant by this debilitating illness.
At 12 noon we will hear from local people with ME, and Berlie Doherty, children’s author, speaking on behalf of those unable to attend due to severe illness and explaining the demands of #MillionsMissing.
Musicians will perform a songs written by those who are housebound asking Can You Hear ME? Purple Cats Community Choir will complete the performance. Louise Haigh MP will speak alongside Paul Blomfield MP and Clive Betts MP to highlight the unanimous call Parliament made in January of this year for increased biomedical research funding, the suspension of harmful treatments, updated medical professional training and noting concern at the trend for families of children with ME to be subjected to unjustified child protection proceedings. This happens to 1 in 5 families at present. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME/CFS, is a systemic neuroimmune disease characterized by post-exertional malaise (a severe worsening of symptoms after even minimal exertion). It causes dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system. The effects of ME are devastating enough to leave 25% of patients housebound or bedbound and an estimated 75% unable to work. Over 5,000 people of all ages live with ME in South Yorkshire alone, of whom 1,300 are housebound or bedbound. Young people face exceptional difficulties managing pressures of school, blame and misunderstanding and harmful treatments.