Carlisle News and Star, January 9
A PIONEERING support group has been set up to help local sufferers of the debilitating condition ME.
The Carlisle ME/CFS Support Group was officially launched yesterday.
It already has the backing of academic staff at three universities, who will offer direct support to sufferers while at the same time building up their own knowledge of ME.
It aims to help people gain a better understanding of the condition, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Members will also receive advice to help them better manage their illness.
It was set up after obtaining urban regeneration funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
Project leader Linda Danielis, who herself has ME, said: "The project will look at how health researchers can help to build up the knowledge base about ME, while at the same time offering direct support to sufferers and their families in an area with few specialist resources."
Mrs Danielis, who works as a senior lecturer at the Cumbria Business School in Carlisle, added: "The first thing we would like to do is establish contact with people with ME who live in the area.
"We're building up a first-class resource that will help people manage their condition.
"While waiting for a cure, people can have their lives ruined by ME and the frequent open hostility they experience from people who don't believe it is a genuine illness.
"Adults can lose their jobs and find it difficult to claim benefit. Children can miss years at school because they are too ill to attend," added Mrs Danielis.
The new Carlisle group is working closely with academics at the following three universities – Central Lancashire (of which Cumbria Business School is a part), Northumbria and Manchester Metropolitan – to develop new ME research projects.
It will form part of a network of local groups across the north supported by Durham-based ME North East.
It is also working with other groups, including national charity The ME Association.
People in the Carlisle area who suffer from ME, along with their families and carers, are encouraged to join the new group.
For more information contact Mrs Danielis on 01772 895265 (work), 01228 562988 (home) or email her at email@example.com.