Teenager to do mountain walk to raise money for the ME Association

From the Wirral News, 22 March 2011 (story by Jane Clare).

A TEENAGER who was diagnosed with ME at the age of 13 is to set aside her illness and take on a mountain-walking challenge.

Charly Poole, from Wallasey, is determined to raise money for the ME Association to help others who also suffer from the illness.

In July she wants to walk up Moel Famau in north Wales to raise as much cash as she can.

Charly, 17, said: “To a healthy person, walking up Moel Famau may seem little and ‘easy’ but for someone suffering from ME it’s like hell and could make me bed-bound for weeks.

“But I am determined to complete this goal for myself and for the charity.”

When Charly was first diagnosed with the illness, she didn’t know what it was.

Commonly, a previously fit and active person finds their illness is triggered by an infection. The biggest symptom of ME – also called chronic fatigue syndrome – is usually severe fatigue.

Says Charly: ” I thought it was the flu and I’d get over it in a couple of days. I was going to school normally for about five months but I slowly started getting more tired.

“I used to be so energetic, I was so up; but suddenly I got this illness and it took me about a year and a half to be diagnosed.

“I’d had a severe viral infection for about a month, but about a week after I’d had it I wanted to get back to normal. I didn’t want to be in the house, I wanted to go out, so I was forcing myself to go out and see my mates.”

Charly continued: “ME is horrid, but I just have to accept that that’s the way things are for me. I cant concentrate for long at all.

“I ache a lot I get a really achy spine and I my legs. My sciatic nerve is constantly painful.

“My memory is dreadful.

“If it gets really bad the muscles in my legs tighten up and I can’t move or straighten them.

“I have relapsed a lot this year, which means I go bed-bound for about two days. Then it takes about two weeks for me to fully get out of it. ”

Charly’s boyfriend Matty Warrington has become her rock.

Charly said: “I’ve got Matty there who will wash my hair for me. He’s even had to learn how to straighten and blow dry!

“He can get me changed and everything, but there are people who are a lot worse off than me who haven’t got someone there.”

It is for those people that Charly is determined to do her sponsored walk.

She said: “For me, talking helped a lot. People have got to have someone there to help them. I want to raise money to help others who need help. I’m lucky with Matty. Some people don’t have anyone.

“I know I’ve been ill, but I’m doing it. I have determination!

“I don’t sit there and dwell. Matty is there and helps me and we try and laugh through it.”

Charly’s grandma Joan Poole, 71, said: “It’s horrible to see her when she has to force herself to walk. And I’ve seen Matty have to carry her.

“I don’t know where we’d be without Matty.”

Despite Charly’s ongoing symptoms, she is determined to have a future.

She said: “I have high ambitions. I’m not just a little dreamer, I’m a big dreamer.

“Of course I want to see an end to it and to get where I want to go. I will always be positive, no matter what.”

To sponsor Charly, please click on the following link:

www.justgiving.com/charly-poole

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