From the Perthshire Advertiser, 6 May 2011
A FAIR City group offering support to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) sufferers will next week launch a campaign to increase awareness over the illness, writes Greg Christison.
From ME Awareness Day on Thursday (May 12) until May 21, Perth ME Support Group will host an exhibition providing information on the illness at the AK Bell Library.
A spokeswoman for the Perth group, which was set up in September 2010 by Kirsty Lamb, encouraged sufferers and their family members to come along to their meetings, which are held on the first Tuesday of every month from 7pm at the Grampian Hotel.
“The group is there to help us realise we are not alone,” she said. “This can be a very solitary illness due to its debilitating nature. The group saves our sanity which we could otherwise lose with the lack of help from outside bodies.
“Sharing experiences of medical professionals, drugs, benefits and life in general is very helpful. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved.”
Although classified as a neurological illness by the World Health Organisation, there are many differing opinions, misconceptions and misinformation surrounding ME, which affects approximately 250,000 people in the UK.
People with ME could suffer from all of the following symptoms and more: fatigue, sleep dysfunction, muscle pain, headaches, confusion, lack of concentration, swollen glands and recurrent flu like symptoms.
ME patients have no approved drugs for treatment, no access to specialist consultants and there is currently no centre of excellence in the UK which treats and researches ME as a physical illness.
Offering support, information and advice as well as a forum to socialise, the group – now run by Elizabeth Moncreiff and Janet McEwan – also attempts to increase public awareness, raise money for ME research and lobby politicians to improve medical expertise and health care provision.
One ME patient who uses the group said: “Some GPs give little understanding so we need support to help understand what the hell is going on in our body.”
A parent of a sufferer added: “I understand a bit better how I can help my daughter. It gives me more insight into how she is feeling and helps me to support her a bit better.”
For more information please contact Ms Moncreiff at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01738 621933.