Update 8th December, 11am. Donations are now paused for the day. They re-open at 10am tomorrow (Friday). If you would like to make a donation, please go online as close as possible to the start at 10am so we can maximise support from the big Pledge Fund which has been running out very quickly every day so far. Otherwise, the challenge will stay open longer on Friday in the hope that we can exhaust the ‘Matched Funding’ already promised from three supporters – up to a limit of £2,100.
On 5th December, we launched The MEA Big Give Christmas Challenge which will provide extra training for the 30 volunteers on our ME Connect helpline – in specialist skills like how to help callers who are in distress, coping with panic and anxiety attacks and helping people with ME/CFS cope better at work.
Every online donation to the Christmas Challenge will be matched pound for pound up to a limit of £2,100 – thanks to the generosity of some early pledgers. And, if we achieve the target of £4,200, there's a chance to unlock a large extra donation from a bigtime sponsor waiting in the wings.
This year, we hope to raise £5,000. This will pay for five training courses and all the support materials needed. Many of our volunteers are ill themselves, or they're caring for someone with ME/CFS. So the training is delivered by a series of telephone conferences – the best way to bring them all together.
For many people, our helpline gives them the strength to carry on when so often the reaction to how ill they're feeling is hostility and disbelief.
Many find it difficult to put into words the gratitude they feel or the difference a phone call can make to their lives. One Christmas morning, a lady phoned in to talk. We were the only people she'd spoken to for a couple of days and she wasn't expecting anyone to call round until after the holiday.
As the call was ending after 20 minutes or so and her mood had lifted, she said simply: “Thank you. You've saved my life!”
Please go online between the 5th and 9th December to support our Christmas appeal at new.thebiggive.org.uk/projects/view/13401
Our lifeline at ME Connect really does need your support.
And don't forget, if you need to phone, ME Connect is open every day on 0844 576 5326, including over the Christmas holiday. The lines are open 10am-12noon, 2-4pm and 7-9pm.
Could you be an ME Connect volunteer?
If you would like to be considered as an ME Connect volunteer, then please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. If accepted, you will be thoroughly trained and could be working on the helpline in three months.