Our MEA Big Give Christmas Challenge is at new.thebiggive.org.uk/projects/view/13401
If you are able to support this appeal, you will be able to help us buy in extra training for the 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.
We have 30 volunteers – all excellent, trained listeners – who every now and again need their knowledge and skills to be brought up to date. Unfortunately, the ME Association cannot afford to pay for this extra training ourselves. We have to rely on the generosity of others to fill the gap.
Every online donation to the Christmas Challenge will be matched pound for pound – thanks to some early pledgers who generously put up £2,100. And, if we achieve the target of £4,200, there could be an extra donation of £800 from the Big Give themselves.
The £5,000 will pay for five training courses and all the support materials needed. Many of our volunteers are ill themselves, or they're caring of someone with ME/CFS. The telephone is the best way to bring them all together.
So the training will be delivered by a series of telephone conferences between now and the middle of 2013.
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!”
Another lady with very severe M.E. called. She was so ill that she could only speak in a whisper. After every few words, she left gaps before she could continue. She needed a ‘verbal hug' – for us to be there for her, not saying much… just listening.
Please go online to support our Christmas Appeal at http://new.thebiggive.org.uk/projects/view/13401
Our lifeline at ME Connect really does need your support.
An important number – 0844 576 5326
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. We'll be there for you. Please be there for us!