From the Paisley Daily Express, 12 April 2012, story by Jeff Holmes.
A CAMPAIGNING politician is urging fellow MSPs to back her efforts to raise awareness of a devastating illness.
West of Scotland MSP Mary Fee wants to turn the spotlight on Myalgic Encephalopathy, also known as ME, which is often misunderstood by members of the public who have had no experience of the condition.
ME is recognised by the World Health Organisation as a neurological condition and can result in muscle pain, with intense physical or mental exhaustion, relapses and specific cognitive disabilities.
The condition can affect people of any age, although it’s more common among those aged between 25 and 45 and is more prevalent in women than men.
It is estimated that more than 250,000 people in the UK suffer from ME – or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as it is sometimes known.
Now Labour woman Ms Fee has invited colleagues from all political parties to take part in ME Awareness Week 2012 by attending a special event at Holyrood on Tuesday, May 8.
Ms Fee is convener of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on ME, which helps to bring both sufferers and those with an interest in the illness together to provide MSPs from all parties with information and expertise on issues affecting sufferers, their families and carers.
The ME event, which will take place in the Garden Lobby of the Scottish Parliament, will be hosted by Ms Fee and will include speeches from experts Jo Bluett and Dr Gregor Purdie.
Ms Fee said: “Unfortunately, there are still plenty of misconceptions surrounding ME in Britain today and we are hopeful that this event, and the awareness week in general, will help to counter these.
“Those who suffer from ME aren’t getting the support and care they need and are under constant threat of losing their benefits due to ignorance surrounding the illness.
“Action for ME believes that more than half of those who suffer from the condition will end up losing their jobs due to the illness.”
Campaigners claim that, while scientific research has come on in leaps and bounds in other areas, due in part to government funding, ME has been left well behind.
Ms Fee added: “We still don’t know what causes Myalgic Encephalomyelitis nor how to cure it.
“I hope that this event will help highlight the work that still needs to be done regarding the condition and would ask all Paisley Daily Express readers to get in touch with their local MSP and ask them to attend the event.”