We give thanks to the wonderful walkers of Wallingford School in Oxfordshire in the latest edition of our quarterly ME Essential magazine, which has been posted out to members.
The whole school and all the teachers – 860 people in all – walked nine miles to local beauty spot Wittenham Clumps to raise money for the ME Association. The event was organised by school IT manager Colin Milston, whose daughter-in-law Rachel has been severely ill with M.E. for three years.
The money's not yet in. But, even if every walker only managed to obtain £10 each in sponsorship, think what the total could do for any charity, let alone one as small as the ME Association. And Rachel has already raised over £3,000 from other family and friends events
Thumbing through the magazine, there's our chairman Neil Riley grinning and bearing the return of a particularly unwelcome visitor and news of our latest Ramsay Research Fund gift – we're putting £31,000 into a new study of post-exertional malaise by Dr Amolak Bansal, Dr Megan Arroll and others.
There's the story of the magnificent donation of over a million pounds from the United States to support the work of the UK ME/CFS Biobank and we have a new science writer, Oxford graduate Simon McGrath. His first column is about the very clever things that Professor Mady Hornig and her colleagues get up to get closer to the truth about this illness.
We've also opened up a special Rituximab fund to see if another clinical trial of this drug can be arranged. Click HERE to read this story. The fund is now up to about £60,000.
The passing in June of one of the ME world's great characters – the author, Deric Longden, whose first wife Diana was the inspiration for the 1994 BBC drama ‘Wide-Eyed and Legless' – is marked in grand style. If Deric was still with us, we think he would have liked it. Thanks to John Smith, of ME Derbyshire, for contributing a few words. His colleague Kay Holt sent in some more recollections. Kay's arrived too late for the magazine but can be read HERE.
Also on the ‘literary front', there's a lovely story about 18-year-old Lucy Saxon who secured a three-book deal worth £100,000 for a series of fantasy books with Harry Potter publishers, Bloomsbury. I see there's a picture of her dressed up as ‘Captain America'. Don't ask – read!
As usual, ME Essential packs some powerful medical punches with an article by Dr Charles Shepherd on depression, antidepressants and other forms of treatment and then there's his ‘Ask the Doctor' column. This time he tackles questions on the MEA's disability rating scale, what constitutes supportive medical evidence in benefit claims, claiming ‘disability leave', driving and ME/CFS, haemochromatosis, and immune dysfunction.
Dr Shepherd also reports directly from the Invest in ME conference in London earlier this year – with four pages of coverage of all the presentations.
Finally, readers get a good look in. We carry a couple of pages of their letters and always welcome them – particularly if they can be kept short and to the point.
ME Essential is mailed out quarterly to members of the ME Association. If you would like to be sent membership information, please phone 01280 818968 weekdays or email firstname.lastname@example.org