From the Mail Online, 27 June 2015. Story by Sebastian Shakespeare.
Sufferers of myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) — known pejoratively by cynics as ‘yuppie flu’ — struggle to be taken seriously.
Campaigners complain that in the past 30 years there has been little or no Government funding for biomedical research into its causes.
With that in mind, action groups could do worse than employ the Prime Minister’s own sister-in-law as their cheerleader-in-chief.
Emily Sheffield, younger sister of Samantha Cameron, has revealed she once suffered from the debilitating illness, which those affected claim leaves them so severely lethargic that they are unable to carry out everyday activities.
Writing on the website of Vogue magazine, where she is deputy editor, Emily says she was struck down for a year by ME — also known as chronic fatigue syndrome — and claims it eventually vanished after she swam in the freezing cold sea in County Galway.
‘I recovered from a year of ME by diving into the crystal sea, the cold literally shocking the sickness out of my system,’ she says.
‘You emerge from those waters with an icy clarity about your life, a pure, beautiful, brilliant adrenaline-fuelled thrill at the joy of being alive.’
Around 250,000 people in the UK are estimated to be affected by ME. However, diagnosis has been met with scepticism over the years, with controversy over whether symptoms are genuine or all in the mind.
It was dubbed yuppie flu because sufferers tend to be aged between 20 and 40 and the illness is most frequently seen among professionals.
Emily’s yuppie credentials are unimpeachable — she is the daughter of wealthy Lincolnshire landowner Sir Reginald Sheffield — but she may find her bargaining powers with David Cameron to be limited.
Two years ago she embarrassed him by posting a picture on Instagram of her younger sister Alice on her wedding day, which showed the PM in the background taking an afternoon snooze on the bride’s bed.
After the pic was ‘liked’ by thousands of users, Emily called herself an ‘idiot’ on Twitter, admitting she did not intend it to be seen by so many people.