ME sufferer coming to the end of her step-by-step charity challenge | The Argus, Brighton | 31 May 2016

May 31, 2016

From The Argus, Brighton | 31 May 2016 | Story by Siobhan Ryan.

imgID68054507.jpg.galleryA TEACHING assistant struck down by a debilitating illness with no known cure is set to finish a year-long challenge.

ME sufferer Alison Woodland made a pledge to walk 250,000 steps in 12 months, one for every person in the UK with the condition.

The condition causes extreme fatigue that does not go away with rest or slee and can leave some sufferers housebound.

Ms Woodland, 27, from Worthing, was diagnosed in 2009, 11 months after falling ill with a flu-like virus.

She had been suffering from total exhaustion, weakness, breathlessness and a high heart rate.

At her worst, the former Sussex U-18 table tennis player was left so weak by everyday tasks that she struggled to get out of bed, go to the bathroom without help and felt too ill to read a book.

Ms Woodland said: “I had very mixed emotions when I was first diagnosed.

“Part of me was very relieved to finally have a name for it after a year of tests and appointments and the other part of me felt daunted, as I knew there was no real ‘fix’ and a lot of uncertainty lay ahead.”

Ms Woodland took on her challenge in aid of the ME Association, which supports those with the condition, which is also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

The former Chichester College student has already walked more than 230,000 steps and expects to finish her challenge in June.

She has raised more than £550 so far.

Ms Woodland said: “As I have ME, I needed something that I already do on a day-to-day basis so that it didn’t have a negative effect on my health – something simple that everyone can identify with.

“I have really enjoyed doing it. It has come with some unexpected challenges – I did not expect there to be days when I was walking too slowly for the pedometer to count my steps”

The NHS recommends that a healthy person walk 10,000 steps a day, meaning that most people could achieve Ms Woodland’s challenge in a month.

ME Association fundraising manager Helen Hyland said: “Alison is one of our fundraising heroines.

“Many of our fundraisers push themselves to the limit in marathons and more extreme physical endurance races but we know that there can be no greater physical, emotional, or mental challenge than the ‘pacing’ that is vital to manage life when you have ME.”

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