Helen Hyland, Fundraising Manager, ME Association.
Where did the month go? I can’t honestly believe that over 28 days have passed since artist Lee Stammers launched his 2019 ‘FeBLUEary' campaign.
Just to recap, Lee dyed his hair BLUE for the full 28 days of the month of February 2019. And, as if a daft hairstyle wasn’t enough, each and every day through the month, he also posted images across social media and told his story of living with M.E – a subject close to his heart as he has had the disease for over 20 years.
We were charmed to see the gentle way in which Lee developed his campaign: explaining (without complaining) and celebrating the positives about what he could do, and how he felt about that.
We’ve seen images of meals that he made, the everyday chores he’s completed, the people he’s managed to meet, the cats and dogs he’s cuddled along the way; and the art he’s created over the month.
But if he’s had a bad day – a duvet day or a pain day – he’s told us about that too. He’s balanced the positive stuff by telling us about the payback that he’s suffered for activities enjoyed (even for an hour’s sketching in the sunshine).
He's told us about the huge amounts of precious energy needed to see through simple tasks, the loneliness that this cruel illness brings, the cocktail of drugs necessary to keep him functioning; and despite all this, his determination to keep studying and improving in any way he can.
“I shared images of my artwork, of managing a small walk, of seeing friends, of hoovering and cooking a meal. I wanted to highlight that to feel purposeful, we must realise our achievements, our successes and adjust our mindset.”
“I started this campaign to highlight the positive aspects of my everyday life. Those of us with long term health problems feel unnecessary guilt for fear of judgement when we are seen out, visiting somewhere or having a coffee.”
“But you have no idea what is going on in someone's life, how they are feeling inside, how many pain meds they have taken or how bad the after effects will be. I wanted to share what it felt like trying to live as normal a life as I can, in spite of everything.”
“I have received a great number of messages in support; had contact with old friends – felt so overwhelmed with the positive comments on my artwork – whilst doing what I could to bring about a greater understanding of my condition from the public. As well as this, my fundraising page has nearly reached over £400!”
If you would like to show your support for Lee's efforts, and help him to celebrate all that he has achieved, then please do visit his JustGiving page to make a donation to the ME Association. Thank you.
The ME Association
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