Tony Britton, Fundraising Manager, ME Association.
Our #GoBlue4ME Challenge for ME Awareness Week, 11th to 17th May, has inspired two once-a-lifetime events that meet all the social separation requirements of the nationwide lockdown.
When it comes to imagination, verve and sheer determination, Sarah Phillips and her mum, and Dawn and Graham Brown have got the lot in shedloads.
Here are their stories…
Scaling Everest with Sarah Phillips
Teenager Sarah Phillips will be taking on the biggest challenge of her life when she climbs the height of Mount Everest for the ME Association – without leaving the comfort of her own home.
Sarah, who will be 17 in June, has volunteered to step up to the challenge of going up and down the stairs 3,871 times. The 58,070 steps involved will equal the height of Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
“She’s adamant she is going to do this and wants to complete the challenge in five days”, said her mum Jackie at the family home in Old Coulsdon, Surrey. “I’ll be here as a reserve in case she needs me.”
The family say they owe a lot to the ME Association who have been there for them ever since Sarah went down with M.E. three years ago.
“At first we didn’t know what was wrong with her and thought she was just being lazy. It wasn’t until she got her diagnosis at University College Hospital in London that we began to understand more about this illness and what exactly we needed to do to help her manage the symptoms.”
On her fundraising page, Sarah paid tribute to the help and support she has received from both her consultant and therapist at UCH and “a huge amount of support from the ME Association over the past two years as they have helped me find a way to cope, taught me to stay strong and get through this”.
Sarah has been able to keep attending her first year at college but has had to drop a subject in order to keep up. She hopes to get back for her second year there once the current restrictions are lifted.
The stair climb will take place during ME Awareness Week. “She knows she can take more than five days if she wants,” said Jackie, a part-time home help with Age UK. “And Sarah knows I’m here to help if she wants to turn this into a relay.”
“Either way, we’ll definitely need a new stair carpet when this is all over.”
Please help Sarah get ready at base camp by putting some money into her fundraising account. JustGiving have waived all fees they would normally charge for an event like this.
Swimming the Channel with Dawn and Graham Brown
Dawn and Graham Brown are already swimming 21 miles across the English Channel – in the pool at Tillington House, the Christian-based retreat centre they run at Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset.
“We have this lovely blue swimming pool at Tillington House, which is our home.
“Normally, we would have two or three people staying with us in retreat. But the pool was getting so little use during the lockdown that we thought we could put our normal daily exercise to some good use for the charity that has helped us so much”, said Dawn, who was ordained as a Baptist minister 15 years ago.
Dawn and Graham, and their 25-year-old daughter Charlotte who has M.E., are counting down to the day they will have swum the equivalent of the Channel – 2,834 lengths of the pool.
They are swimming something like 40 lengths of the pool or a little more between them every day and reckon they’ll crawl ashore at Calais on day 36.
Charlotte became ill in her first year at university and has had to put a career in the performing arts on hold.
If you would like to support this energetic couple, please visit their fundraising page for more information and to make a donation. Facebook has waived all fees for use of the page.
The ME Association
Please support our vital work
We are a national charity working hard to make the UK a better place for people whose lives have been devastated by an often-misunderstood neurological disease.
If you would like to support our efforts and ensure we are able to inform, support, advocate and invest in biomedical research, then please donate today.
Just click the image opposite or visit our JustGiving page for one-off donations or to establish a regular payment. You can even establish your own fundraising event.
ME Association Registered Charity Number 801279