A Marathon at snail’s pace and a Face Mask challenge – more tales from our fundraising frontline | 28 May 2020


Tony Britton, Fundraising and PR Manager, ME Association

Here are another couple of stories from our wonderful band of fundraising supporters who are helping us get through the coronavirus crisis.  Thank you for your support – we are immensely grateful.

Ann Jones and her ‘Snail’s Pace Marathon’

Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore and the 2.6 Challenge, Ann Jones has just finished what she calls her “Snail’s Pace Marathon” – walking a mile a day, in small chunks, round her garden for 26 days to raise money for the ME Association.

In the process, the retired physiotherapist got to know “every blade of grass, every stone” along the edges of her two-acre garden overlooking the Northumberland National Park.

Hundreds of miles away ­– in South London – her 38-year-old son Ben, who takes 50-mile runs in his stride, did two, socially-distanced half-marathons for us round Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. Together, they will be letting us have a donation of £260.

Ann wrote two great blogs for us about her 50 lost years with M.E. during ME Awareness Month.

Super-fit son Ben on one of his long runs

“On the days I was plodding round, my incredibly supportive husband David took over the cooking. But there was no great hardship involved – he’s a great cook and much more adventurous than I am”, said Ann.

David clearly is a marvellous man! Ann says he cooks most nights and does the shopping, gardening and some housework. The couple have been married for 42 years and have known each other for 48.

Ann practised as a physiotherapist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, in Chichester and briefly in New Zealand. She was forced to give up the job she loved over 30 years ago after her health deteriorated.

Ben and his daughter pound the streets near their home in south London

Understandably, she worries whether future generations – in particular her two-and-a-year-old granddaughter – will still be living in a world where ME/CFS is still such a scourge.

“My granddaughter is happy, healthy and carefree and I hope she will remain so. I do hope the situation regarding M.E. will have improved enormously in the next few years. But what will it be like for her generation if funding is not forthcoming and research grinds to a halt?

“Will it be a case of history repeating itself? Nowadays, we have more experts than ever working the field and they deserve our support and gratitude.”

Ann co-ordinates an M.E. group who normally meet monthly in Newcastle at a vegetarian café called Super Natural. But these are abnormal times and members haven’t seen each other for a while.

Ann doesn’t drive. She is longing for the time when she can once again pop on a bus into the city 30 miles away and see everyone again.

“We have no structure. We just have a coffee and a chat about anything and everything. We have been going for about 15 years, with the founding members meeting on an Expert Patient course.”

Rachel Franklin and her Face Mask Challenge

A prime time TV sewing show brought Rachel Franklin to our attention this month when she offered to make much in demand face masks in exchange for a donation to the ME Association.

TV show presenter Patrick Grant and a face mask

Along with thousands of others, Rachel took her cue from the BBC1’s ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ – joining their #BigCommunitySew which encourages viewers to turn stocks of unused fabric into face coverings in the fight against the coronavirus.

“I happen to have a sewing machine and a fair amount of fabric”, Rachel wrote on her online page which was turning gifts of money into face masks.

But she did ask her supporters for patience.

“As someone with M.E., I do not have the energy / activity capacity of healthy people and I am trying to sew whilst still working – so please bear with me on making the masks.”

Rachel, who lives in Chigwell, Essex, was diagnosed with M.E. in 2014. She was still in lockdown when we caught up with her. But she was happy to report progress on fulfilling her first orders and saw no problem in finishing all of them eventually.

Her employer, the Pears Foundation, have agreed to match-fund the sponsorship up to £1,000 as part of their staff match-funding scheme,

ME Awareness Month – May 2020

Read the stories and announcements from ME Awareness Month.

The Lost Years

Check out the MEA Media Toolkit for video, free factsheets, posters and graphics.

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.

Or why not join the ME Association as a member and be part of our growing community? For a monthly (or annual) subscription you will also receive ME Essential – quite simply the best M.E. magazine!


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