ME Awareness: All eyes on the Isle of Man as Juan completes his epic walk | 12 May 2020


Tony Britton, Fundraising Manager, ME Association.

Our eyes are on the Isle of Man this week as Juan Corlett completes his epic 2.6 mile walk round the local allotments for the ME Association Ramsay Research Fund.

We’re getting there! Thumbs up as Juan nears the end of his challenge.

If both parts of that sentence sound rather ridiculous, I can assure they are not. 

Juan (31), a successful chartered accountant with a company directorship under his belt and a wide network of island contacts, is emerging from the pit of a severe M.E. relapse which so far has lasted 21 months. 

The illness came on eight years ago after a bout of glandular fever turned into severe post viral fatigue and then M.E. The severe fatigue initially cleared in less than a year, but Juan’s condition fell off a cliff edge in August 2018. 

For a couple of months during 2019, when he was at his worse, he couldn’t even reach the pavement 10 yards from his own front door. He has also only recently recovered his voice and has to limit conversation to half an hour a day.

A selfie taken while on his walking challenge.

That potter round the allotments is part of a carefully prescribed management programme. To incentivise himself, he vowed to make our research fund much better off in the process. 

The Island’s response has wildly exceeded the original target he set of £260 when he took up last month’s 2.6 Challenge.

When I last looked on his fundraising page, the figure was closer to £4,000! 

Juan is part of a Manx family and loves his sport. In his spare time when he was fit, he played hockey, cricket and golf and he holds coaching qualifications in both hockey and cricket. The people he played with and his clients obviously think the world of him – hence the rapidly growing amount in his fundraising account.

While on holiday in Norway just before he became ill.

I thought he had a Spanish pedigree so, when we first spoke, I attempted the guttural pronunciation of his first name.

“No, it’s a common name on the Isle of Man and it’s pronounced Jewan, as in Ewan with a J on it,” he explained after playing along with me for a while. “Corlett is also a Manx surname, so there’s little doubt that I’m a local!” 

His physical challenge for the research fund has been made possible without exceeding the limits set out in a programme devised by his therapist, Lesley Pickering at the North West Fatigue Clinic in Blackburn, Lancashire.

“The distance round the allotments is approximately 340 yards, so it should take me 14 days to reach the 2.6-mile goal,” he says on his fundraising page. 

Juan, the action man – before he became ill.

“My target was to initially raise £260 for the ME Association fund but, with generous donations, this was met within 24 hours. I then increased this to £615 – the number of days I have been ill up to 26 April 2020.” But donations have increased this figure well beyond any expectation.

Juan hopes the future will bring an improvement in the quality of medical advice given to ME sufferers as well as more money being put into research to help people with severe ME get better. 

If you would like to support Juan Corlett’s fundraising efforts for M.E. research, please visit his JustGiving page.

ME Awareness Week Monday 11th – Sunday 17th May 2020

Visit the ME Awareness Media Toolkit and download posters and graphics.

The ME Association

Ramsay Research Fund

We are a national charity working hard to improve the lives of people devastated by an often-misunderstood neurological disease. 

We believe biomedical research offers the best hope to people affected by M.E. If you would like to support our investment then please donate to the Ramsay Research Fund. 

Just click the image opposite to visit our JustGiving page for single 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!


ME Association Registered Charity Number 801279


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