Sixth formers tell us what’s making them run and walk to raise ME awareness | 9 June 2020

by Tony Britton, Fundraising and PR Manager, ME Association

Teenagers are giving the lie to old myth that, given half a chance, they’ll spend all morning and most of the afternoon in bed. Four sixth formers tell us here why they’ve had better things to do with their time!

Chloe Rabin and Hannah Peart

So Chloe and best friend Hannah Peart decided they’d better do something to raise awareness of this devastating energy-sapping illness. 

The first thing they did was raise money for the ME Association on a fundraising stall at their school Christmas fair last year. Then they set their sights on running with thousands of others in the Bath Half Marathon in March – which just happened to take place a week before the Prime Minister locked down the country.

The stormy weather failed to put a dampener on their long-planned girls’ weekend away. They positively galloped round the Bath Half in pouring rain with the clouds only lifting towards the end as they raced through the Georgian streets of this World Heritage City.

Between them, Chloe and Hannah raised a whopping £1,630 split evenly between the MEA and Phab, who run 147 local clubs round the UK where physically handicapped and able-bodied people mix on even terms.

“We’d been told Bath was a very pretty place to visit and it certainly lived up to its name. We had a great time”, said 17-year-old Chloe.

Chloe and Hannah (18) are both waiting on their A-level results at St Helen’s School, Northwood, North West London. If all goes well, Choe’s first choice university will be Durham to study chemistry, while Hannah wants to go to St Andrew’s University in Scotland to read geography.

“Of course, the school was closed down before we could sit our exams and we’re being graded by our teachers on coursework. They’re keeping us waiting for our results until the usual time in August.”

Thank you both for keeping the flag flying for M.E. Awareness. This certainly is a cause that still remains largely invisible and little understood but with your help we will get there in the end.

Emily Wood and Bethany Booth

Friends and family quickly pumped up the volume when Emily Wood and Bethany Booth set out on their 250,000-step walk for the ME Association at the beginning of June. On their very first day, they had smashed through their £250 target and raised double that.

Then – as £500 dialled up even higher – the best friends from Alfreton, in Derbyshire, started enjoying their walking in glorious countryside. Emily hopes they will have completed the distance by her 17th birthday on July 1.

250,000 steps (that’s about 118 miles) is not a random target. It’s the most commonly quoted figure for the number of people in the UK who have M.E. and their constant grim reminder of why they’re doing the walk.

“We’re amazed at the amount of support we’re getting.  We thought we’d be lucky to get a little bit but it’s gone through the roof”, said Emily on the day they had completed their first 70,000 steps.  

They’re walking for the MEA because Emily’s mum, Annette, developed M.E. after going down with viral meningitis eight years ago. Failure to recover turned her life upside down and Mrs Wood was eventually forced to take ill-health retirement as an NHS community nurse working with people with disabilities.

Emily and Bethany are both at sixth form college – Emily is doing A-levels in history, business and psychology at Bilborough College in Nottinghamshire, while Beth is brushing up on her business studies at Chesterfield College.

“We’ve planned this week so we get a different variety of countryside every time. It’s looking lovely at the moment”, said Emily.

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