A couple who’ve set up a new online shop for their home-made soap business have promised to give an ever-lasting cut of their profits to the ME Association – to mark their daughter’s return to life after eight years of living with debilitating M.E.
Christine Blundell, who runs ‘Soap Matters’ from her home in West Linton, Peebleshire, says her daughter Kirsty suffered badly from the illness in her early years at high school.
“When she was 12, Kirsty got M.E. after going down with some kind of virus. Fortunately we were able to get a diagnosis within six months at Borders General Hospital so we knew what we were dealing with,” said Christine.
“We were also thankful to the Association of Young People with ME (AYME), which unfortunately no longer exists. They helped Kirsty connect with other young people suffering the same condition and showed immense understanding of the condition.
“Kirsty was never bedridden or in need of a wheelchair, thank goodness, but she was always very tired yet she couldn’t sleep, her concentration was shot through and her headaches could make her scream with pain.”
“The illness most disrupted Kirsty’s time at school in the second and third years. Basically, my time was taken up with dropping her off at school, waiting around for an hour and a half and then bringing her home again when she'd had enough. In hindsight, she probably would have benefitted from taking a full year off to regain her health but we weren’t to know that at the time.”
Kirsty did well with her Standard Grades at school but her Highers “just didn’t happen.”
About five years ago, something remarkable did happen though and the whole family of five sighed with relief. Kirsty started getting better. Physically Kirsty started to improve, but the brain took longer to recover.
She made up for her lost education and now, at the age of 25, is studying psychology and sociology at Queen Margaret University at Musselburgh, near Edinburgh.
Christine and husband Nick, who works in IT, say their daughter is “100% recovered”.
Kirsty has younger brothers Rory (22) and 18-year-old Max.
Nick runs the marketing side of ‘Soap Matters’ which they originally formed over four years ago. The couple are well known locally for the market stalls they run in Peebles, Balerno, Stirling, Selkirk, West Linton and further afield.
Nick, originally from Bedfordshire, took part in the inaugural Milton Keynes Marathon, raising over £2,000 for the ME Association. It took place during that wonderful summer of the London Olympics in 2012, when hope lay glorious over the land.
Nick was more matter-of-fact about that time: “It was my first and last marathon”, he volunteered. “I’m much more a sprint kind of man…”
Christine trained as a Clinical Aromatherapist and sees clients at home as well as in a local rehabilitation hospital.
They’ve set aside a room at their home for Christine to work her magic, where she develops her ranges of natural skincare products.
The ME Association comments:
“We are delighted that Kirsty is better and now able to resume her education. The prognosis for young people to recover is better but unfortunately there are no guarantees. The ME Association is aware that some people with ME/CFS find the use of perfumes and scents makes them feel ill and therefore should avoid products that have these. We do not endorse any products to which we make reference in our publications.”