From me to you: NHS worker saves daughter from graded exercise

From M.E. to You – meet Joanne Harvey, the person we’d all like to be!

An NHS worker, who raged against the machine to save her daughter from “the horrors” of Graded Exercise Therapy and other inappropriate treatment for her M.E., has received a gift hamper from the ME Association.

Joanne Harvey, who now works in the Personalised Care Group at NHS England, was nominated by daughter Jessica Diamond to receive a hamper in our great Christmas give-away.

Who better to tell the story than Jessica, in her own words?

“Jo is an exceptional human being who juggles a full-time job working in the NHS personalisation group with unpaid care work for me – her adult daughter who has ME,” she wrote from their home in Cheltenham.

“In my 11 years with ME, she has been by my side every step of the way, from diagnosis, through the horrors of Graded Exercise Therapy and a consistent decline in function and quality of life, to where I am now, trying to find acceptance.

“She has been a fierce advocate for me, often battling head-to-head with misinformed doctors who have bought into the stigma and myths about this condition.

“She diligently recorded comments when the draft NICE guidelines came out, and always uses me as an example in her work, which is the perfect chance to spread the message about what ME is, and sometimes more importantly, what it isn't.

“She has also advocated for the wider ME community, and has used her excellent reputation and many contacts in the health and social care sector as an opportunity to educate people about the realities of this disease.

“The workload of her demanding job coupled with caring for an adult child who is severely ill has been incredibly taxing on her, often jeopardising her own physical and mental health. And yet she never drops the ball. My care needs are always met, and she excels at her job.

“Recognition of this gargantuan feat wouldn't ease the load, but hopefully would be affirming and validating to her. I tell her all the time how much I appreciate her, but external recognition would likely feel even more rewarding.

“Please consider giving her this recognition she so desperately deserves.”

Wow! What a wonderful story, Jessica! What a wonderful mum you have!

And, when Jo did receive the hamper earlier this week she was so ecstatic that “she came into my room in floods of tears and was so grateful to be seen and appreciated for the care work that she does. Thank you so much for running this initiative; it means so much to those who work so very hard caring for their loved ones with ME.”

This Christmas, The ME Association has been giving away 100 hampers crammed with seasonal goodies to the favourite unpaid carers of our members.

We’ve now received 305 nominations. The campaign has now closed but we’ve still plenty more stories to tell. Please keep looking out for them!

Tony Britton
Senior Fundraising Consultant, The ME Association Mob: 07393 805566

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