BBC: Chronic fatigue: Volunteering helps teenager with syndrome

BBC: Volunteering helps teenager with ME/CFS

MEA Comment

Russell Fleming, Communications Manager to the ME Association says:

“It is clear from the article that ME (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) has a great impact on what this woman can physically manage due to the debilitating symptoms and the problems surrounding post-exertional malaise (PEM), if she isn't careful to ensure she is aware of energy management and pacing. 

However, being able to undertake a couple of hours of volunteering per week, as a small achievable goal has helped with the impact on her mental well-being which has been greatly affected due to the disease. It has clearly provided support and a way of socialising that she finds positively helps her to deal with her illness plus it has an added bonus of increased self-worth due to being able to help others.”

BBC Wales reports two hours a week volunteering at a charity shop has helped turn Maddie Davies's life around.


A diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome seven years ago affected all areas of the 19-year-old's life.

“Because I couldn't go to school and all my friends were still in school, I felt isolated,” Maddie, from Cardiff, said.

“My self-confidence and self-esteem were absolutely shattered.

“I'm currently much better thanks in part to working at the charity shop and therapy.”

Her experience chimes with the findings of a new survey by Public Health Wales, which showed nearly three-quarters of people actively choose to help others to protect and improve their own mental wellbeing.

Volunteering alone isn't a magic bullet. Maddie has had counselling to help her focus on setting small, achievable goals.

Shopping Basket