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Cambridge ME Group create billboard for ME Awareness Week tour of city





Mark Harper, chair of Cambridge ME Support Group, created a huge billboard for the roof of his car and drove it around Cambridge to raise awareness of ME Week, which ended on 14 May.

Mark participated in a protest outside the Keith Peters Building on Addenbrooke’s Hospital site earlier today (15 May). There, a letter of demands was delivered to Prof Judy Hirst of the Medical Research Council.

The Cambridge ME Group car in action during ME Awareness Week. Picture: Cambridge ME Group
The Cambridge ME Group car in action during ME Awareness Week. Picture: Cambridge ME Group

Mark said he is “taking this action so people realise how serious this condition is, and how little research funding and support is available”.

Cambridge ME Group is also demanding better training for NHS staff n the new NICE guidelines, and funding for specialist clinics and home care adaptations.

ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) is a syndrome affecting almost all of the body’s functions. Metabolism (the body’s energy systems), brain function, muscle function, digestion, the immune system and the nervous system are all compromised.

From left are group members Sharon Smith, Michael Blakemore, Ann Galpin, Mark Harpe and Katie Johnstone Picture: Keith Heppell
From left are group members Sharon Smith, Michael Blakemore, Ann Galpin, Mark Harpe and Katie Johnstone   Picture: Keith Heppell

The foremost symptoms are chronic, disabling fatigue; severe problems with concentration and memory; and a worsening of symptoms with exertion of any sort, physical or mental.

There are thought to have been a quarter of a million known sufferers in the UK before the COVID pandemic; since about half those living with long COVID would also fit a diagnosis of ME. Most sufferers find their capacities seriously curtailed: around 25 per cent are bedridden.

“The number of people suffering from ME has increased massively – 50 per cent of Long Covid cases are believed to qualify as myalgic encephalomyelitis,” said Mark.

“There are now reckoned to be about 1.25 million people living with the condition in the UK.”

Mark Harper, chair of Cambridge ME Group, with banner
Mark Harper, chair of Cambridge ME Group, with banner

The group also held a shoe demo “to represent people sick and absent from their own lives for those who can’t be there”.

ME Awareness Week included the 12th is ME Awareness Day. Further details are available here.



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