"Retweet, retweet, retweet"
The more the merrier, although one retweet will suffice! Easy as pie and takes only but a second of your day, retweeting gets the ball rolling and people talking. Not sure what to retweet? Click here and RT this. If your spoonie has tweeted saying something along the lines of: "Today is #MEAwarenessDay, please RT to raise awareness for this devastating illness", then you can go right ahead and click that button. Every little helps.
"Share and Like"
If your spoonie has the gonads to be 'openly chronically ill' on Facebook, lend them a hand and share their post on ME Awareness Day. Whether they've posted an awareness photo, linked to their blog or written a status - show your support by sharing. It's caring, you know. Don't want to share? Just click like. It wasn't easy for that person to tell all of their Facebook friends that they're chronically ill with an incurable, widely unknown illness, but it is easy for you hit the Like button.
If you'd like to donate, I wrote an overview of the various fundraising efforts going on in ME Awareness Week here - pick your favourite idea and give as much or as little as you like. Donations will go towards charities for ME, including;
If you prefer, you can donate directly to the charities. Not rolling in cash at the moment? Not to worry. Skip the donations and move onto the next thing that Meg says you can do to help out your spoonie (and their fellow spoonies, whilst you're at it).
Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in and take part in raising awareness for ME, and it's totally free. If you don't know of any local events, I'd highly recommend jumping aboard the Blue Sunday train. On Sunday 11th, myself and my wonderful friend Hayley will be getting together for a tea party, as will many other ME sufferers - spoonie sisters are doin' it for themselves! If you'd like to channel Cara D and learn more about Blue Sunday, you can read Hayley's post here. Created by our brilliant Anna, all you need to do is take a photo of your tea or cake (or both!) and upload it to the social media platform of your choice (I'll be using Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #BlueSunday. Could it get any easier? I hope to metaphorically clink my teacup to yours this weekend - chin chin.
"Read and Forward"
Blogging about your health is challenging, especially when it's poor. It's extremely daunting (and brave!) to put yourself out there, so lend a helping hand and have a little browse through some ME-related blogs. If you like what you see, please forward it to your friends and spread the word. A lot of time, effort and hard work goes into posts that are written, often solely, to help raise awareness and it'd be great if they could reach as wide an audience as possible. Here are a few of my personal favourites to get you started;
Click here to vote for ME charity The ME Association to win up to £2000 in The Big Break 2014. If you can't afford to donate, this is a free and quick way to potentially give ME sufferers the answers that we desperately need. Pretty please!
"If the MEA wins this contest, ALL the money will be ring-fenced for biomedical research into either: a clinical trial of Rituximab, a study of neuroinflammation, or the exploration of immune system abnormalities. We also produce valued information, advice and support to sufferers and their families. We believe those affected by ME deserve a better future."
So, the reason you're here is because you know someone with ME - they may be your little brother, your boss, your aunt, your flatmate, your best friend - and they need you. Have you ever spoken to them about their illness, checked how they're coping, offered any assistance? "Speak, check, offer". Have you got any questions that you'd like to ask, is there anything you're curious or confused about, do you think you can help in any way? "Ask, confirm, help". Have you always wanted to tell them something - that you're proud, that you're there for them and that you love them? "Encourage, support, love".
There's no better time than now, in ME Awareness Week.
ME isn't recognised as the life changing illness that it is. Many think that ME is 'just tiredness', and others deny it exists. In 2014, sufferers (who experience a level of disability equal to patients undergoing chemotherapy) having to fund their own medical research when they're too sick to work, study or sit up in bed is wrong, and it's time for change.
"ME patients feel effectively the same every day as an AIDS patient feels two months before death" - CFS/AIDS research, Mark Loveless, MD
Whichever verb you choose from those I've suggested, please do help in some way.
Every ME sufferer needs you - myself included!