There are lots of easy ways for you to help spread the word, including:
- Contact your Congressional representatives in the U.S. with this simple form, to ask them to watch the Unrest film documentary about ME/CFS and to support ME/CFS Awareness Day. I did it this morning, and it only took a few minutes.
- Check out the #MEAction website for a list of different ways that you can help to build awareness, even from your bed.
- Join the #MillionsMissing campaign for May 12, either in-person (there's a list of local events) or online.
- Edit your profile pics on social media with either a blue ribbon or a #millionsmissing filter. I am changing my Facebook profile to this one below, with an explanation of the things I am missing due to ME/CFS (including backpacking!). You can get the #MillionsMissing filter here with an app on your phone or on the Twibbon site. Twibbon also has a wide range of other options for ME/CFS awareness, including blue ribbons.
"May is ME/CFS Awareness Month (and Lyme Disease Awareness Month). Most of you know that my son and I both have ME/CFS (and he has Lyme plus 2 other tick infections), but you may not know what that means, since the U.S. name, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is misleading. ME/CFS is a debilitating immune disorder that has dramatically changed our lives the past 16 years. If you see either of us out in the world or even just look at our photos on Facebook, you may think we live pretty normal lives...but that's why this is called an Invisible Illness. In reality, you only see us out and about when we are having a good day, and even then, we need a LOT of extra sleep, I can't get through the day without a nap after lunch, we almost always have symptoms, and we both have to carefully monitor and limit our activity levels. One of the main characteristics of ME/CFS is that exercise or exertion makes us sicker, so our lives are defined by limits and restrictions. Even with all that care and caution, we still sometimes overdo and "crash" and feel like we have the flu for days afterward. A simple infection like bronchitis can knock us out for weeks. But, we are the lucky ones. About 25% of those with ME/CFS are housebound or even bedridden. Worst of all, few people - and very few doctors - understand ME/CFS, so Awareness Month is really important to us. You can help to spread the word by sharing this post or clicking the link to learn more (you can also donate to ME/CFS research on that page). If you know a friend or family member who has or might have ME/CFS (or tick infections which have similar symptoms), I would be glad to help them find the right doctors, accurate diagnoses, and/or effective treatments. We are always glad to share our experiences and help others, and we are happy to answer questions. Thanks for reading this far."Besides helping to educate your friends and family (most of whom probably want to know more but don't know how to ask), here are some other ways to help further ME/CFS education and research - share these resources widely!
- Learn more about ME/CFS. Here are some sources of information you can share with others:
- What is ME/CFS? by Solve ME/CFS Initiative
- An Overview of ME/CFS by Phoenix Rising
- The CDC's information on ME/CFS
- Our public testimony on pediatric ME/CFS at the 2011 CFSAC meeting.
- You and your friends and family can also donate money to help fund badly-needed ME/CFS research. I know the economy has been rough lately, but you could always do what we've done and just switch some of your charitable giving from other organizations to one or more of the following ME/CFS-related charities. I also set up a recurring donation for one of these of just $5 a month - easily affordable but not noticeable day by day!
- Solve ME/CFS Initiative
- Open Medicine Institute (click in the upper right corner to donate)
- Simmaron Research
- ME Research UK
- You can also donate to ME/CFS research without spending any extra money by using a shopping donation site or links like:
- You can even earn money for CFS research when you use a search engine:
(feel free to link to this page or share its information)