In autumn 2008, I became ill with a series of routine viral infections. Instead of bouncing back to full health I got progressively more ill, and in the space of a few weeks I went from being an energetic, academic 14 year-old who played contact sports, to an invalid: practically bed-bound, and unable to care for myself. I was diagnosed with M.E/CFS: an untreatable, incurable neuro-immune condition that is sadly surrounded with an unfair stigma fuelled by false beliefs.
6 years on from the viruses that changed my life, my health has slowly improved, and I am no longer severely affected. While my life is still limited, I have regained a bit of normality, and I can even study part-time at a university that I love. Many M.E. patients are not as fortunate, spending decades trapped in a darkened, silent room, and in constant agony.
This is why I am donating my birthday to M.E. Research UK. I hope that in asking for donations instead of presents, I will be able to make a difference - however small - and to fund biomedical research into this horrible illness. It was not a hard decision at all to not receive any presents or birthday money on my 21st birthday; I just wish I could do more because, as cliché as it sounds, the best present any M.E. patient could hope for is their health.
Please help me, by sharing my fundraising video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m663G4tozBw), this JustGiving page, or my blog; and by making a donation. By just donating what you would pay for a cup of tea and a piece of cake, you will be helping vital research and giving seriously ill M.E. patients the hope of a healthy future. I would love it if you could join me on the 14th, either in person, on the online Facebook event, and if you join in to eat cake and drink tea from afar, please remember to tag any photos on social media with the hashtag #katharines21stforME so that I can admire your contributions!
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page. I really hope that you will join me on the 14th: to celebrate my 21st birthday, to drink tea, eat cake, and most importantly to raise money for such an important cause.
For further information about M.E. and my life with it, please feel free to visit my blog: www.katharineandME.blogspot.co.uk, where there is a description of what it is like to live with M.E. here: http://katharineandme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/me-awareness-day-2014.html. To learn more about M.E. Research UK and their amazing work please go to www.meresearch.org.uk.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.