St Albans ME group uses shoes to raise awareness as part of global campaign

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 May 2018

The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.

The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.

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A group which supports people with ME gathered in St Albans city centre to help raise awareness of the condition.

The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.

Members of St Albans ME Group set up a stall just off St Peter’s Street on Saturday, May 12 as part of ME and Fibromyalgia Awareness Week.

They displayed rows of shoes on the pavement as part of the #millionsmissing campaign, which represents all those who are forced to be absent from normal social activities due to the debilitating condition.

ME, or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, causes severe, persistent fatigue and chronic pain, and can also cause memory or concentration problems, clumsiness, flu-like symptoms, anxiety and more.

Maxine Ellis, chair of St Albans ME Group, said: “The hashtag #millionsmissing is a campaign to protest against the lack of research or treatment for the condition, and that’s on a global scale so they have the hashtag worldwide.

The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.

“We did it because we feel it’s obviously important to campaign for more research and funding, to raise awareness of the condition and to make people aware that we are here as a group.

“At the moment we’re covering all of Hertfordshire because there’s a lack of support. The NHS has had a complete change around recently so we are sort of in the dark about it.

“It’s considered a life-long condition most of the time - some people have had it for 37 years and never gone back to work.”

Members of the group were asked to provide shoes labelled with tags stating the name of the person with the condition and what they are missing out on as a result.

The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.The St Albans ME Group stall near St Peter's Street.

Maxine said: “The shoes represent the people who are missing from society. It’s quite a powerful image.

“It’s to be visible and have a voice, and it’s so those of us who can’t manage to get out are represented. It’s about saying just because you can’t get out of the house it doesn’t mean you don’t exist.”

The St Albans group, which has around 120 members, also wanted to raise awareness of fibromyalgia, which is a chronic pain condition often linked to ME.

For more information on the condition or to join the group go to www.stalbansmegroup.org.uk or email stalbans.m.e.group@gmail.com

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