AROUND 250,000 Britons have ME, but many people know very little about the illness.
For local people like Patrick Leahy, the work of Solihull and South Birmingham ME Support Group is hugely important.
The group is a lifeline for around 80 sufferers and holds ten meetings every year. These get-togethers are the perfect opportunity for members to meet up and have a chat.
Patrick, who was diagnosed 22-years-ago, said: “ME leaves people unable to leave their homes, unable to work, socialise or do anything without experiencing severe symptoms of pain and fatigue that can put them in bed for weeks, months... sometimes years.
“If I swapped places with that businessman, and tried to do a day’s work I’d soon get physical symptoms of pains in my chest so severe that I wouldn’t be able to stand up. I’d have to lie down. I certainly wouldn’t last a day.”
The illness can lead to joint pain, fatigue and flu-like symptoms, having a real impact on people’s careers and social life.
“Because ME is not widely understood it means we don’t get support out there, so it’s valuable being part of a support group and being with people who understand,” said Patrick. “Without a support group I might feel I was going crazy or I was the only one with this problem.”
The support group is this month’s featured charity in the Handmade Burger Gives Back campaign. All this year, the Touchwood restaurant is donating 25p from certain burger sales to charity.
Ten good causes stand a chance of winning the jackpot at the end of 12 months – with customers deciding who should get it.
To find out more about this group go to www.ssb4.me.uk .