27 September 2013

‘Let’s Get Snapping for M.E!’ 2013 Photo Competition Winners Announced!

The ‘Let’s Do it for ME’ team came up with the idea of the ‘Let’s Get Snapping for M.E!’ last year when we were discussing plans to sell Christmas cards for the very first time. We wanted to go that extra mile and do something a little bit special and more relevant to ME than simply buying in stock images. In the end, we decided that it would be a really good idea to run this competition whereby those, particularly within the ME community, could make a contribution by sending in photos and have winning entries printed on our cards. We realised that this would be a great opportunity for ME sufferers in particular, whose talent often remains behind closed doors, to have the chance to be acknowledged and celebrated. There couldn’t be a more powerful and positive way to increase ME awareness whilst raising vital funds towards biomedical research into the disease.
The response to the competition has been simply amazing, with 215 photos entered and a staggering 2864 votes cast in our online poll; we couldn’t have asked or wished for more. The great success of the ‘Let’s Get Snapping for M.E.’ simply wouldn’t have been possible without your support and we would like to say a very big thank to everyone who got involved. We would also like to thank those that sent in and posted up messages of support and thanks. This means a great deal to us and makes all the hard work the team, many of whom have ME themselves, have put in behind the scenes worth it.

The standard of entries was particularly high again this year. This has made it difficult for everyone to choose which to vote for, but particularly so for Invest in ME, who had the unenviable task of judging the final stage by choosing ten winning photos from the twenty most voted in our Online Vote.

Each winner, to remind those that haven’t read our earlier posts, will have their photos printed up on our 2013 Christmas cards and receive a free mixed pack of cards featuring their photo. The cards will be sold in aid of Invest in ME’s biomedical research fund. We hope to have these available to purchase around mid October.

For those shortlisted entrants that missed out and to those who didn’t make the online vote don’t be disappointed. The team, as ever, has been coming up with lots of ideas and we have something very special lined up in the run up to Christmas. We’re keeping that strictly under wraps for the time being! We may be possibly branching out into other products too, so keep an eye out for updates!

We hope our competition inspires you in the coming months to dust off your cameras ready for next year’s competition. And with the continuing success of this competition it will definitely be a regular feature in our calendar and hopefully yours too! Here’s to an even bigger and better Let’s Get Snapping for M.E! in 2014. Let’s do it for ME!

So without further ado, as this the moment you’ve all been waiting for, ‘Let’s do it for ME’ can proudly announce the ten winners of ‘Let’s Snapping for M.E! 2013 Competition. (Entries appear in the order they featured in the Online Vote.)
Congratulations and well done!

24 September 2013

Great News - £200k Pledge to IiME for UK Rituximab Trial!

                             Thanks so much to Invest in ME and all who support their wonderful work.
The following statement is on Invest in ME website (click here)

IiME/UCL Rituximab Clinical Trial
Status Update
 One Event Can Change Everything
September 2013

When Invest in ME announced in June that we were planning a UK trial of rituximab for ME there was a great deal of interest raised.

The rituximab trial follows the exciting work which has been, and is being performed in Norway by the Haukeland University hospital researchers Professor Olav Mella and Dr Oystein Fluge.

Since these excellent Norwegian researchers came to present at the Invest in ME conferences in 2011 we have followed their progress, and invited them back every year for our BRMEC researchers meetings and IIMEC* conferences.

The research work has been backed up by impressive and dedicated patient advocacy by the Norwegian ME Forening which has raised the profile of ME in Norway and throughout the world. Their tireless work has encouraged IiME. The more recent success of the ME and You campaign to raise funds for the Norwegian research has created real hope amongst patients.

At the IIMEC7 conference IiME announced our intention to work toward establishing a clinical trial of rituximab in UK [1].

In updates published through July and August IiME has stated that all that is required for the trial to proceed is the funding. In the spirit of cooperation we have stated that support for the trial was welcome and that IiME would acknowledge all such support.

Our supporters have risen to the occasion and valiantly supported the IiME/UCL trial with wonderful enthusiasm. The imaginative Let’s Do It For ME campaign has continued to produce ideas to raise funds and awareness and The MATRIX is an example of a unique method of achieving both.
We have had donations from around the world, ranging from £1 to £3,000. We have had a very generous donation of £25,000 from a foundation and this has allowed the funds raised to grow to £59,000 in a very short space of time. We have also had fantastic moral support from a great many.

As such, IiME and our supporters have managed to initiate and organise something which many thought was not possible.

IiME made it clear from the beginning that we welcomed support for the IiME/UCL clinical trial from other organisations. Our objective is to ensure that a clinical trial of rituximab is allowed to be performed by the best researchers possible and to ensure that this trial makes a valuable contribution to the collective research pool. This is why we have been keen from the beginning, and since our inception as a charity, to initiate collaboration with other like-minded international charities and organisations, and build collaborations between ME researchers across continents.

We believe in achieving results by the most direct method, where possible. For IiME the issue of making rapid progress in ME research is important, it is personal. The need is here - the need is now.
We arranged a specific web site which has been set up to inform on all aspects of the UK rituximab trial. This is at -

and we reiterated the current status [2]

  • We have the facilities available.
  • We have the researchers available.
  • We have the best expertise possible available.
  • We have the means of fundraising for this trial available (see The MATRIX [3] ) and we have a campaign to raise funds
  • We have emphasised that the only remaining element required was funding

We have reached this position thanks to the vision, efforts and help from Professor Edwards, Dr Cambridge, UCL and our supporters.

Thanks to the amazing efforts of our supporters we have been able to agree already to initiate a preliminary study on B-cells at UCL.

Professor Edwards will shortly visit Bergen – a trip arranged by IiME as part of our collaborative attempts to unite researchers and build on experience.
We can now announce that IiME have been given a pledge of £200,000 from a foundation to supplement the amount we have raised already.
This would bring our rituximab fund to almost £260,000 – that is over two-thirds of the requirement for the clinical trial to proceed.
The foundation has two conditions to this pledge
  • That IiME continue to be the lead patient organisation steering this trial
  • That IiME continue to raise funds for the remaining £90,000 that is required for the full trial to proceed

 The trustees of IiME have accepted these conditions willingly.

We are thankful and grateful for this extraordinarily generous offer from the donating foundation. It is an amazing gesture from compassionate and caring people who want to make a difference. It allows the hopes of many patients to become a reality – allows a vision to be maintained that there is a future for ME patients and that we, patients and families, can make a difference.

We have communicated this to the UCL team with whom we are working to make this trial a reality.
We are now distributing this information to our supporters.

There were many who doubted that IiME and our supporters could achieve this. Though we knew this would be a daunting task we have never doubted it was possible.

We continue our efforts to raise the remaining funds.

To our supporters who have been with us since the beginning and everyone who has contributed in so many ways to this trial we want you to know this is your result. It is what you have achieved. It is what we have achieved together.

We thank all those who are supporting this trial and we will continue to provide information on the status of the trial as we progress.

We continue to welcome support. Please contact IiME directly if you or your organisation would like to assist or contribute. 

If anyone would like to ask any questions about the UK rituximab trial then please use the Contact form on the rituximab web site [4].

A status is available [5].

With this trial we can take a huge leap forward in ME research.

If you are also interested in the other research projects that Invest in ME is  organising and/or funding please see our main website and free newsletter [6].

Let’s Do Research! Let’s Do It For ME!Thank You.

 Invest in ME                                            September 2013

Further Reading

Support ME Awareness - Invest in ME
September 2013

20 September 2013

‘Let’s Get Snapping for ME’s!’ 2013 Christmas Cards Photo Competition Online Vote

UPDATE: The online vote is now closed. Many thanks to everyone who voted. Photos with the most votes will be sent onto Invest in ME who will choose out of these the winning photos that will be printed on this year's Christmas cards. We'll be announcing the winners on Friday 27th

There was great excitement amongst the ‘Let’s do it for ME’ team as all the entries were being posted up for the first stage of judging earlier this week. We knew, following the success of last year’s competition, they were going to be good and you didn’t disappoint us! The quality and creativeness of photos has been simply amazing, with the added bonus of quite a few humorous ones too. Well over 200 photographs were entered in the end, so we certainly have had our work cut out looking through them all. This has made selecting those for the online vote whilst difficult also extremely enjoyable. We want to say a very big thank you to everyone for taking part.

But now it’s your turn to vote! You can vote in two ways, either by sending an email to fundraising4me@gmail.com stating your chosen photos. (To make it easier to identify and vote for photos we have numbered them. When emailing us, all you need to do is state the number of the photo or photos you have chosen.) Alternatively, you can go to our Facebook Competition Event’s Page and simply vote for your chosen photos by 'Liking' them. You can vote for as many photos as you want. There are 31 photos in all.  But remember, online voting closes at midnight on Sunday 22nd September. Those with the most votes will be sent onto Invest in ME, who will then judge the final stage by choosing from these the winning photographs the ones that will go on to be printed. We aim to print ten photos on our 2013 Christmas Cards and will announce the winners on 27th September, both on our blog and Competition Event’s Page. We hope to have the cards ready for sale by mid-October.  They will all be sold in aid of Invest in ME's biomedical research fund.

But that’s not all. We have plans for something very special in the run up to Christmas using some of the entries – so watch this space!

Congratulations to everyone who's made it to the online vote!

Good luck!

11 September 2013

Free delivery on 2 or more products

  • No delivery costs for all orders including at least 2 items
  • Period: 10-17 September 2013
  • Voucher code: AUTUMN2013
Using the voucher code before checking out will subtract delivery costs if the basket contains 2 or more products.  This offer applies to all our campaign Spreadshirt shops.  Please click on the links below to browse the wide range of products and designs. 

ALL the seller proceeds from the above shops go direct to Invest in ME 
so let's take advantage of free delivery for ME! 

5 September 2013

‘Let’s get Snapping for M.E!’ 2013 Christmas Cards Photo Competition

5th September update - 10 days til competition ends!
Following the phenomenal success of last year’s competition it’s back - ‘Let’s get Snapping for M.E!’ 2013 is here! This is a fantastic opportunity to get your photos printed on Let’s Do it for ME’s 2013 Christmas cards. The cards will be sold to help raise money towards Invest in ME’s Biomedical Research Fund, which includes the Rituximab Research Fund for a UK research trial of this promising drug. We know there are many budding and talented photographers out there and we want to give you a chance to shine. The competition is open to anyone of any age. It really is that inclusive!

Photos can be of anything you like but must have a Christmassy feel such as traditional snowy scenes, snowmen, Christmas decorations, or something a little more inventive. It’s entirely up to you! You can have a look at last year’s shortlisted entries for ideas. All photos must be good quality images in digital format (JPEG, PNG or TIFF). Please email your photos to fundraising4me@gmail.com by 15th September 2013 and clearly state your name and email address. Those under 16 must have the permission of their parents/guardians. And for those that have never entered a photo competition before don’t be put off entering, the majority of those who entered last year’s competition had never done anything like this previously.

The Let’s Do it for ME team will judge the first stage, with the shortlisted photos being posted on this blog and on the Competition’s Event page on 20th September. The second stage, the exciting bit, is where you get to vote for your favourite ones. You can vote either by emailing us or casting votes on the Competition Event's Page. Voting will close at midnight on 22nd September. Those with the most votes will be sent onto Invest in ME, who will then judge the final stage by choosing from these the winning photographs that will go onto be printed. We aim to print ten photos and will officially announce the winners on 27th September. We hope to have the cards ready for sale by mid-October.

Winners will not only get their photos printed up on our cards but also receive a mixed pack of our Christmas cards featuring their winning photo. So let’s get snapping - because there’s never been a better way to share your talent and do something positive for ME!

Competition Rules:

1) Entrants agree that Let’s Do it for ME and Invest in ME are allowed to print winning photos for fundraising and awareness purposes.
2) Entrants agree that any photos sent in can be used for awareness purposes by Let’s Do it for ME and Invest in ME.
3) Entrants agree that their full names can be used in association with their photos.
4) Only five photos per person are allowed to be submitted into the competition.
5) The winners will be notified by email.
6) The results of the competition will be posted on this blog as well as on our Competition’s Facebook Event page.
7) Invest in ME reserve the right to replace winning photos if, when going to print, they are unable to reproduce a high quality image from them.
8) Let’s Do it for ME and Invest in ME’s decision is final.

If you have any questions regarding the competition please email us at fundraising4me@gmail.com or leave a post on our Competition Event page.

Good luck everyone!

To help you get a head start here’s a few tips and tricks

Create your own mini home studio
  • Find a naturally well lit spot in your home. A conservatory is particular good. Alternatively, a shady spot in the garden will do.
  • If the natural light isn’t very good indoors put the light on in the room, even use a lamp to help light what you are photographing. Try to avoid using a flash if you can, it tends to spoil photos.
  • To make a backdrop use fabric, card or material and drape it or lay it on a bed, chair or floor. In picture 1 we’ve used tinsel.

Other useful tips
  • Gather together objects you want to photo, material etc. and anything you think may be useful.  This means you have everything to hand, making it easier to experiment and less time and energy consuming.
  • Play around with your shorts taking them, for instance, from different angles and different perspectives.  You'll be surprised just what a difference this can make.  (see 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Make sure you don’t overtire yourself. Take rests.
  • If you find holding a camera difficult use something to rest it on when taking photos.
  • If taking photos outside a lightweight camping/fishing fold-out stool is very handy.
  • And most importantly have fun!

* All photos that feature have been taken with an 8MP point and shoot camera.