18 October 2013

Christmas Cards and 2014 Calendar now available!

With Christmas fast approaching it’s time to start stocking up on those Christmas cards and calendars. This year, thanks to the ‘Let’s do it for ME!’ team and Invest in ME working busily behind the scenes, you’ll be spoilt for choice! Not only are there Christmas cards featuring the fourteen winners’ photos of this year’s ‘Let’s Get Snapping for ME!’ photo competition at a competitive price that includes p&p, you can also grab an extra bargain as the remaining Christmas cards from last year’s competition are available at a reduced price. Our fabulous 2014 Calendar featuring stunning photos of places all around the UK is also available to buy. All items are sold in aid of Invest in ME’s biomedical research fund and can be ordered through their website by clicking here. What’s more, they’ll all be delivered directly to your door: that’s the sort of Christmas shopping we like!

***** Watermarks are to protect copyright only and are not printed on cards or calendars. *****

2013 Christmas cards are all 7" x 5" (17.8cm by 12.7cm) and have the message Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year inside. They are sold in packs of 10 of individual designs and a mixed pack (featuring the first ten shown below). All prices include postage and packaging.
UK £4.25
Europe £6.50
Rest of world £7.50


2012 Christmas cards are all A5 and have the message With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year inside. They are sold in packs of 10 of individual designs. All prices include postage and packaging:
UK £3.00
Europe £5.00
Rest of world £6.00



2014 Calendar
Our 2014 A4 calendar features 12 stunning photos, one for each month, of places all around the UK. All photos are taken by those with ME or supporters of our campaign. There’s a generous grid for each month, handy for writing in those forthcoming appointments and events; making it not only perfect for yourself but a great gift too. Prices per calendar, inclusive of postage and packaging, are:
UK £7.00
Europe £8.00
Rest of world £10.00


Happy Shopping!

14 October 2013

‘Let’s Get Snapping for M.E!’ 2013 Christmas Cards Photo Competition Extra Winners!

The ‘Let’s do it for ME!’ team love going that extra mile and this competition is no exception! We’ve been busy coming up with lots of ideas and liaising with the lovely folk at Invest in ME since the competition closed to see what ‘extras’ we could rustle up.

Given the high standard of shortlisted entries, Invest in ME said, "It was difficult to choose this year as the photos were really good." So much so, they were keen to have some more photos printed up as Christmas cards! In the end four more photos were chosen, from the twenty most voted for in the online vote. 

But before we announce the extra four winners, we’d like to let you in on another treat we have in store for you all in the run up to Christmas. The team were discussing that it would be nice to do something Christmassy to get into the festive spirit this year, particularly given the isolation many people with ME experience which is all the more apparent at this time of year. We also wanted to give, especially since the standard of entries has been so high, those who didn’t win or make it to the online vote a chance to shine. We decided a great way to encompass all this would be to have an online advent calendar featuring photos entered into the competition, with a different photo for each day. Some will be from those shortlisted, others you will have never seen before, unless of course it happens to be your photo! We’re finalising the details at the moment but once we have further news we’ll let you all know, so keep an eye out for updates on Facebook, Twitter and our blog.

You’ll also be pleased to know that the 2013 Christmas cards featuring the winning photos from this competition, including those featured below, are now available to buy.   You can also purchase our fabulous 2014 Calendar.  The remaining stock of Christmas cards from last year’s competition is available at reduced prices. All of which are sold in aid of Invest in ME’s biomedical research fund and which you can order from Invest in ME - click here

Finally, we can now proudly announce the four extra winners in our 'Let’s Get Snapping for ME!' 2013 Competition. It’s like Christmas has come early! (Entries appear in the order they featured in the Online Vote.)
Congratulations and well done!


7 October 2013

Debra-Dee Designs for M.E!

Introducing the latest member of the inspiring team of Make ME Crafters 
Debbie Bowers of Debra-Dee Designs

Debbie wrote:  I have had M.E since the winter of 2010, and it was only earlier this year that I decided (and felt able) to try and invest some of my, albeit, precious energy into doing something creative. I had watched a Kirsty Allsopp craft programme on TV a couple of years or so ago, and was completely in awe of the free motion embroidery technique she used to 'draw' with a sewing machine. At the time, I dismissed it as something I could try as a) I didn't own a sewing machine b) I simply didn't have the energy to try something new and c) I have carpal tunnel in both wrists and awful nerve pain in my feet and I felt that it would be far too painful to operate a sewing machine. However, in the spring of 2012, my doctor persuaded me to try Gabapentin for nerve pain. Thankfully, it was finally something which made a difference to the intensity of my nerve pain; while it hadn't disappeared completely, and I still had all the other ghastly M.E symptoms, it did mean that I could write and even draw ... both things that I used to love, but had been unable to do without intolerable pain, since having M.E.

As people who have M.E. know only too well, one's quality of life is affected so dramatically by this awful disease, that finding things that are both pleasurable and that we are able to do, without too many consequences, is often a hard task. So, for the Christmas of 2012, I decided to request a sewing machine from 'Santa'. I was a little concerned, to be honest, that my purchase would sit and just gather dust, but from the moment I first used it, I felt a huge buzz from being able to doing something creative and actually make something. It was really rather exciting .. and an emotion that I have felt little of since having M.E. Physical and mental fatigue were, and still are, a big issue; I have to be strict with myself, even when I am having loads of fun. I try to make sure I have regular breaks before my symptoms begin to exacerbate, or it can take me days to recover. And there are plenty of days and weeks when I know I simply cannot do it without severely worsening my symptoms. But ... I love it; and it has given me a sense of personal satisfaction that really is uplifting.

After reading a very inspiring piece this summer about the very talented 'Mirry Mirry' raising £1000 for Invest in ME, through selling her hand embroidered hoops, I was inspired to do something similar. I decided to set up a Facebook page and test the waters as to what people felt about my work and I made a number of gifts for family and friends. This has then has extended and I now have a small number of orders in the pipe line for bespoke orders. I then made a plan that the money that I recoup from the orders could be invested into materials to make hoops for IiME donations. I will therefore be doing two wonderful things ... Raising money for an incredible charity AND have fun being creative.

Please take a look at my Facebook page, Debra-Dee Designs: www.facebook.com/debradeedesigns.
I aim to have regular sales specifically for Invest in ME, and if you request a bespoke, personalised item, and are not in a rush for it, I will gladly accept payment through my Just giving page, as long as you mention this when placing the order.

For me, Invest in ME offers real hope for the future in that the only way we can truly fight this dreadful disease is via biomedical research into cause, treatment and ultimately a cure.

A big THANK YOU to Debbie for supporting Invest in ME charity's BIG cause - Let's do it for ME! 

4 October 2013


Summer Picture Quiz – Win £50!

Raising money for Invest In ME’s Biomedical Research Fund

PLUS all funds up to £750 will be MATCHED & donated to

Invest In ME’s Rituximab Research Fund!

Take Part on Facebook - Only £2 to enter
You don't have to enter the quiz to help reach the matched donation amount by donating £2
Closing Date - 25th October 2013

Hello! Can you name the very famous man below? If so, then you’re one point closer to winning £50! It's taken us a fair few months to compile (health reasons), but we promise this years quiz is more fun and yes it’s not as difficult as last years’!

It’s all about pictures: pictures you must identify, and sometimes answer questions on, from categories that include TV, Nature, Music & Puzzles. It’s only £2 to enter and first prize is a whopping £50! 2nd prize is £20 and luxury organic chocolate is 3rd prize.

All prize money has been donated, so EVERY penny you give will go to Invest In ME's Biomedical Fund. Also, once again, a very generous friend has agreed to match all money raised (up to £750) & donate it to The Invest In ME's Rituximab Research Fund. Please see our Just Giving Page for further details. So, every pound you give will be worth DOUBLE FOR CHARITY.

To enter, it’s simple, first you pay for your quiz entry by either using TextGiving - simply text SPQZ88 followed by the amount: £2 (+ a donation if you choose) to 70070 or
JustGiving: CLICK HERE 
Then send your name (as it appears on your Facebook account) and the word “Paid” in an email to: Summer-Picture-Quiz@sky.com. We’ll email you an answer-sheet and you are then free to add yourself to the Summer Picture Quiz Facebook page.  

You can return to the quiz page as often as you like before completing your answer sheet. Closing date is: 25th October 2013. Finally, if you can share this message, that would be fantastic.

Thank you  and GOOD LUCK!
Jane Hurst and Geoff Allen

3 October 2013

My A-Z of M.E. Book of Poems by Ros Lemarchand

My A-Z of M.E. is a book of 50 poems about experiences of living with myalgic encephalomyelitis, written by Ros Lemarchand. The book is dedicated to all those living with a chronic illness and a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to Invest in ME.

"It is really good to hear Ros decided to publish her poems. They are so good and to the point. The foreword is very good too as a short explanation of what ME is. People get a good idea of ME by reading this book. Many thanks Ros, and all others involved."

Many people on Facebook will know Ros from the information and support she provides and where she has been sharing her poems over a number of years.  

Her poems on the subject of sleep were featured throughout May 2013 M.E. Awareness Week for The Big Sleep for ME annual event, run by Julia Cottam in aid of Invest in ME. Julia gave Ros the encouragement, help and support to publish her work.

The book is available in paperback and for Kindle on Amazon - links below. If you don't have a Kindle, the Kindle app can be downloaded for free onto computers.

Ros said, "I am pleased at last to be able to share all my poems about M.E. in one book. I have been working on this slowly over the last year or so and at last it has come to fruition. I hope you will buy my book so as to raise more awareness and understanding about this very difficult illness. At the same time you will be helping Invest in ME. as a percentage of the sales will be going to that charity. I hope you enjoy my poems and you feel that you can empathise with them. Perhaps you might like to share them with friends and family so that they can have a better understanding of how it feels to live with M.E. Although my poems are primarily written with M.E. in mind, some of them may also just as well apply to other chronic and invisible illnesses."

In the introduction to her book, Ros writes:

I first became ill in 2002 and at the time I didn't know what was wrong with me. It felt like the worst flu ever but it didn't go away.  
I tried courageously many times to carry on working until I completely collapsed. My doctor at the time hadn`t got a clue. So I changed doctors, was sent for lots of tests and by a process of elimination I was told in 2003 that I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 

Although it was a relief to have a name to my illness I knew nothing about it. So I read as much as I could in order to learn more. I soon discovered the more appropriate name was Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and I prefer to use that at all times. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome just sounds like I'm a bit tired and it's so much more than that.

Since my diagnosis I have struggled with this very difficult and invisible illness. I have faced disbelief and ignorance from family, friends, doctors and many others. I still do to this day. Many people with M.E. or other chronic and invisible illnesses share the same experiences.

I had to stop working and consider my health. I was suffering on many fronts and was only getting worse not better. It was a hard decision to make. So my life has had to change. 

At times it's made me feel angry, frustrated or even depressed. I have gone through a grieving process. I've lost that person I once used to be. I've lost the life I once had. I have been forced to change, adapt and learn ways of coping with a chronic illness. As M.E. is a remitting and relapsing illness I've had good periods and some really bad ones. It's an illness forever changing and new symptoms developing all the time. 

With little or no support from the medical profession I've had to learn about this illness and how best to manage it myself. Over the years I have probably become a self expert. Yet even now this illness can still take me by surprise.

Fortunately I have found help and support from others like myself on social networking sites and other internet forums. Without this support I don't know how I would have survived. It's comforting and reassuring to know that I am not facing this alone.  I have observed others expressing the same feelings, emotions, experiences and problems as myself.  This has given me the source for many of my poems.  

Through my poems I want to show the reality of a life with M.E. and to increase understanding and awareness. And that's why a percentage of this book will go to the UK Charity Invest in ME. (IiME) who do so much for the cause of M.E. in raising awareness and understanding.

Thank you
Ros LeMarchand

My A-Z of M.E. is available in paperback here on Amazon.co.uk 

Kindle version is here on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
Buying from Amazon via easyfundraising has the bonus of an extra donation to Invest in ME at no extra cost to the buyer - easyfundraising is very easy to register with and to use - a great way to raise extra funds for free: click here

A big thank you Ros!

2 October 2013

Letters for Louise

Louise and boyfriend Rob
I consider myself to be very lucky; I have some very special people around me who are and have always been amazingly supportive of my ME. They are incredibly understanding - they never question my ability to do things, whether it is on a good day or a bad day, and are never offended if I need to go off and rest. Actually, they’re usually the ones who pick up on my fading energy levels and leave me to it. They understand that if I spend a couple of hours out with friends, I’ll have spent three days either side building my strength up and then recovering. I’d be lost without them.

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago about what it’s like dealing with ‘the other side’; those people who DON’T understand. The ones who think that all we are is tired, that it’s all in our heads. The ones who think that by exercising and thinking positively, we can somehow cure our neurological condition. I explained that to me, sometimes it’s worse living with the misbelief, the lack of understanding and the stigma surrounding ME than it is with the physical symptoms.

Louise in hospital 
I’ve personally found it really difficult being fairly young and having ME. I developed it after getting tonsillitis as a teenager and never really getting better. And it took a stupidly long time to get a diagnosis so for ages I thought it was just me. I never really did the whole student nightlife thing at university and struggled to keep pushing to live a demanding, energetic life like those around me. I’m now 24, and even though I’ve had ME for a number of years now I still struggle to adapt my life to one that doesn’t make me very ill (I ended up bed ridden for six months following a big push to finish my teacher training like those around me). And throughout that time, I’ve come across plenty of people who don’t believe me- some of whom are really close to me. Even if they’ve never necessarily said anything, I think you just know; you have that instinct. And as a lot of you will understand, it leads to so much frustration because you just want to convince people so much that you really do want to get better. That’s all you want. I’d never in a million years imagined that there could be an illness that takes such a cruel hold on your life and affects your social life, your relationships, your career and your feelings of self-worth so dramatically - yet still be neglected so much by society.

It occurred to me that so many people feel like this too and if only there was a way of lots of us explaining it to those who question ME then it might have more of an impact and lead to more understanding. I then had an idea about putting together a book of letters from ME sufferers addressed to anybody who has shown them disbelief or misunderstanding; it could be to friends, family, colleagues, health professionals, society in general - anyone. As I thought about it more and more I decided that I could publish the book, either as a hard-copy or as an e-book, and donate any money from it to Invest in ME who do so much for us. And hopefully, it could become quite a valuable resource for helping those who aren’t knowledgeable or understanding of ME see what it’s like from reading the hard truth from lots of us coming together.

This is where I need help - I need people as many people with ME as possible, whether mildly affected or very severely ill (or somewhere in between), to write a letter to be included in the book, addressed to anyone they like. You can write as much or as little as you like; as guide the ones I’ve had so far have been between one and two pages long but it is completely up to you. All the letters going into the book will be made anonymous, so names will be changed and there will be no link back to you - unless you say otherwise, that’s fine too. There is no pressure and no rush; my target is to get things together so that I can publish it before / in time for ME Awareness Week 2014, but again that’s a target.

I’ve been so moved by the letters that have been sent my way so far and so comforted to know that we’re going through this together - they’ve all been brilliant. So please be as honest and as open as you feel comfortable!

If you want to write a letter, I’ve made a closed Facebook group called ‘Letters for Louise!’ where you can post your letter if you want, or there are details of how to send it to me. You can also email it to me at looby_louness@hotmail.co.uk

Thank you so much in advance, and I’m really looking forward to sharing the finished book with you!

Louise Harding