Why AYME

The Association of Young People with M.E. is a UK charity that provides amazing support for children and young people who have M.E./CFS (Myalgic Encephalopathy). For people who don’t know what M.E is here is a little bit about it:

M.E. is a recognised medical condition that affects thousands of adults, children and young people every day. M.E causes a wide range of symptoms, including intense tiredness, aches and pains, and can make it very difficult to concentrate or perform everyday tasks easily. Symptoms can come and go, and will vary from person to person. Some people are only mildly affected; others struggle to manage normal school or working hours and may have to cut back a lot on their social life; while a small percentage of patients have to stay in bed, and aren’t able to look after themselves or eat properly.

The reason am I running the Manchester 10k for AYME this May is because I want to give back to this amazing charity for helping me through quite a hard time. Not a lot of people know, but I suffered from M.E and AYME’s work helped my family and I with the struggles of dealing with this illness. The charity works very hard to support and help families and individuals and I want to give back. I am lucky now M.E is not a daily issue for me, AYME’s advice really helped me learn how to cope and understand the illness. I love being active but I had to learn to pace myself. AYME teaches strategies on how to cope and carry on living a normal life without the stress and pull of M.E stopping you doing what you want to do. I have dramatically improved health wise from learning how to pace, managing my energy levels and learning more about M.E. Now I want to give back to this hardworking charity by running the Manchester 10k, which eight years ago is something I would never of thought I would be able to do.

Eight years ago while at secondary school I seemed to be ill a lot, I had no energy and I seemed to ache all the time. At first I thought it was just me, me being lazy, me being silly, but it got worse. This was mainly due to me fighting back and not understanding what my body was trying to tell me, I was ill I needed to slow down. After many trips to the doctors, so many blood test and many scans I was told I had M.E.

For a while I did not attend school full time. I only managed the odd half day here and there, this was possibly the most annoying obstacle I had to tackle. Having a few days off school is great fun for most teenagers, but having long periods of time where I just did not have the energy to sit in class got unbelievably frustrating. It was not the boredom factor, it was because I was so tired and drained, I didn’t have the energy to be bored, but it was the fact I felt I was missing out. I had, and still have, a great group of friends and worried I would miss out, be forgotten and left behind, although this wasn’t the case at all. However being trapped inside your house when all you want to do is sit in class with your friends giggling about cute boys and planning the weekend was uncontrollably heartbreaking for a teenager.

AYME does not just work with the individual who have M.E but also works with family members, schools, partners and anyone who needs advice and help with how to help, support and understand M.E. I can’t stress just how much this charity helped my family and I. With M.E it is so hard to explain yourself, even to the people closest to you, saying you’re tired and having people who don’t understand say to you oh just take a nap, I wish it was that simple! I was very lucky, my family, friends and boyfriend at the time were amazing. I must of been a nightmare at times as I use to get so angry that I was not able to go out and do things at certain times because it would be pushing my energy limits too far. I would storm off out and see friends knowing full well for days after I’d be ill which would effect other plans I had made for that week. The turning point for me was when one day I wasn’t able to get up and make something to eat, I just couldn’t, I had no energy or strength in me just to get up and simply make toast, this was when I knew I had to start listening to my body. I started seeing a specialist in Sheffield who referred me to AYME and from there it all became so much easier to manage, understand and cope.

The hard facts of M.E are not fun to read or live with but there are methods and ways of dealing with it and AYME are there to help and support. I could write so much more about everything that has happened, the ups the downs, the slip ups and the achievements but I wouldn’t know where to start or where to end really. AYME was a massive part of helping me tackle the feeling of being trapped. They showed me I could do anything I wanted, however climbing a mountain wasn’t advised at the start, but I just had to learn to pace and listen to my body. Right now I am the healthiest I have ever been, yes I still get tired and I do seem to get a cold ever other week but I have completed my postgraduate course, I am now working part time, I am going out when I want, planning holidays and now training for a 10k run!

 I am so grateful for the work of AYME as now I generally believe M.E will never slow me down again!

If you want to read more about M.E I have included links to the AYME official ‘What is M.E./CFS’ and ‘The Hard Facts’ Website pages:

http://www.ayme.org.uk/what-is-me-cfs

http://www.ayme.org.uk/web/guest/the-hard-facts

I am also running the 10k in memory of my Granddad who recently passed away. I will be running an raising money for Alzheimer’s Society. Here is the link to my just giving page:

https://www.justgiving.com/Rachel-Running-Mason

Off to make a brew (and toast!) x

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