Imagine having an invisible debilitating illness, having no idea what caused it and having no prognosis? Welcome to the world of M.E.
Hands up who has heard of M.E? Hands up who knows what it is?
Sally Callow, who works as a Library Assistant here in the University Library, has created a global fundraiser to raise awareness of M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and raise £10,000 for the ME Association, which is based here in the UK. These funds will go towards desperately needed medical research. M.E. currently affects 17 million people worldwide (250,000 here in the UK) and yet no one knows what causes it and there is no treatment available for sufferers.Foggy Dog is a soft toy dog; he is being sent around the world in a social media driven campaign. His mission is to raise £10k and travel one million miles. So far he has travelled around 72,000 miles and has visited New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Denmark, and Jordan to name just a few.
He either goes on holiday with people who volunteer to Foggy-sit or travels first class surrounded by bubbles (jiffy bag in the post). Foggy sitters have to take photos of Foggy in each location to prove he has travelled – the wackier the photo the better! Sally felt Foggy’s globetrotting would reflect the global nature of the illness. It can affect anyone, at any age, anywhere. Most people know someone who is a sufferer whether it is a family member, friend or maybe someone at school was always off sick because they were ‘tired’.
Sally is herself an M.E. sufferer though, luckily, only has moderate symptoms. Foggy is an identical match to Sally’s own dog Patch (a Parson’s Jack Russell) who looks after her, in his own way, when she is having a particularly bad day. M.E. is a very wide ranging illness and no two sufferers are exactly the same. Some are bed ridden, others housebound and then there are people like Sally who can still manage to work full time (with difficulty).
Here is the list of Sally’s symptoms:
- Extreme tiredness
- Muscle fatigue
- Inability to control body temperature (extreme hot/extreme cold)
- Brain fog
- Memory issues
- Inability to concentrate for more than 20 minutes at a time
- Unrefreshing sleep/insomnia/erratic sleep
- Sensitivity to light (sunlight and indoor lighting)
- Delicate immune system – swollen glands when run down
- Flu-like symptoms most days
- ‘Dead legs’
- Occasionally unable to feel arms and legs
- Unable to switch brain off – always in overdrive
…there are several more symptoms but these will do for now!
This invisible illness is misunderstood and it is Foggy’s mission to get people to understand how debilitating it can be. The campaign began in July 2014 and is ending in July 2015. He has already raised £2052 but still has a long way to go! In the next couple of months he is heading to Kerala in India, going to visit the Neighbours set to meet the cast in Australia and then on to Hawaii and Japan. He is going to be a very busy Foggy!
Foggy has his own website! All of his campaign information and blog can be seen at http://www.mefoggydog.org.
He can also be found on most social media sites:
Facebook ME Foggy Dog
Google+ Sally Callow/MEFoggyDog
Pinterest ME Foggy Dog
If you would like to get involved please email Sally direct, especially if you are off on holiday/business trip and would like to Foggy sit: firstname.lastname@example.org. Most importantly if you would like to donate and help Foggy reach his £10k target please donate at http://www.justgiving.com/mefoggydog
Thanks for reading!