The personal experience of living with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) has driven Rapierstar’s Karen Avery to complete a trio of tough physical challenges over a four-month period to raise funds for a leading charity dedicated to helping those with the chronic long-term condition, Action for ME.
Karen, who heads up the accounts team at Rapierstar, has already successfully completed her first two challenges – the Manchester 10K Great North Run and the Wilmslow Half Marathon – and is now preparing for a demanding 24.5 mile walk to scale the three Yorkshire Peaks in August.
Wholeheartedly supported by everyone at Rapierstar, friends, family and her network of customers and suppliers, Karen decided to undertake these three physically demanding challenges to help raise money to support the work of Action for ME, and also to raise awareness of this often misunderstood condition.
ME is a long-term (chronic), fluctuating, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems, more commonly the nervous and immune systems. It affects an estimated 250,000 people in the UK, and around 17 million people worldwide, with symptoms typically being debilitating pain and fatigue, plus a range of other symptoms associated with post-exertional malaise and the body’s inability to recover after expending even small amounts of energy.
Karen says: “Having suffered from ME myself for a number of years, I know how hard it can be to live with. When I should have been out on the town with my mates in my 20s, I was suffering from this illness after having glandular fever. I just didn’t get better. I wasn’t able to stand up for more than a few seconds, with no energy to move about the house never mind the outdoors. It makes you feel absolutely awful all the time.
“You don’t so much live but exist with this illness, and it takes a long time to learn to live with it. Having support is extremely important as you do not have the energy to fight your corner, which is why Action for ME have been so important to me. Getting through a day is hard enough but if you are alone without a support network with this illness it must be hell. That’s why I’m completing this mammoth triple fundraising challenge!”
Action for ME works to empower people with ME to fulfil their potential and secure the care and support they need, while working towards a greater understanding of the illness and ultimately a cure. One of their key objectives, like Karen’s, is to end the ignorance, injustice and neglect experienced by people with ME, by meeting need now to improve the lives of children, adults and families with ME while taking action to secure change for the future.
If you would like to support Karen’s fundraising efforts and the work of Action for ME, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/karen-avery5 to donate.