Sprinter Usain Bolt has shown his support for a West Sussex charity helping people with ME.
Currently the fastest human in the world, the Olympian presented reMEmber with a t-shirt, which will be worn by secretary Bill Kent on Sunday at the annual sponsored walk.
As in previous years, Bill’s Windmill Walk for reMEmber will be from Clayton Windmills to Ditchling Beacon and back, starting at 10.30am and finishing at about 1pm.
Bill said: “I would like as many as possible to join me and to get sponsors. If you can’t do the walk yourself, ask a friend or relative to do it, or you can sponsor me. Every penny we raise will go to help adults and children who have ME. Let’s beat last year’s £350.
“This event is supported by Usain Bolt, who has donated a T-shirt which he has autographed.”
The walk is also supported by the Rev Peter Owen Jones, TV star of Around the World in Eighty Faiths, who said: “ME devastates people’s lives. I have witnessed this first hand. We need money to fund ongoing research. Please offer your support by either joining our sponsored walk over the Sussex Downs or by offering to sponsor those of us who will be doing it.”
A long-term illness, ME, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, causes muscle fatigue and weakness, memory, eyesight and sleep problems, plus irritable bowel. There is no cure yet.
Janice Kent, founder and director of reMEmber, said the charity helped sufferers in a number of different ways and gave a good example.
She said: “One of our members had great problems with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) when Personal Independence Payment (PIP) replaced Disabled Living Allowance (DLA). They maintained she was fit enough to do some work.
“The charity wrote a letter to the DWP explaining that she had attended reMEmber’s self-management classes and, as a result, had become very successful at managing her condition. However, she never recovered enough to resume even part-time work.
“The DWP then claimed that reMEmber was just a sort of chat group for people who were unwell. Our member’s husband was so annoyed about this that he persuaded her to appeal against the DWP’s decision. He went with her to the independent appeal tribunal and explained, with some force, that reMEmber had experts working for them and had doctors and other professionals as advisers. They had been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2015. His wife’s general condition had improved a lot through her contact with reMEmber but she was still unfit for work. The tribunal upheld the appeal.”
The charity also campaigns for better services for ME patients in the county and nationwide. It holds regular feedback sessions in Littlehampton, Southwick and Haywards Heath, where members meet to discuss their progress.
It gives patients and carers help and advice, such as where to go for medical help, and supports research into the illness.
It also holds social and fundraising events and produces a lively and informative newsletter. Each year, reMEmber raises about £10,000, all of which is used for the benefit of ME patients.
The charity has no paid staff and raises most of its money from events in the area.
For more information, contact Janice Kent at reMEmber, PO Box 1647, Hassocks, West Sussex, BN6 9GQ, telephone 01273 831733, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.remembercfs.org.uk