Could you be a sponsor of our Early and Accurate Diagnosis campaign? | 8 September 2015

I am writing to ask you to pledge your support for The ME Association’s Big Give Christmas Challenge – Early and Accurate Diagnosis of ME.

Alan CummingIn 2005, I lost someone very dear to me because he could no longer cope with his M.E. My late husband, Alan (left), caught ‘flu in late 2004, but then failed to recover. His doctors ran all the tests, but refused to diagnose him for six months. But a lot can happen in six months – employers start getting tetchy, finances peter out, and family relationships are stretched to breaking point. By the time they started ‘treating’ his illness, Alan was untreatable. He took his own life 10 years ago, on 30 October 2005.

If you have M.E., or know someone with it, you will know that you wouldn’t wish it on anybody – not even your worst enemy. But you will also know that the sooner M.E. is ‘caught’ the better – and that the sooner symptoms are treated (even before a firm diagnosis is made), patients stand a far greater chance of recovery.

But the message isn’t getting through to the people at the sharp end – the doctors. If we are to make any headway in reducing the numbers of people becoming severely ill with M.E., we’ve got to work closer with our doctors. In 2010, our Patient Management Survey found only 18% of respondents were diagnosed in less than six months. Judging by your comments, little has changed since then.

We need your support to raise the funds necessary to finance the distribution of leaflets and information cards to every doctor and every medical practice in the land. Our information campaign would help doctors better understand your needs and encourage them to have more confidence to ‘Diagnose ME Quickly’. This message will be reinforced at a seminar later on next year.

How you can help
Please help us to make a difference. Help us to give more people the chance, and hope, of a recovery from ME.

Please consider making a pledge of any amount of £100 or over to fund our Big Give Christmas Challenge – Early and Accurate Diagnosis of ME. This is part the UK’s biggest online match-funding campaign. Once a year only, it gives you the chance to quadruple donations made by our supporters. For further information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

To make your pledge, please simply fill out our pledge form by Friday 16 October at: https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/pledge/meassociation

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. And thank you for your support.

HELEN HYLAND
Fundraising Manager, The ME Association

PS Please vote in our MEA Quick Survey which asks: “How long did it take between the onset of your symptoms and a firm diagnosis of ME/CFS being made by a doctor?” It will help us with our publicity about the campaign.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


How does it work?
Your pledge will be used to match pound-for-pound all the donations received in the public part of the campaign in December – until the matched funding pot is empty. If people come online to donate quickly enough at midday on the first two days of the campaign – December 4 and 5 – that doubled-up donation will be doubled again by our charity champion.
Together, these funds give us the chance to unlock a potential £20,000 to pay for the Early Diagnose campaign. So, in the end, your pledge could be worth four times as much.

What is a pledge?
A Pledge means we don’t want your money now. It is a promise to match donations made between on the 4th and 5th of December 2015. It is a way of demonstrating and inspiring support for a cause that means a great deal to you. A pledge can be any amount of £100 or over.
If we raise less than we hope, you will be asked for a pro-rata payment. But if we raise more, your pledge remains the same.

How do I sign up?
To make your pledge, please simply fill out our pledge form by Friday October 16 at:
https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/pledge/meassociation

So when do I pay?
You will be contacted around December 14 and asked to make a payment on or before 15 January 2016. Don’t pay it in online during the Public Appeal itself. If you do that my mistake, it’s spent – your pledge is no longer available for matched funding.

Can I give again in the Christmas Challenge itself?
NO! But please do spread the word and encourage your friends and family to support Early and Accurate Diagnosis of ME during the Christmas Challenge between 4 – 5th December 2015.

BUT I CAN’T AFFORD THAT!
We know that not everyone can afford to pledge £100. It’s a huge ask, particularly for people with M.E. already struggling to make ends meet. Please do not feel guilty or under pressure.

If you would still like to support the Appeal, giving what you can afford, please wait until the public phase of The ME Association’s Challenge – Early and Accurate Diagnosis of ME between 4th and 5th December and make an online donation then.

Confused?
You can find full details of the Christmas Challenge, and how your pledge will enable us to be part of the UK’s largest Matched Funding Challenge, on https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/projects/view/23543/early-and-accurate-diagnosis-of-m-e/