‘We deserve to be looked at as equal’

By Emily Liddell

Apprentice reporter

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THOUSANDS joined together for #MillionsMissing, to campaign for ME health equality all over the globe.

Southampton played host to one demonstration aimed at highlighting the plight of ME sufferers.

Southampton’s Guildhall Square was one of 90 worldwide sites demonstrating from 5 May to 12 May as part of the week-long campaign #MillionsMissing.

Claire Tripp, who organised the event in Southampton said: “This year we had over 450 pairs of shoes displayed, each one representing a person with ME who is demanding health equality and more funding into their disease so they can get their lives back.”

She added: "“There are an estimated quarter of a million people in the UK who have ME.

"This is the population of the city of Southampton. There is an entire city’s worth of people being neglected by the government and medical professionals.”

Run by #MEAction, the campaign is calling on health officials and governments to end the inequality of funding and research into the debilitating illness.

The event was attended by City of Southampton councillor Lorna Fielker, for Swaythling ward and cabinet member for adult social care.

She spoke about her own experience with ME and her support for the #MillionsMissing campaign.

Lorna said: “We deserve to be valued as equal members of society and supported to live our best lives.”

The demonstration saw the lining up of ‘empty’ shoes of ME sufferers from across the UK, footwear that had been unused and made redundant by this debilitating illness.

It aimed to be a symbolic display of how ME is ruining lives for millions of people in the UK and worldwide.

Around 75 MEAction volunteers and supporters attended the event and spoke to over 300 members of the public to raise awareness of the reality of living with ME and how this has affects the daily lives of those suffering from it.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a chronic, debilitating, multi-system disease that affects approximately 250,000 men, women and children of all ethnicities, ages, and genders in the UK.

#MillionsMissing is being spearheaded by #MEAction, an international network of patients and allies empowering each other to fight for health equality for ME.