THOSE troubled by invisible illnesses in Swindon were able to find comfort and rare understanding from fellow sufferers during ME Awareness Day yesterday.
To mark the national day of action, members of ME and Fibromyalgia support group Foggy’s held a drop-in event at the Sun Inn in Coate Water to reach out to patients and offer emotional support scarcely found in a prejudiced society.
Foggy’s was launched in 2010 to allow people diagnosed with ME, also known as chronic fatigue, and a variety of other ‘hidden’ diseases to receive a helping hand and practical advice from residents going through similar struggles.
The group proved a lifeline for ME sufferer and former fitness instructor Cheryl Heyne after she lost her job and was brought to a painful standstill by the chronic illness.
“All we want to do is to make people with invisible illnesses that there is a group of people in Swindon that have their best interest at heart,” said the 59-year-old from Gorse Hill. “None of us look ill but we are and the group provides fantastic moral support and advice. It has been a lifeline for me.
“The majority of us have ME and Fibromyalgia but we cover things like arthritis, IBS, seasonal affective disorder and everything that people can’t see.”
Cheryl, the Swindon council employee behind the now popular health walks, was diagnosed with the condition in 2012, a year after falling ill as a result of a midge bite.
To join the group visit www.butyoudontlooksick.co.uk or call Ann O’Kelly on 0844 8872377.