Lisburn lights up for ME Awareness

Over 250,000 people in the

UK are affected by Myalgic

Encephalopathy and Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Margaret Tolerton, wants to raise awareness of the illness.

To that end the mayor, joined by fellow councillors and ME sufferers, will light up Lagan Valley Island in blue on May 12.

Councillor Tolerton said: “I personally know sufferers of ME and appreciate how debilitating it can be at times for them. It is astonishing that in this age of medical research a cause has not yet been identified but a popular theory is that a viral infection can trigger the condition. All types and ages of people are affected and commonplace symptoms include debilitating fatigue, poor memory, headaches, lack of concentration, painful muscles, disordered sleep and painful muscles and joints. I believe it is important for the Council to support this initiative and raise awareness of this illness which results in children having their schooling disrupted and working adults having to take time off work or give up employment completely if they have severe symptoms.”

Corporate Services Committee chairman Councillor Pat Catney, said: “I was pleased that the request from Action ME came through the Corporate Services Committee as I believe it is very important that our ratepayers are aware of this neurological condition which sadly can be very debilitating and prevent some sufferers from living a normal life. This is because ME is a multi-system disease, affecting not only the neurological system but also the immune, musculoskeletal, endocrine and cardiovascular systems. It is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly by anyone.”

ME is covered under the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland and as such there is a legal obligation for employers to consider when dealing with new and existing employees.

Mrs Tolerton added: “If you have been suffering from fatigue that started at a definitive point in time and limits your usual activities and one of the other symptoms identified above then please go and speak with your doctor to identify if you could be suffering from ME.”