Lagan Valley Island, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s headquarters, was recently lit up blue to raise awareness of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).
ME is a long-term, fluctuating neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems, more commonly the nervous and immune systems.
Councillor Scott Carson, Chairman of the council’s Corporate Services Committee, said: “Throughout the year the council supports awareness raising for a number of health conditions. On this occasion we were delighted to be joined by representatives from Hope 4 ME & Fibro Northern Ireland.
“During the recent ME Awareness Week we felt it was important to make residents aware of this neurological condition, which can be extremely debilitating.
“All types and ages of people are affected by this condition 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 very important for the council to support this initiative and to raise awareness of this serious condition which results in children having their schooling disrupted as they are unable to attend class or university; and working adults having to take time off work or give up employment completely if they have severe symptoms.”
Alderman William Leathem, who has suffered from ME for over 20 years, commented: “I know from personal experience how much of an effect ME can have on a person’s life. The condition led to me selling my business 18 years ago which I loved as I was not able to work for long periods during my worst times of ill-health.
“I am pleased to see this important condition receiving attention because there are so many people affected by it in different ways.
“There is no test to prove that you have ME, but doctors will carry out blood tests to rule out other causes for your symptoms; and as there is no cure any treatment provided may help to ease the symptoms.
“I hope that as medical research continues in this area they will be able to define the cause of ME and create a treatment.
“It is reassuring to know there are other ME sufferers in the Lisburn Castlereagh area that I can meet with to offer and receive support. I would like to thank the council for being involved in raising awareness of ME.”
For more information log on to hope4mefibro.org