Blue Sunday, the day of the Tea Party For M.E, is incredibly special. I have always thought so and my family have always told me so. But to hear that you think it’s special too has been more wonderful than anything that’s happened to me in a long time.
I think it’s obvious now that this is not just a tea party. And it’s not just about the outstanding £20,000 fundraising total either, although that is quite something isn’t it?!
Blue Sunday has so many positive attributes, in my non-biased, humble opinion:
- It started because I wanted to feel a part of something. Now it gives hundreds of other people, who are so often unable to participate, that same feeling of being included.
- It engages people who don’t have M.E. That’s something we often have to try to overcome – our awareness efforts tend to only really reach other people within the M.E. or Chronic Illness Communities.
- It brings people together; people from both inside and outside of the M.E. Community.
- It raise a lot of money! This year’s event has raised over £20,000 which is three times as much as last year’s event, and as much as the 2013-2020 events raised collectively.
- In raising so much money, it helps the charities who support us. While we are neglected and forgotten about by so many, the M.E. charities we fundraised for, work tirelessly to make our lives better. Be it through biomedical research, support, advice, or simply reminding us that we matter.
- It gives people with M.E a sense of achievement, purpose and belonging. Every prize in the Instagram Giveaway* was made by someone with M.E who runs their own small business. The Fundraising Packs were created by someone who is moulding a new life for themselves after the life they loved was taken away by M.E. Cards and prints were designed by people who have M.E. to be sold to bump the fundraising total up. People baked for the first time in months because their symptoms don’t allow them to do it more often. People got to wear their favourite blue dress that they haven’t had reason to wear because they’re not well enough to leave their homes and accept invitations anymore, or the invitations have stopped.
- It’s something to look forward to. Most of us have so few things in our diaries, and the things we do have tend to be medical appointments. I also think I’ll stick with having Blue Sunday at the end of M.E. Awareness week as it was something to look forward to during the week.
- People get to see that there are so many others out there just like them, who are unable to bake, or get dressed, or join in in the ways they’d wanted. It reminds people that they are not alone even if they might physically be by themselves.
- M.E Awareness week is heavy. It can’t not be with such a debilitating and life-altering condition. But Blue Sunday allowed for a moment to champion ourselves and celebrate our survival in the face of adversity.
- For our loved ones, it’s a chance to do something for us, and with us, when they rarely get a chance to. They cannot make us better. But they get to show us just how much they care by joining in. I lost track of the number of people who told me they’d never felt so supported, both by their own loved ones and the online community.
- It includes as many people with M.E as possible, while gently reminding those joining in that there are many more who simply cannot because of the severity of their symptoms.
It is an honour that I can give you this event each year. It’s not a groundbreaking concept, I’m sure someone else would have come to it if I hadn’t. But it has become a huge part of my life. It is undoubtedly my greatest achievement and the thing I am proudest of myself for.
Thank you to everyone who joined in, donated, and has supported Blue Sunday 2021 (and me) in whatever way they could. It is only a success because of your support. If you’re ever in need of a boost, I want you to think back to Blue Sunday and remind yourself that you helped raise an awful lot of money! This was a team effort and you are a part of that team.
Let’s do it all again next year!
*Because I am quite frankly very unwell myself, I limit the Giveaway to one social media platform as this is much more manageable for me.