‘Blue Sunday’ Frequently Asked Questions

This post will be updated as and when needed.

Why is the tea party called Blue Sunday?

The name came about by accident. I’d written a blog about my first Tea Party For M.E. in 2013 and that blog needed a title. It had taken place on a Sunday and as blue is the awareness colour of ME/CFS, everything had been blue! From decorations to plates, icing to tea cups.

The name stuck and has since been unofficially adopted by the ME/CFS community for the Sunday during International ME/CFS Awareness week (always around 12th May.)

Why did you start the tea party?

Because there wasn’t anything I could get behind whilst so unwell. I couldn’t even be wheeled in my wheelchair to take part in a charity walk. It didn’t seem right that the very people that fundraising events were raising money for, couldn’t actually participate in them.

Where did the idea for a charity tea party come from?

My birthday! I was too unwell to have visitors for my 23rd birthday. So we asked family and friends to send a photo of themselves wishing me happy birthday. It was so heartwarming to see that I was not truly alone, despite being physically so. I wanted to feel that again, and wanted my friends with M.E. to feel it too.

How do I join in?

The concept remains very simple so that as many people with ME/CFS are able to join in.

• Dig out your best cups and saucers

• Wear something blue

• Have a slice of cake, or two

• Donate the price you’d pay in a café (see the Blue Sunday Donations tab)

• Post a photo of your little tea party set-up (whether you’re by yourself or able to be with friends or family)

• Join others as they do the same from their own homes

Use & follow the hashtags #BlueSunday2023 and #TeaPartyForME2023

The event runs all day and people from all over the world join in.

Do I need to tell you I’m hosting my own Tea Party For M.E?

It’s always lovely to hear from you and to hear your plans. But you don’t have to check with me first before you organise your own Blue Sunday celebration.

All I ask is that people don’t take credit for Blue Sunday and the Tea Party For M.E. And that they use the dedicated donation links or link their own JustGiving page to my group page.

Which charity do I donate to?

It can be a very personal choice so I can’t answer that. Sorry! As long as it is an ME/CFS charity, no -profit, or research study it’s fine by me.

How does a tea party help raise awareness of ME/CFS?

Awareness days pass he majority of people by, particularly if they are not directly affected by the illness that the day is for. This couldn’t be more true with M.E. My brother, when trying to get a group of friends together to fundraise for an M.E. charity, described this cause as a “hard sell”. People still don’t deem it a worthy cause, thanks to the stigma, outdated attitudes and the use of stock images and emphasis on tiredness in the media. I ran, we all get tired don’t we? *rolls eyes*

But cake! Cake, I have found, will get people through the door and bums on seats. Every single time. And while they’re enjoying said cake, there are leaflets and information on the tables in the hope people will leave knowing a little more about M.E. than when they arrived.

Do you take a portion of the fundraising to cover your outgoings?

No I don’t. I fund the tea party myself with help from family and friends. Any money donated goes to the charity. Some fundraising platforms might take a small percentage to cover the service and help they offer to the charity.

You can leave me a ‘tip’ to reimburse me for my work and help cover the costs of having this website, for example. You can ‘tip’ me via my Ko-Fi page.

Is it a sad day? I have ME/CFS and don’t need to be made aware of how awful it is!

I’m told Blue Sunday is the light at the end of what can be a very dark week. People living with M.E. do not need to be made aware of how debilitating and serious it is. What you’ll see online on Blue Sunday is people like you, joining in in whatever way suits them best. It’s become a lovely day of seeing the community come together, and a reminder that we’re not in this alone.

Can I come to your ‘in-person’ tea party?

It’d be lovely to have you with us. There can be up to 70 guests at the tea party and so it can get quite noisy with so many people chatting over cake.

But because of the pandemic I have made the decision, again, to have a much smaller Tea Party For M.E. with just my family. It would be irresponsible of me to cram 70 people into a village hall when I know the long-term effects that a virus can have on someone’s life.

Is there a group video call on Blue Sunday?

My own symptoms restrict me in such a way that a group video call on Blue Sunday is not something I can host or join in with. But video calls are hosted by other Tea Party For M.E. goers and are often open to whoever would like to join in.

Why is Blue Sunday just for ME/CFS and not other energy-limiting conditions?

Blue Sunday is one of the UK’s highest-profile events for ME/CFS. Although many energy-limiting conditions are also in need of greater funds and awareness, people with ME/CFS are sadly still at a heightened risk of experiencing stigma and harm from the medical profession and the wider public. Blue Sunday is one of very few opportunities where people with the condition can voice their real and lived experiences and come together to create an impact. Therefore, the charitable outcomes of Blue Sunday are all in the name of ME/CFS, and always will be.

However, anybody with an energy-limiting condition is still very welcome to join in with the event – we greatly appreciate your support and will be glad to welcome you!

I don’t have ME/CFS. Can I still join in?

Absolutely! Please do. It is lovely to have people supporting our cause and helping us raise awareness and funds.

Do I have to have a tea party to join in? Can I do a bake sale?

Tea party. Bake sale. Raffle. Auction. Dedicated Nintendo Animal Crossing island! Blue Sunday is always expanding. So no, you don’t have to have a tea party to be a part of Blue Sunday. But I will always champion the Tea Party For M.E.

Do you have fundraising packs available?

For the last couple of years, Hannah at Sunshine Makes and Bakes has brought my idea of a fundraising pack to life. They are very, very popular and the 2022 pack sold out in 25 hours.

Hannah and I both have ME/CFS and so have to prioritise and protect our health when planning, creating, and posting out the packs. This is why we start the process so early and release the packs well in advance of Blue Sunday.

The 2023 packs have now sold out, but downloadable items will be available very soon for you to print off at home and have at your tea parties.

I’m too ill for tea and cake. How can I join in?

Please join in us whatever way works for you. I have friends who are now too unwell to eat solid food, or sit up in bed. They join us in a way that doesn’t exacerbate their symptoms too much. For some, that means having a blue duvet cover on, or wearing blue socks.

With the more severely-affected in mind, this year I have had Blue Sunday t-shirts made so that those they feel a part of the day even though they aren’t having a Tea Party For M.E. I know this will be something that is still out of reach for many, but wanted the option to be there incase it made even one more person feel included.

Published by Anna Redshaw

Blogging about life in the slow lane with an invisible, chronic illness. I wasn't always a sick chick so this is somewhat of a life changing experience!

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