I have a question.
Why has Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) not been represented in any of your storylines since your show started in 1985? It affects 250,000 people here in the UK and EVERYONE knows someone who has the illness.
I am asking you to be brave and bold, highlight an enormously misunderstood life-altering illness and help the M.E community to raise awareness. It is a highly complex illness but with subtlety and a long-term plotline, I feel it would be possible to truly represent this invisible disability. You were groundbreaking back in the 80’s/90’s with Mark Fowler’s HIV/AIDS diagnosis. Do the same again with M.E. HIV/AIDS affects 101,000 people here in the UK (2015 rough estimate). M.E affects more than double that and yet receives a very small percentage of the recognition and research funding that HIV/AIDS receives.
Nancy Klimas, MD, has more than 30 years of professional experience (see biography below). She has previously stated:
“My H.I.V. patients for the most part, are hale and hearty thanks to three decades of intense and excellent research and billions of dollars invested. Many of my C.F.S. patients, on the other hand, are terribly ill and unable to work or participate in the care of their families. I split my clinical time between the two illnesses, and I can tell you if I had to choose between the two illnesses (in 2009) I would rather have H.I.V. But C.F.S., which impacts a million people in the United States alone, has had a small fraction of the research dollars directed towards it.”
The same can be said for the M.E situation in the UK.
M.E has never been given more than a fleeting mention in mainstream dramas (Doctors, last year). This is your chance. Be the first, again…be bold!
You have highlighted Stroke, Post Partum Psychosis, PTSD, Dementia, blindness, a restricted growth condition, Head Injury, Miscarriage and Breast Cancer to name a few, and yet you haven’t represented a large segment of society by not dramatising a chronic illness that destroys lives and affects people of any age, race or gender. You are not truly representing society by omitting us.
I have ideas as to how M.E could be included within your show, I’m happy to share if you are interested. As I have said, it will need to be subtle and long term but I believe it IS possible to act out an invisible disability.
Founder of ME Foggy Dog – see mefoggydog.org.
P.s. I have posted a hard copy of this letter to you.
Biography – Nancy Klimas, MD, has more than 30 years of professional experience. M.D Director, Institute for Neuro Immune Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Director, Clinical Immunology Research, Miami VAMC, Professor of Medicine, Department of Clinical Immunology, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Chair, Department of Clinical Immunology, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University,Professor Emerita, University of Miami, School of Medicine).