Hello and welcome to November’s newsletter. Hope you have had the best month possible.
10 Smiles were sent to both ME sufferers and carers of all ages this month. All chosen and personalised to fit each person’s likes and interests. Some of the items sent this month included blankets, giraffe Squishmallow, teddy bear, pom pom fairy lights, photo frame, a book, book vouchers, Star Wars lego set, board game, cross stitch kit, sketchbook and pencils, Disney style personalised name display, gardening seeds, socks, 80’s films poster, guitar mug and coaster, personalised keyring, biscuits for cheese, fudge, chocolate and sweets.
“Just you say a huge “Thank You” for the lovely smile that arrived for me today – the gorgeous Teddy (with my favourite colour top), picture frame (that will sit on my desk with a photo of our puppy), and book tokens (they will be used very quickly).
I’ve been looking after Jessica for too many years, and it’s lovely to have an extra special token of appreciation, especially as she’s having a tough time with her ME at the moment. Thank you all!”
“Thank you so much for the wonderful Smiles for my parents. They were very well chosen and they loved them. It certainly brightened their day (and mine) and was very touching. Thank you so much for all the thoughtful and compassionate work you do, it really makes a difference having someone show such care in this way.”
Do you shop online? Why not support us at the same time through Easy Fundraising. Sign up with the link and when you shop we receive a donation at no extra cost to you. Thank you to those who have already signed up, shopped and supported. All the pennies really do add up, we have received over a thousand pounds so far.
Limited Smile For ME wristbands, t-shirts, hoodies as well as “Please Offer Me A Seat” pin badges are available to buy on our Support Us website page: smileforme.org.uk/supportus
Share a story
This month’s share a story is by Sarah Mozer. Thank you Sarah for sharing your experience of finding courage and hope within the darkness of severe chronic illness through writing a poetry book called The Words That Saved Me.
I never expected to write or publish a poetry book, I had never even written poetry until a few years ago, but in the darkness of severe chronic illness, writing poetry became an emotional release and the only creative outlet I could physically manage. After 3 years of slowly writing and compiling my collection I am very excited and proud to have self-published my book called ‘The Words That Saved Me’.
It is about my experiences and the emotional journey of finding hope and courage whilst living with severe chronic illness. Although written during an extremely painful and challenging time, I think it has an overall message of hope and the potential to help a lot of people by validating their experiences and helping them feel less alone in what they are going through.
Below is an excerpt from the introduction, which explains more of my story and how my book came to be:
At aged 28, after 13 years of slowly declining health, I reached a point of being completely bed bound and reliant on my family for everything. I spent hours alone in my bed stuck in my head with only what I could come up with in my imagination to get me through each day. I fell into a deep depression and no longer wanted to live because I had such a low quality of life.
This is when I first started writing my poems, I needed a place to get out some of the pain I experienced, so as I lay there, I started writing poems in my head and when I had the energy, I would type a few lines at a time into the notes section on my phone. After spending 9 months surviving this darkness I slowly began to see some small improvements in my health. I was also working extremely hard on my mental health, trying to find some sort of peace with my situation, starting to realise that fighting it was only causing me more suffering, but not yet knowing how to reach any form of acceptance or peace with a life and body I so desperately hated. I started writing poems that were the words I needed to hear to help me get through my situation, writing with kindness and compassion and trying to learn how to give that to myself. Hating myself for the pain I was in did not make it any better, maybe loving myself would. I wrote about the change in perspective I wanted to find.
I think I found writing at a time when I needed it, it gave me a purpose and the possibility of a future, it made me feel like a part of me could exist beyond my four walls even when I could not.
I hope the words in this book remind you that even during the darkest times in life there is a place of peace within us, and that happiness, contentment and light can and will return.
Most of all though, I hope that whatever you are going through in life and whatever your circumstances, that by sharing these pieces of me I can help you in some small way too.
Bake 4 MECFS
Bake 4 MECFS have launched their latest theme, The Big Fat Christmas Bake Off. Everyone is welcome to get involved, you don’t have to be an ME sufferer or carer to join in. You have until 28th December to enter.
Step 1 Donate
Step 2 Bake
Step 3 Tag/email/connect
Collaborative bakers are available if your chronic illness prevents/limits your baking so you can still have the the option to get involved and feel included. DM @BAKE4MECFS or email email@example.com.
For more information check out Bake4MECFS: www.bake4mecfs.com
Donate to Smile For ME: www.gofundme.com/f/bake-4-me-cfs-smile-for-me
Thank you to all those who are planning to support us and thank you Jennie for choosing Smile For ME to be one of the charities Bake4MECFS supports.
A big thank you to Shirley Kay Mosaics who kindly fundraised for us by hand making a wonderful ME Awareness themed mosaic which was raffled through the Parents of children with M.E./CFS support group. She raised an amazing £160 which will help us to continue sending Smiles to people affected by ME. Thank you Shirley and everyone who bought a raffle ticket. Congratulations to the winner.
Sally’s ME awareness pin badges
Following on from Shirley’s successful raffle Sally loved the design so much, with Shirley kindly agreeing for her art to be used, she made it into epoxy pin badges. A big thank you to Sally for choosing to fundraise for us with the beautiful pin badges. A fantastic £233 was donated to us, with another batch now sold out too and another donation on its way. Thank you Sally, Shirley and everyone who has supported for helping make a difference to us.
Smile of the month
What’s made you smile this month? Each month we ask this question on social media and we love hearing the responses. We hope by sharing some of your smiles it can help others to find a smile too.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this month. We are so grateful for the kindness and generosity you show us. It means such a lot because it enables us to continue sending Smiles to those affected by ME.