Hello and welcome to October’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 broccoli, monkey, cat and bat Jellycat cuddly toys, Care Bear dare to care, football cushion, cream blanket, Alice in Wonderland book rose, pyropgraphy wood burning kit, fox cross stitch, woodland tea towel, personalised wooden spoon, hot and cold pack, bath bombs, hand cream, lip balm, crystals, fidget toys, gadget pen, biscuits and chocolate.
You can nominate an ME sufferer or their carer for a Smile (personalised present) by completing the nomination form on our website: www.smileforme.org.uk/nominate
Each Smile is individually chosen using the information supplied on the nomination form. The presents are then lovingly wrapped in blue kraft paper, decorated with blue and white twine and stamped with our logo before being posted with love to the recipient. We hope by sending Smiles we can help to brighten a day and remind others they are not forgotten or alone.
Smile turned 11
October was a special month for us as we celebrated our 11th Birthday.
Thank you to those who have donated, fundraised, shown support, nominated someone for a Smile or even left us a kind message over the years, it means more than words can say.
Our Birthday is special to us because it is a celebration of what we have achieved in managing to send over 1,500 Smiles. We are a small charity run by just 4 Trustees who are ourselves affected by ME as a severe sufferer, carer and supporters so everything we do is very personal to us all. Each Smile is individually chosen, wrapped and posted with love to help remind those who are often isolated from the world that they are thought of and not alone. We absolutely love running Smile For ME and are so thankful to everyone who has helped make it possible.
Find out more about Smile For ME: smileforme.org.uk
Nominate an ME sufferer or carer: smileforme.org.uk/nominate
Support us: smileforme.org.uk/supportus
Share a story
This month’s share a story is by Llinos. Thank you Llinos for sharing your experience of ME through the comfort your cat gives you during the good and bad days.
It’s a good day. I make it downstairs and over to the back door. I stand in the doorway, inhaling the cool, morning air. Then I step outside and crouch down to fuss over the excitable and hungry white cat at my feet. “Hello, Melody!” I exclaim, as she rolls over for me to rub her fluffy stomach. She miaows in annoyance when I stop, but when she realises I’m filling her food bowl she suddenly approves, and tucks in before I’ve finished.
It’s a bad day. I’m lying in bed, with the window closed and curtains shut, because the light and noise from the busy street is too much. My eyes are closed and I’m willing myself to turn over, as even that’s hard work on a day like today. My books and crafts sit untouched on the bedside table. But then my husband opens the door, and a streak of white trots into the room. Melody sniffs the chair, the bedclothes and the dressing table, then jumps onto the duvet. She’s looking at me, trotting up and down the length of the bed, as if she’s assessing the situation. I stroke her a few times and she chooses a space to plop down on, lifting her head so that I can scratch her chin. Purring contentedly, she settles down for a sleep, as if she’s decided that that’s just what the situation calls for. The weight of her fluffy body against mine is soothing, and her purring relaxes me. She puts her paw on my hand as she drifts off to sleep, her purrs turning into a long, happy sigh.
Melody came home with us four and a half years ago, at a very difficult time for me. My mum had died of cancer a few months earlier, and unsurprisingly I was struggling with my grief. I was keen to have a cat, a pet that I could love and care for, at such a tumultuous time. Melody fitted the bill purrfectly. She was very affectionate, and definitely a homebody.
At that time, I hadn’t realised that she would comfort me through ME too. Although I was diagnosed in 2022, the symptoms had, like for so many of us, been evident long before that. Melody would snooze next to me as PEM kept me in its clutches, before I knew for sure that it even was PEM. In late 2022, my symptoms began to increase and my world became much smaller. This fluffy white cat would play an even larger role in my days.
Melody doesn’t judge me at all. I don’t worry that I don’t look ill enough, or look too ill, for her. Whether I’m dressed, or wearing pyjamas, she loves me just the same. Whether I’m in bed, or walking around, she loves me just the same. She never thinks it’s strange when I’m in bed at any time of day, or that I haven’t brushed my hair.
Also, Melody doesn’t worry about the future, which is so easy for people with ME to fall into. She’s only thinking about the moment she’s in, and I try to emulate that. I don’t know if tomorrow will be a good day, but I try not to dwell on it.
Melody will venture as far as our garden, and even on a bad day she will keep me entertained as I watch her from the window. Seeing her prowling through the bushes or sitting on top of her cat tree, tail swishing as she surveys her territory, can be the lift I need when I feel so poorly.
In return, I will always make sure the meals, treats and cheek rubs keep coming!
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.
At the beginning of October Bake4MECFS launched their latest virtual baking competition fundraiser with Halloween as the theme. You have until midnight tonight, 31st October, to enter.
Thank you Jennie and Bake4MECFS for kindly choosing us as one of the charities you support. Thank you Ashlea.Bakes for donating to us with your wonderful entry of a spooktacular Halloween collection of home baked treats.
A big thank you and Happy Birthday to Helen this month and also belated best wishes and thanks to all those who have chosen to support us on their Birthday this year through Facebook fundraisers.
If you would like to support Smile For ME as your chosen charity for your Facebook Birthday fundraiser you can do so here: www.facebook.com/SmileForME/fundraisers
Andy’s Great South Run
A special thank you and congratulations to Andy who completed the Great South Run raising an amazing £262 for us. We are touched by the kindness, thank you.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us this month and throughout the last 11 years. We say thank you each month and we sincerely mean it. Without your kindness and generosity we wouldn’t be able to continue sending Smiles to those affected by ME so your support means such a lot.