AYME turns 20!
Since our launch in 1996, we have welcomed over 9,000 members; ranging from 0 to 26 years of age, all of whom are affected by M.E./CFS. Throughout 2016 we'll be celebrating our anniversary in all kinds of ways, so keep an eye on this page, as well as our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts for further updates!
Look what Joe's dad did!
Mike and son Joe both have M.E./CFS - but that didn't stop Mike from completing the 42.6 mile Keswick to Barrow walk in support of AYME! You can read his story here.
Plenty in 20
Our ‘Plenty in 20' campaign offers everyone a chance to get involved in the celebration with their own awareness-raising activities. It could be a challenge to name as many countries or do as many keepy-uppies as possible in 20 seconds, to make 20 cakes and sell them on to friends and family, or even hold a 20 hour sponsored silence. All ideas are welcome! People can make it competitive and get friends and families involved, or even give it a fundraising element and ask everyone for a 20p donation for taking part.
But whatever challenge is taken on, we'd love to see pictures of the special challenges either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by sharing snaps on social media, along with the hashtag #plentyin20.
Spreading the word
Our 20th anniversary is an ideal opportunity to be in touch with the media and spread the word about AYME to anyone who may be in need.
Helping us with one such media opportunity was AYME member, Skye, who recently shared her story with us. This featured in a large regional newspaper, and also caught the eye of BBC Radio Northampton, who invited Skye in for an interview live on air on the station's breakfast show.
Skye said: "I never thought I'd get such an opportunity, I knew it was going to be a challenge, but I absolutely loved every minute of it, and getting as much awareness out there as possible! It was very nerve racking being live on air but definitely a memory worth making! Set yourself goals no matter how small."
Save the date: our 20th anniversary dinner takes place on Saturday 3 December 2016!
Indulge in a delicious three course meal and dance the night away to Mr Kites Band for just £45!
Tickets are still available for our exclusive black tie dinner, organised in celebration of our 20th anniversary. Taking place on Saturday 3rd December, Jurys Inn, Milton Keynes, this promises to be a wonderful evening of fund-raising festivities.
You'll be able to capture the moment with a photo booth courtesy of ‘The Pop Up Booth'!
To reserve a table of eight, or purchase individual tickets, call Jo on 01908 379737 or email email@example.com
Messages of congratulations
It's wonderful to hear from individuals and organisations with well-wishes for our anniversary. Colin Barton, Chairman, Sussex & Kent M.E./CFS Society says:
"Hearty congratulations to AYME on its 20th anniversary. We have been privileged to work with the organisation for all of that time since it was founded. The children and young people affected by M.E./CFS in our region have benefited enormously from our working relationship with AYME that played an important part in the setting up of a specialist young people's NHS service in Brighton. We have to acknowledge the hard working Mary-Jane Willows who has led the charity into the 21st century and indeed has contributed to the ME/CFS field in general helping to move things forward nationally."
Want to wish us a happy anniversary? Send in your own message to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add as many as we can to our site!
"A lot can be done in 20 seconds. A lot has been achieved in 20 years. And we see these challenges as a great way to get even more people involved in our anniversary celebrations," says Mary-Jane Willows, AYME's Chief Executive.
"I have been privileged to be at AYME for 13 years, and see how we have adapted to meet the changing needs of our young members in an ever-changing, digital era. But whatever the preferred means of communication, what we have learned the most over the years is that communication is the key. Communication to the wider public of what exactly M.E./CFS is and what it truly entails, communication of guidance to professionals to better take care of young people, and most importantly, communication to and amongst our members, to break down the isolation so often felt alongside this debilitating condition.
"It is astonishing to think of the number of individuals and families we have supported and who have become friends over our 20 years, through the darker times and the good. None of this would be possible without the support of so many members, families, fundraisers, trusts, companies and supporters, and we are overjoyed at this opportunity to take a step back and thank them all for all that they have done to help us reach this important milestone."