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Support group praised for work

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By Fiona Reid
Support group praised for work

SCORES of people in the region face a daily battle because of ME and fibromyalgia.

The complex neurological condition affects around 250,000 across the UK and almost 20,000 in Scotland, with symptoms ranging from chronic exhaustion, muscle pain and weakness, cognitive problems, light sensitivity, gastrointestinal issues and much more.

One support group locally is doing ‘outstanding work’ to help those affected and raise the profile of both conditions.

Dumfries and Galloway ME and Fibromyalgia Network (DGMEFN) offer monthly meetings and events, including craft sessions and social get togethers.

Its efforts have now been recognised at Holyrood, when the Network was highlighted during a debate.

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson told fellow MSPs that not enough is being done despite a Scottish Government commissioned report that seeks to improve medical education and raise awareness of this condition.

He said: “It is really important that clear and fit for purpose treatment and support pathways are in place to ensure that everything is done to provide the most appropriate support for everyone that presents with ME symptoms.

“It is heartbreaking hearing about how this condition has completely taken over their lives . . . from young to not so young but once physically fit and active in both work and leisure, to struggling on a daily basis with the debilitating symptoms.

“In the last year, it has been fortunate enough to secure £6000 from the Community Mental Health Wellbeing Fund to start a range of projects locally, including a free soup and sandwich facility at its pop up meetings.

“And as the organisation moved towards face-to-face meetings on a regular basis, a Zoom facility enabled them to stage social meetings, a hybrid of virtual and actual. This then allowed members to attend no matter what their situation.”

Praising the role of DGMEFN, he revealed that he had met the group on a couple of occasions and that they were an inspiring bunch.

He recalled a short period when in his 20s he was faced with very similar symptoms and cannot forget the feeling of absolute despair at not being able to do anything and with no idea why.

Highlighting the work undertaken by DGMEFN charity – led by its chair Eileen Longworth – Mr Carson revealed it has nearly 400 members including a further 427 followers on its informative Facebook page.

He added: “So as you see – friendship, support and kindness can go a very long way in improving people’s lives.

“My thanks go to everyone, including those living with these awful conditions who on a daily basis go that extra mile to help make life just that little bit better.”

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