In the last podcast, we talked about a number of charity knitting opportunities, but today we want to highlight one in particular - AYME (the Association of Young People with ME, pronounced "aim") - who kicked off their Knit a Tulip for ME campaign yesterday at the Double Tree by Hilton London - Chelsea.
ME, otherwise known as myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), is a chronic fluctuating illness. People suffering from ME experience persistent fatigue and/or pain, as well as a wide range of other symptoms. These symptoms result in debilitating issues for patients, and as you can imagine, the disease can be very difficult to diagnose, as many of the symptoms look like something else (e.g. flu, mononucleosis, general fatigue).
AYME was formed in 2008 to support children and young people aged up to 26 who have ME. In addition to efforts at raising awareness of ME at the government level, AYME also works with schools, parents and carers to facilitate education and empowerment of younger ME patients. One of the very key features of AYME is that its members are the children and young people themselves - this is an association that is edntirely directed towards them and their needs.
The Knit a Tulip for ME campaign was started by 20 mothers who were inspired by a written piece by Emily Perl Kingsley called "Welcome to Holland", which describes what it's like to raise a child with a disability. Today's kick off of their campaign begins with a display of some of the 8000 tulips already contributed. Their goal is to get one knitted tulip for each young person suffering with ME in the UK in one year - that's 25,000 knitted tulips! If you're interested in helping AYME reach this goal, you can get the pattern here. You can also make a donation on their Justgiving page. We're going to be joining in the knitting efforts, as it's a huge number of tulips that they're trying to get by the end of the campaign - come join us!