This is the second in a series of articles celebrating visionaries in the ME/CFS/FM community who have taken the actions to make their visions real …
Sometimes we overlook the obvious. We know studies indicate that chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is probably the most functionally disabling disease known and we know what that means. People are out of work. If you have significant assets when you get sick, or you have a family member to support you, hopefully you can make it.
But what if you don’t? What if your spouse is gone? Or family won’t or can’t help out. Or you don’t have a nest egg to dip into?
You’re not working, you didn’t get disability (or if you did, it’s not enough) and money needed – just for the basic necessities – is not coming in.
The hits start coming. You drop your meds in order to pay for food, your heat is about to be turned off, your refrigerator breaks down, a wheelchair to keep you at least somewhat mobile is impossible, your clothes are wearing out, etc.
AMMES Financial Crisis Fund for ME/CFS
Enter Erica Verillo and the AMMES Financial Crisis Fund for ME/CFS. Talk about filling basic needs. Talk about putting a vision into action. Nobody had tried to help the truly needy among us before – it was untried territory – but Erica stepped forward and declared that she would be responsible for taking care of the people in our community in need and launched the Financial Crisis Fund.
The ME/CFS community responded. Over the past nine months over $24,000 has gone to support people with ME/CFS living on the edge – worried not just about ME/CFS – that’s more than enough – but how they are going to keep their roof over their head, their lights turned on, their appliances working, etc., through the next day, the next week, the next month.
One recipient of the fund reported:
“Through the financial help from AMMES I’ve been given the invaluable gift of time. Now that I’m not constantly experiencing fear and anxiety about being able to maintain a roof over my head, keep the lights on, or have any food to eat, I have some time to put any energy I do have towards healing. Thank you Erica, AMMES, and all its generous donors. Your gifts have enabled me to begin changing my mental outlook from despair to one of hope.” R in Colorado
The AMMES Financial Crisis Fund has paid for
- medical bills
- phone bills
- home care
- a bed for a patient who had been sleeping on a couch
- a co-pay for a wheelchair
- shoes for a patient who had only flip-flops after an abusive ex had destroyed all her clothing
- repairs for a back door after a house was broken into
- security deposits on apartments.
The truth is there are lots of needs in ME/CFS: there’s the urgent need to support research and effective advocacy. Health Rising needs resources to do its work.
It seems like there are almost too many needs but I assert that we can do it all. We can support the research, keep a strong advocacy movement, support small organizations like Health Rising, and we can support those most in need.
On Christmas Day, I am celebrating Erica Verillo and AMMES and the work it’s doing and I urge you to do the same. I just put in my small contribution – a small Christmas gift from me to those most in need.
AMMES is a registered 501 3 (C) non-profit. Your contributions are tax deductible.
(Don’t miss an inspiring holiday message from Llewellyn King)