Mike Harley met with members of the Gloucestershire ME/CFS Friendship Group on Sunday after completing the Gloucester Half Marathon in training for the next of his 28 EU Marathons charity challenge for Invest in ME Research.
Congratulations to Mike and his supporters for tipping over the £15k mark towards his fundraising target of £26,200!
Mike raises awareness of the issues around ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) in every country he runs in, supported in his outstanding efforts by his wife Cat.
Team Harley now includes baby Lucy who watched Daddy race for the first time on Sunday and achieve a personal best!
Mike and Cat fund all their own travel and other expenses for the challenge so every penny raised goes the vital biomedical research funded by the charity.
The following extract is from a great article by Ed Stilliard, Chief City Reporter for Gloucester Live, published prior to the race, which includes the story of one of Mike’s friends with ME, Rachel Ephgrave, pictured below.
Bristolian Mike Harley, 36, is also running that race for his friend Rachel Ephgrave from Cheltenham who suffers from ME (myalgic encephalomyeltis), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
He wants to raise cash for the ME research charity Invest In ME (www.investinme.org) and is dedicating the race to the Gloucestershire ME/CFS friendship group.
The Gloucester race is training for a challenge which he already part of the way through completing – a marathon in all 28 EU countries.
His next marathon is on March 17 in Cyprus which will be followed by marathons this year in Slovakia, Latvia, Hungary, Romania and Portugal.
He said: “I have raised nearly £15,000 so far and up to £250 for the race next Sunday already.
Former physics teacher Rachel Ephgrave, 43, who has had ME for 12 years, said: “It is so encouraging to see Mike raising awareness of ME and raising funds for biomedical research by running marathons across the EU.”
She said a quarter of those affected are either housebound or bedbound and it has forced her to rely on others to help her.
“Since becoming unwell I have had to give up my teaching career, I generally need to use a wheelchair to leave the house and have lost a large amount of my independence,” she said.
“I rely on my family and friends to help me with basic things like doing the washing, cooking, collecting my son from school and giving me lifts to medical appointments.
“ME is a difficult illness for others to understand as you can often appear well when seeing someone for an hour or two, then [a range of symptoms hit] later when you are on your own.
“When I am at my worst I struggle to think, have difficulty finding words and speaking in sentences, I find sound and light difficult to tolerate, I cannot concentrate to read or watch TV.
“I can be too weak to sit up or move around, and become freezing cold as I cannot control my body temperature.
“I have no choice but to lie still in the quiet, often in pain, until I start to feel better, while relying on others to look after me.
“Having been ill this long I know that my best hope is biomedical research into understanding the causes of this illness, hopefully leading to treatments.
“I have so many things that I want to do in life; an effective treatment cannot come soon enough for me and my family.”
Extract above from Road closures announced for marathon in Gloucester today.
Many thanks to Ed Stilliard, Gloucester Live, Mike Harley, Cat, Lucy, Rachel Ephgrave, Linda Hending and the Gloucestershire ME/CFS Friendship Group and to all Mike’s sponsors and supporters.
Please share the links widely to help Mike achieve his fundraising target and to help raise ME awareness across Europe.
Thank you for supporting Invest in ME Research!
— Mike's EU Maras for M.E (@MikesEUmaras) January 20, 2019