Great news this week for the Invest in ME Matchstick Campaign for Awareness of ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis). Joan McParland, founder of the charity Hope 4 ME & Fibro Northern Ireland, wrote:
“Thank you to Invest in ME for supplying Matchstick leaflets which are being included in each of our info packs being distributed to all 73 branches of Boots Pharmacies in Northern Ireland this week. All content in the packs had to be pre-checked by the area manager who has kindly arranged that Boots own delivery vans will distribute from our local store, saving us a fortune on postage.”
This resulted from one phone call from a pharmacist at Boots asking Joan for information to help a parent of a child with ME. She added, “We may not have educated the NI GPs yet but this project will go a long way in educating the pharmacists!”
Art has the power to inspire, to evoke reflection, to see things differently, to force change. An image can capture a thousand words and express views and feelings and convey a sentiment often far better than several pages of words.
Wolfgang Stiller, an award-winning German artist who currently lives and works in Berlin, kindly allowed Invest in ME (Research) to use his images for the Matchstick ME Awareness campaign, which was launched in May 2015.
Janet Smart and the Let’s Do It for ME team designed the posters, adding a slogan for each image and, in turn, Invest in ME developed a brochure featuring these images and describing what the charity and supporters are doing.
So far, hundreds of Matchstick brochures have been distributed across the UK to GPs, hospitals, universities, patients and carers.
The brochures have been included in the Invest in ME information packs, Christmas card and wristband postings.
They are displayed in many GP practices and healthcare outlets in UK and Europe.
A lovely story from a family that ordered some Matchstick brochures is typical of the many responses Invest in ME have had regarding the impact of the brochures –
“Hi just thought I would share with you, my daughter, who has M.E lost her footing on the stairs on Saturday and landed awkwardly at the bottom.
She was in soo much pain and her ankle looked broken.
We rang for an ambulance, when the paramedics came – they were concerned about the amount of pain she was in I told them she had M.E and my daughter said “give her an Invest in M.E Matchstick brochure”, which I did together with your other leaflet.
As they worked on my daughter they read the leaflets and said “we need some of these for our ambulance depot – have you any more?”
So I gave them some to take.
It was one of the first times we have been to hospital with out silly comments being made e.g. you don’t look like a person with M.E was one of the many comments in the past!
The paramedics really made sure all the staff attending knew she had M.E and about all the intolerances etc. she suffers.
So a Big thanks for your literature it certainly made a difference.”
We are all very grateful for Wolfgang Stiller’s support and to everyone supporting the Matchstick Campaign by distributing and displaying the posters and brochures, which are available from Invest in ME at http://www.investinme.org/matchsticks.htm
It is fantastic to see this initiative take off. I remember all the discussions on FaceBook when this was first suggested, and now that the images have been put together in a leaflet they make a powerful message. 🙂
The ME Community are indebted to Wolfgang Stiller for allowing IiME to use his powerful Matchstick images to create awareness. Huge thanks to IiME who responded to this patient led initiative positively, the end result is an innovative campaign which has empowered people with ME and drawn attention to the need for biomedical research. The recent interest from Boots demonstrates that together we can make things happen.