Sat, 07 Jul 2018
A SPECIAL screening of a film highlighting the experiences of “stigmatised” sufferers of debilitating conditions was held in West Berkshire last month.
Healthwatch West Berkshire (HWWB) showed Unrest, which tells the story of Jennifer Brea, 28, who is struck down by a mysterious fever that leaves her bedridden and looking for answers.
Disbelieved by doctors, she turns her camera on herself and discovers a hidden world of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Visitors were confronted with pairs of shoes, labelled with comments from sufferers, reflecting the worldwide campaign to raise awareness of the conditions.
The special screening at Newbury College was attended by the chief executive of the Royal Berkshire Hospital Steve McManus and the hospital’s clinical lead for pain medicine, Dr Deepak Ravindran, as well as sufferers of fibromyalgia and CFS, along with their friends and family.
After the film a grant cheque was presented as part of HWWB’s community engagement programme.
At the end of the screening, HWWB chief officer Andrew Sharp presented Dr Ravindran and Mr McManus, as well as Alice Gostomski from the West Berkshire and District Fibromyalgia Support Group, with a cheque for £2,500 towards research into the experiences of young people suffering from fibromyalgia and CFS.
Mr Sharp said: “It is incredible to think that so little is known about these conditions, which are effecting more and more people of all ages in our community.
“Only last week there was a three-hour parliamentary debate, which brought the experiences of sufferers throughout the UK who have been stigmatised and ignored, laughed at and discriminated against into the news.
“The debate drew attention to the fact that awareness and understanding needs to be created within the public psyche, while GPs and the medical profession themselves need training – and research investment needs to take place into all aspects of the conditions.
“So, we are pleased that we have been able to screen the film and raise awareness of those who suffer from these conditions, but are largely unheard.
“Additionally, we were delighted to be able to present Dr Deepak Ravindran with a cheque from our small CEP grant fund for £2,500 towards his research into how fibromyalgia and CFS are effecting young people within our community.”
Anyone wishing to attend the local Fibromyalgia Group can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07789 708072 between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Friday.