A retired teacher has been hailed by the Prime Minister for setting up the UK’s largest charity for children and young people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Dr Jill Moss, 72, set up the ‘Association of Young People with ME’ (AYME), in 1996, having suffered with the disease herself for four years. The charity has since helped over 9,000 young people living with the condition.
Now she has been handed a Points Of Light award, which was set up last year to recognise outstanding volunteers who make a change in their community.
Dr Jill said: “This is a real honour. It’s not easy to get the time to step back and take a look at what has been achieved when there is still so much to do to break through the misunderstanding that plagues this illness.
“I thank all concerned for this award and hope that it may be an inspiration to others that if you keep battling on, amazing things happen.”
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also known as ME, causes a wide range of symptoms, including intense tiredness, aches and pains, and can make it very difficult for people to concentrate or perform everyday tasks easily.
Symptoms can come and go and vary from person to person, with some people only mildly affected while others struggle to manage normal school or working hours and may have to cut back a lot on their social life. A small percentage of patients have to stay in bed and are not able to look after themselves or eat properly.
Jill experienced exclusion and isolation first-hand during her illness and felt particularly concerned about the affect it must have on young people with the condition. Meeting some and hearing their stories inspired her to write a self-help book called Somebody Help ME and set up the Association of Young People with ME charity in 1996.
She recruits volunteers who have ME themselves, helping both those who need immediate support and those on the path to recovery who need work experience to enter the working world.
Since it was founded the charity has provided support and information to around 9,000 children and young people.
Prime Minister David Cameron, said: “For many young people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Jill’s efforts are life-changing, providing an empathetic ear and a crucial link to the outside world.
“Not only does Jill’s work directly help those in need of support, but she is also giving people the chance to empower themselves through volunteering. I am delighted to be awarding Jill with a Point of Light.”