Journal of IiME Volume 8 Issue 1 donations or signed items. We changed tactics therefore and asked them for a small feature in their match day programmes which we hoped would be seen by thousands of supporters per game and also their websites and social media. We were in effect giving them free content and asking them to promote us and themselves with the view of raising awareness which for the most part they were more than happy to do. This meant that we acquired hundreds of followers and an army of supporters who in turn wrote off to their local clubs and media demanding support! In some cases we were able to secure signed items which we are due to auction very soon including match tickets, signed pennants and other items but the most important aspect of the trip was to try and dispel the myth that ME is purely a psychological/non-physical condition and required funded biological research. We had fantastic support from Invest In ME who not only helped with emailing the clubs but were influential in creating flyers which we handed out at the grounds and working with us to design our huge flag which we took to be photographed with at all of the stadiums. We wrote off to local hotels to stop at during the trip and were given some fantastic discounts mainly from the Holiday Inn and also secured a cash donation from Enterprise Rent-acar who would play a key part in our success later on in the story…. Taking to the road we stopped at Plymouth the night before and visited Plymouth Argyle where I met the Chief Executive of the club who told me that he himself had overcome ME –he’d come in on his day off to support us and opened up the ground for us to be filmed for ITV which was a fantastic May 2014 gesture. Donations and requests for information began to flood in and we began the event in high spirits with a real feeling that we’d be able to change people’s perceptions of ME and make a difference. Day one was eventful and although we got caught up in heavy holiday traffic we made it to our final club at 10pm with pitch side photos at Plymouth, Exeter, Yeovil, Bristol Rovers, Cardiff and Swansea under our belts. Twitter support from these clubs and web features also came in which further increased our followers and sponsorship. Day two was a huge one, beginning in Bournemouth, going along to Brighton and then up into the 12 London clubs was always going to be tough at the start of the bank holiday weekend. But luckily we had some amazing support from Arsenal who ushered us onto the pitch for photos and put us in two match day programmes! Another pitch side photo at Tottenham and some great support from the other London clubs followed and we were humbled by the support that we had from some ME sufferers who met us at the grounds and wished us well. Day three was extremely hard as we arrived at Colchester just before the kick off for their home game and my clutch gave out. The staff and police at the ground were fantastic and Invest In ME helped us secure an Enterprise hire car to finish the leg as I travelled with the car back to Bristol on a very slow recovery truck. I hopped in another car and drove through the night to Milton Keynes ready to start the fourth day back with the team. As our car lay stationary in the car park outside the ground we had what is now infamously being called ‘The Colchester Silence’ –a two minute pause as reality sunk in that we might not complete the event. Don’t worry this and much Invest in ME (Charity Nr. 1114035) www.investinme.org Page 19 of 52

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