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Empty shoes create poignant image of those affected by ME

PUBLISHED: 13:39 12 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:30 13 May 2019

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

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Nearly 50 pairs of shoes stood empty in Norwich city centre on Saturday as a poignant symbol of those missing due to suffering with the debilitating illness myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The display was part of the Millions Missing campaign, and demonstrations are being held across the world to mark ME Awareness Week.

Each of the pairs of shoes in Norwich had been donated by Norfolk people living with ME, and each pair had attached their story - who they are, how long they have been sick, and what they are missing from their lives due ME.

MORE: 'I have a devastating illness, so why do doctors doubt my struggles?'

Testimonials were shared from those able to attend, or read on their behalf, and Dr Daniel Vipond and Katharine Seton of The Quadram Institute spoke about their research into ME, which is funded by Invest in ME UK.

The pair focus on housebound ME patients and changes to intestinal bacteria and the gut virus populations, and how this may trigger autoimmunity in some patients.

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

Jo Moss, from Norwich, who lives with the condition was one of the organisers of the event.

Mrs Moss, 44, who worked a full time job and had an active social life before her diagnosis, said: "I wasn't well enough to attend the Millions Missing Event myself but I watched from my bed. Seeing so many people come together to support ME sufferers like myself was quite emotional for me. It was especially moving watching my sister read my testimonial. Listening to the talk about local ME research gives me hope for the future. After years of being ignored, the recognition brings me great comfort - I know I am not alone."

Another organiser, Daisy Jones, said: "The first ever #MillionsMissing Norwich was a big success. Dozens of people came to show their support, including local people affected by ME, their families and friends, and people watched our livestreams from all over the world. We're looking forward to making next year's event even bigger, and amplifying the voices of local people with ME."

- To watch the livestreams from the day click here or to find out more about ME or donate click here.

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Dr Daniel Vipond and Katharine Seton of The Quadram Institute. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Dr Daniel Vipond and Katharine Seton of The Quadram Institute. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Dr Daniel Vipond and Katharine Seton of The Quadram Institute. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Dr Daniel Vipond and Katharine Seton of The Quadram Institute. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

The Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David MossThe Millions Missing demonstration in Norwich on May 11, 2019, to mark ME Awareness Week. Photo: David Moss

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