Empty shoes create poignant image of those affected by ME
PUBLISHED: 13:39 12 May 2019 | UPDATED: 08:30 13 May 2019
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 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.
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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.
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."