Esther Rantzen adds backing to plight of young ME sufferers

PUBLISHED: 13:12 22 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:06 07 September 2010

Esther Rantzen with former ME sufferer Martyn Jones who is cycling the route of the Tour de France

Esther Rantzen with former ME sufferer Martyn Jones who is cycling the route of the Tour de France

Young sufferer calls for greater awareness of debilitating illness A 21-year-old woman who languished in bed for two and a half years before doctors diagnosed her with ME has called for greater awareness about the illness. Lydia Marmorstein hopes to read

Young sufferer calls for greater awareness of debilitating illness

A 21-year-old woman who languished in bed for two and a half years before doctors diagnosed her with ME has called for greater awareness about the illness.

Lydia Marmorstein hopes to read Latin and Jewish Studies at UCL next year. She is looking forward to the prospect of leading an active student life, after being bedbound for the past three years.

Miss Marmorstein was offered a place at Middlesex University, but had to turn it down because of her condition.

Instead, she spent nine months in the Arbours Association therapeutic community in Church Lane, Hornsey, recuperating.

But she feels that more needs to be done to educate teachers, and even the medical profession, on the illness.

Miss Marmorstein said: "When I was in my teens, I just suddenly found I was extremely exhausted and even small tasks were a huge effort.

"The teachers at school weren't particularly sympathetic, but two and a half years after I first went to the doctors I was told I had ME.

"The past couple of years have been difficult because I haven't been able to take up a place at university and my social life has been put on hold. If I go out with my friends I often have to go home early because I get very tired and my muscles start to ache,"

She lives with her parents in Hillside Road in Tottenham. Her father, Yaakov, is the Rabbi at the Clapton synagogue.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Encephalopathy is a chronic illness, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and sometimes diagnosed as Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome.

It affects more than 250,000 people in Britain. Common symptoms include persistent exhaustion, poor concentration, headaches, muscle pain and digestive problems.

A survey of 2,763 people released on ME Awareness Day, which was last Monday, reveals that for one in five people, including more than one in four children, it took more than two years to get a diagnosis.

Mary-Jane Willows, chief executive of the Association of Young People with ME (Ayme), said: "Children are still waiting too long for a diagnosis. We know if specialist help is given at an early stage, the prognosis becomes more optimistic."

TV presenter Esther Rantzen, who lives in Hampstead and whose daughter, Emily, suffered from ME for 14 years, said: "It is shocking that so many people still suffer so severely with no treatment or support.

"It's especially tragic for children and young people since they suffer not only from the illness but from the loneliness and isolation it creates."

"The impact of ME on young people is especially damaging because it hits them at a crucial stage of their lives. Without support the impact can be severe."

Ms Rantzen has pledged to support a former ME sufferer Martyn Jones, who is cycling the route of the Tour de France to raise £30,000 for Ayme and the British Heart Foundation.

For more information about ME visit the Ayme and Action for ME websites, www.ayme.org.uk and www.afme.org.uk.

charlotte.newton@hamhigh.co.uk


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