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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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VIDEO: West Cumbrian band show they Believe in ME

A West Cumbrian band has released a song to raise awareness of ME.

skinwalker 2501
IT’S NOT MY LIFE: Skinwalker, from left: Jeff Downey (keyboards/vocals), Paul Doherty (guitar/vocals), Kev Robinson (vocals/bass), Jim McClelland (guitar/vocals) and Mike Ellis (drums/vocals)

Members of Skinwalker – Jeff Downey, Paul Doherty, Kev Robinson, Jim McClelland and Mike Ellis – collaborated on It’s Not My Life for the ME and Fibro North West support group.

Drummer Mike, 44, was diagnosed with myalgic encephalopathy in 1993.

The chronic illness, which has no cure, causes many symptoms, including fatigue and muscle pain and inability to work. The father-of-three was confined to bed for six months.

Mike, of Sandy Lonning, Maryport, said: “It took me years to come to terms with it and realise I could have a life.

“People think it’s not really an illness and don’t understand because it’s main symptom is chronic tiredness and can affect people in different ways.

“But it affects thousands of people and we need to raise awareness of it.”

Mike, who is married to Ali, helped set up the group, whose slogan is Believe in ME, last year with fellow sufferers to make sure there was a support network.

Music has been his saviour from the illness.

He said: “It has helped me cope in a way that medicine never could. It’s hard going, but I’ve learnt techniques over the years to help me last through a gig.”

Skinwalker came together in 2006 and have built up a loyal following. The band found out this week that their track Goodnight Sister Suzi has reached number 36 in the Tourdates chart.

Mike said the band had been extremely supportive of his condition. It’s Not My Life is based on Mike’s experiences and feelings about ME.

He said: “I wrote down how it affected me and made me feel and from that, Kev got the lyrics together. He’s done an amazing job.

“We wrote the song to raise ME’s profile and the profile of the support group. We want as many people as possible to hear it and if it makes them stop and think for a minute, then it’s done its job.”

This year will be a busy one for Mike and the support group.

May 12 is international ME awareness day and they are organising an all-day gig – Rocking for ME – at Maryport’s Grasslot Welfare Club on May 11, featuring Black Wolf Run, No Idea, Brightside, 13 Stars, Skinwalker and others.

Mike said: “We held a gig with Black Wolf Run last year, which went really well, and thought an all-day gig would be a great idea.

“All of the support group, have been busy organising it all and we hope people will attend to support us.”

l See the video for It’s Not My Life at www.timesandstar.co.uk

Have your say

Dear confused, I am confused as to how you managed to make such an detromental comment but failed to put your name to it. Says alot. I to am a M.E sufferer and have been for a couple of years. I was extemely active before, rowed for Warrington, worked every hour god sent before I had my children. Then I have worked while bringing up my children by myself without help or family.Helping anyone else who needed it and never putting myself first. I do still work and find it a huge struggle and crash out when I come home. Constant pain and no life. Because you cant see it are constantly told you look ok. My children have to help which is not what they should be doing at this time in their life. But they see and understand how much I suffer as they live with me. The people who see me at work see a put on smile and true strength to get through a few hours work.
Well done to Mike for using your small reserve of energy to give enjoyment to others and a tiny slice of enjoyment for yourself even though you know how your body will react to it for days to come. Far more people will see the good you do Mike and hopefully the narrow minded will start to be educated through the work you have put in.

Posted by Helen Corless on 18 March 2013 at 10:36

to the "cynical confused person" who daren't give a name - don't comment on something you obviously don't know anything about. I have had me.for 8 years. Previously I was a workaholic,went to the gym 4 times a week. Well done Mike for pacing yourself so you can do yr gigs. I am sick of people who say "oh you look ok" when actually you are struggling to stand up or dizzy, nauseous. Gillian, its so different doing one thing that Mike enjoys to working 5 days a week. My daughter has m.e. too, she was put on a course by the job centre, one day a week for 6 hrs. She had to get driven home after 3 hrs cos she collapsed. Mike will be resting prior and in bed after. Noone sees that side of him except his poor family. Sean, i have gradually got better too and work full time but on my days off I crash and can hardly walk across the floor. "confused" get on the internet and google it and then you may get a slight insight into what us sufferers actually are going through.

Posted by Janis houghton on 17 March 2013 at 10:28

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