For many years, there was a debate as to whether chronic fatigue illness M.E. was actually a genuine illness at all.
But Desborough gift shop owner Becky Lambert knows it’s a real condition - herself and two of her daughters are sufferers.
The World Health Organisation, the Department of Health, the Royal Colleges of Physicians, Psychiatrists and GPs also now recognise the condition. And it’s not just “feeling tired”.
“I got M.E. when I was 13” said Becky (37). “I was bedridden for a year and in a wheelchair for a year. My education was ruined.”
Her eldest daughter Chloe (19) was diagnosed with M.E. four years ago, following a bout of glandular fever.
And doctors broke the news last year that second daughter Courtney (13) is also suffering.
Becky has responded by making sure her girls - including Ebony (11) and Phoebe (four) - are home- educated by tutors, so the “family illness” won’t disrupt their schooling like it disrupted her’s.
“When I was diagnosed, people used to call it ‘Yuppie ‘Flu’ and thought it was all in the mind” said Becky.
“My GP was so dismissive, he told my mum: ‘give her a paracetamol and she’ll be fine’. It took me three years to start feeling better and there were many times when I thought I never would.
“Now I look at my daughters and I know what they’re going through. It’s not just the symptoms, it’s what M.E. robs you of – the things that ‘normal’ teenagers get to do. I do feel it robbed me of my teenaged life.”
Becky now runs her own business - The Angel Within gift shop on Station Road, Desborough.
“I think really I’m a very driven person” said Becky. “I may have a bad day or a bad week, but you get back up and you try again.”
Husband Carl (37), a warehouse despatch supervisor, is helping raise funds for the M.E. charity by running the Milton Keynes Marathon on Bank Holiday Monday (May 2).
He has raised £750 for his marathon run so far.
To sponsor Carl, visit his Justgiving page www.justgiving.com/carllambert
Helen Hyland from the M.E. Association said: “We are very grateful to Carl for raising funds for us.
“M.E. is a much misunderstood illness, that over the years has carried a great deal of stigma.
“Only now, with more research, are the real physical effects coming to light.”