Probably the easiest money we’ll ever raise is up for grabs in an online voting contest in which UK research charity Invest in ME is a frontrunner.
Anyone can vote, from anywhere in the world, and you vote just once, but you need a Google or Facebook account to do so (or to be willing to spring for postage).
The contest is being held by Direct Debit, who manage automated bill payments in the UK. They’re running a fresh contest each month until June, each with a top prize of £2,000 ($3,100), a second prize of £1,000 ($1,500) and £2,000 ($3,100) divided equally between a small number of runners-up.
We want the first prize for the April contest and, at the time of writing, Invest in ME is already in second place. Even if we get to first, we can’t be complacent: there are a few mega-charities in the pool whose supporters seem to be asleep but will give us a real run for our money (literally) if they wake up.
Invest in ME
Invest in ME (IiME) were only founded in 2005 but have made a big impact on the ME scene, with their driving passion for biomedical research. They want a national strategy for biomedical research into the causes, pathology and epidemiology of WHO-defined ME, leading to diagnostic biomarkers, medical treatments, and a cure.
With that focus, it’s hardly surprising that they’ve made a big hit with ME patients both in the UK and beyond, and one of their main activities is hosting an annual, international ME conference which now attracts not just clinicians and researchers but patient advocacy groups and journalists from all over the world.
This year’s conference, to be held on May 31 in London, has an impressive line-up that includes Dr Mady Hornig, the director of the eagerly-awaited Lipkin pathogen study; Prof. Sonya Marshall-Gradisnik of Bond University’s PHANU; Prof. Olav Mella and Dr Ǿystein Fluge of the Norwegian Rituximab study; and Dr Andreas Kogelnik of the Open Medicine Institute. One of the main functions of a conference is to get the right people in the same room together and it looks as though IiME know exactly how to do that.
Invest in ME’s other big project is to establish a UK and European Centre of Excellence for translational biomedical ME research, clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment for patients, that will also offer training and information for healthcare staff. The centre, using existing NHS infrastructure as far as possible, and based around the Norwich Research Park, will collaborate with international biomedical researchers. IiME have already raised £88,000 of the £100,000 needed to begin their first research project.
And finally, something I really like about IiME: they’re advertising the fundraising drive for Norway’s Rituximab trial. As they say, it’s not a competition.
That kind of attitude deserves our support and we can give it for free, for just a mouseclick.
How to vote
You only need to vote once – how refreshing! – and you can vote from anywhere in the world by logging into your Facebook or Google account and then going to Invest in ME’s voting page. Scroll down a bit and hit the big red button at the bottom right that says, ‘Vote for this cause’.
Only one vote for IiME is allowed from each IP address, which means that you can only get one vote per internet connection in your house.
Unusually, if you don’t have a Facebook or Google account you can vote by post. Send a postcard with your name and address, saying that you’re voting for Invest in ME, to: The Big Break, 131-151 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 5BB. The closing date for votes is 30 April.
You can keep an eye on how we’re doing by going to this page and clicking on the ‘Rank’ sort-order button.
Please vote, and get your friends and family to vote. Let’s put a £2,000 smile on Invest in ME’s faces!