Best ways to donate to ME/CFS Research  

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ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Stanford

Part of the
Stanford Genome Technology Center
The ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Stanford (MECFS CRC) is where the best research into ME/CFS is happening anywhere in the world. Your donation will have the biggest impact on patient's quality of life and go the furthest towards finding a diagnostic, treatments and a cure.
Click here on the ME/CFS collaborative Research Center Website:
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The Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) advocates for ME/CFS awareness and research funding that they allocate to ME/CFS research centers around the world. Ronald W, Davis, the Director the the ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center is the director of the scientific advisory board for OMF. They are a wonderful organization. But if you donate to OMF, only a portion or possibly none of your donated funds will go to the ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Stanford, where the best research is happening. However, you can donate to OMF and specify in your donation notes that all the funds go to the ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Stanford. They will honor that.

Support My Advocacy Work  

If you enjoy or benefit from my writings, photography and advocacy work please consider becoming a patron or making a contribution to support me continuing this work. It is expensive to produce and requires a great sacrifice on my part. But please do not feel obligated or hurt your ability to sustain yourself financially. My work will always be available to everyone for free.

You can also support me using these services:

Learn more about supporting my work


A lot of you ask or wonder in the comments how I write these pieces or make these photographs in this blog when I’m so severely ill with ME/CFS. The answer is actually pretty simple - sacrifice.

For example, during a recent week I woke up with energy and immediately used it to start working on a post to share on my social media pages. But after writing the post, making photographs for it and getting it scheduled on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and published on my blog (which all adds up to a lot of work), I was exhausted and wound up laying down still, sleeping uncontrollably for the rest of the day. And these are long 36 to 48 hour days for me. For complicated reasons, my schedule does not go with the sun, but rather with how long it takes to pump enough calories worth of liquid food into my jtube to sustain me, and when I can’t sleep or my stomach gets sensitive and delays my schedule, which happens most days, I wind up with 36 hour or 48 hour days. So in the end, the only thing I was able to do for 3 days was make a social media post during the only time that I had any mental clarity. The rest of the time I couldn’t answer emails, or spend time with my Niece when she was here, or text with my sister, or stay connected with people I care about online, or watch any movies or series, etc. I laid in bed still and mostly slept. This pattern is quite common for me.

So it’s not that I have more energy than other people, it’s that I prioritize writing and photographing and sharing that with all of you above all else. When I have energy, creating advocacy content is the first thing I do and often the last.

I had the idea recently to offer people the option to support this work and the energy I put into it. I don't have much going on outside of this work like a job, or a relationship, or many friends, or much energy to connect with my family. This is what I do with my free time and energy.

After I got a bit better from Abilify, I had the energy to work on more than I can now and more than this ME/CFS advocacy work and I started making my own headphones which is a hobby I started when I became housebound, as it’s something creative I can do sitting down inside that uses little energy. I completed multiple headphone models and started a website hoping to start a company selling them. You can read more about my headphones here:

 rhythmdevils audio

But I am now too sick to make production units to sell, so decided to hire a friend to make them for me, but I now have too little energy to train him and I’m worried about crashing from the training sessions even if I take Ativan to protect me. So it has been delayed for a long time. But i’m telling you because I may have a headphone company up and running at some point. Still, any funds generated from that company would just go towards paying back the significant R&D costs of developing them. And I’m too sick to keep creating new models and possibly too sick to make the company happen at all which breaks my heart as I’ve put so much love into the project and they are truly special, one of a kind headphones. So I may eventually have another job, but right now this work is my job and my purpose and it will always come before anything else.

My ME/CFS advocacy work also costs a lot of money in all the equipment I need to maintain like my computer, backup hard drives, the latest iPhone for the best image quality, a DSLR, a huge amount of camera gear to allow me to make images from bed, etc.

So since this ME/CFS advocacy work is a job for me (one I love) and is expensive, I’m going to let people make contributions to my work if they choose to on a Patreon page I’ve created, or directly with one time or recurring donations in multiple payment formats.

I want to be clear about this with you all though, that it is an option. I know that many or most of you are having a hard time financially, as this illness usually takes away our means of income while at the same time costing a lot of money because insurance doesn’t consider it legitimate. I could not even get a wheelchair from my insurance company covered when i could no longer walk to the kitchen to get food to keep myself fed, and a wheelchair would have allowed me to get to the kitchen freely. I had to buy a used wheelchair myself on Craigslist. This is just one example of course, there are many examples like this from all of us, most of which are cruel, inhumane and devastating. So I understand that it is difficult or impossible to maintain an income and a very expensive life to lead.

So I want to be clear that nothing I create will ever cost you money. I will never charge for anything of substance that I create unless it is published somewhere that does charge money for accessing it. My goal is to help ME/CFS patients, not to make money.

I also understand that donating to ME/CFS research is the most important thing, and I have links to donate to ME/CFS research displayed prominently everywhere i can, always above any link to support me.

But I believe that we need more than just research donations and that my work is important for awareness (which generates research donations) and directly important for patients, caregivers, friends, loved ones and our world wide community as a whole to survive and sustain itself.

So I want to allow people who can give back to me an opportunity to do so in whatever amount makes sense to them financially. I might make some exclusive content on my Patreon site, but it will never be anything that I think would benefit fellow patients or the community, it would only be fun bits and pieces. And if you donate a certain amount that makes it financially possible, I hope to offer an annual print of an image of mine, possibly with a quote or bit of inspiration.

I’m telling you this because I know how the internet works, rumors spread quickly and often seem more valid than the truth. I want you to know the truth here first and avoid you just finding "support my advocacy work" buttons on my blogs or pages and thinking the worst or hearing rumors from others about secret content. There will never be secret content for people who can contribute, only the knowledge that you are supporting me and possibly a gift if the amount you contribute makes a gift financially feasible for me to give back to you and I have the energy to create such a gift on top of my work.

Most importantly I want to be clear that I only want people to give what they can and what feels right to them. If that is nothing, that is fine.

So when you see buttons here or there to support my advocacy work, do not feel pressure, do not feel obligation, just feel an opportunity to give back to me if you enjoy or have benefitted from my works and if you are financially able to give an amount that won’t negatively impact your life.

I want to thank all of you regardless of whether you can give back to me financially or not, because you all give back to me in a huge way. I will always be grateful to this entire community for the sense of purpose you have given my life in this work. I don’t know what I would do if I had no way of helping the ME/CFS community. Even in 2013-2020 before I took Abilify, when I could not make this work because I was too sick to use a phone or computer or camera or even communicate in any way whatsoever, I was planning this work, writing pieces in my head, going over them time and time again so I would not forget them, and imagining what I would create. You all have given me a way to, in some ways, fulfill my dreams of using my creative energy to help people.

So thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart. I love the ME/CFS community, I love all my fellow ME/CFS warriors and the people who help them or sustain them or befriend them or love them. I love this whole community very deeply and would do anything in my power to help all of you.

Love,
Whitney  
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The Great Beyond

Having Severe ME/CFS is so close to being dead. There’s really no other way to describe the experience I have had. I don’t think it’s something that people who haven’t had severe ME/CFS can likely understand. Looking back at who I was when I had mild and moderate ME/CFS I’m not sure it’s something that even patients who haven’t been in the extremely severe state can fully understand. I was literally barely alive and I am confident that in short time science will prove that severe ME/CFS patients are barely alive and that ME/CFS patients in general are less alive mentally and physically than healthy people.

I think the only time a healthy person maybe experiences anything like this is shortly before actually dying. But in that case the person is generally in this state for a much shorter period of time and so remains much more connected to who they were, and their former lives. This is the state in which healthy people let go of their former lives and accept death. Which is probably one of the reasons suicide is so common for ME/CFS patients.

When I was severely ill I lost so much of myself. I was holding onto fragmented memories left imprinted in my mind of who I was but that person in reality didn’t exist anymore. The thought patterns and emotions and world views that created the person I was no longer existed. Yet I was still technically alive just enough to be conscious and bear witness to this state of non existence.

The suffering this causes is so profound. I can only liken it to one of the hell realms described in Tibetan Buddhism. A world full of nothing but pain, loss, agony and constant never ending challenges to holding onto what little I had left. Every mistake took me deeper into the void of nothingness.

As you know, I have recently gained back some of my mind and body. It feels like coming back from the dead. I’m in a strange state now where bits and pieces of Whitney have come back to life but most of me has not. I’m not able to get out of bed, eat or drink water or go out and feel the world again - feel that feeling that is being alive.

I have so far just been riding this wave of improvement and the new found abilities I have like being able to write and have some semblance of connection with the world again.

But some recent events have been a check on this improvement and made me realize how far I actually am from being Whitney again. I’ve realized that I don’t really know who I am anymore. I know who I used to be. But is that who I am? I guess I’ve realized that it is not.

The experience of being on death’s door for never ending years has changed me permanently. And yet I’m still not well enough to come anywhere close to fully inhabiting my own mind and body again. So I don’t really know who I am. I’m in a sort of limbo right now. Stripped of the person I once was and would have become but not able to take the experiences I’ve had and create a new person out of them. I’m still a ghost, suddenly no longer fully transparent yet at the same time unable to actually exist in physical form.

It’s so confusing.

While my new capabilities have improved my quality of life a small amount I realize how much I’m still suffering and how much is still missing from being a human being again. I’ve been so focused on my small improvements I’ve somewhat lost touch with how far away the world still is. When I think about it now, it’s hard for me to even imagine what it would be like to be fully healthy again. Out in the world again. Alive again.

I don’t know who I am going to become. But one thing I do know is how much the experience of loosing everything has taught me. I think ME/CFS is the greatest teacher I’ve ever had. So I have hope that when better treatments and then a cure is found I will be a much more conscious, wiser, more resized being. Whoever that person is that is waiting to be reborn is an incredible person and I can’t wait to see that person and be that person and contribute to the world with my whole being.

I think this is one of the most tragic things about the high rate of suicide among ME/CFS patients. These are people who have been through something completely unique to the rest of society and have a truly unique and profound perspective to offer the human race. When an ME/CFS patient ends their life so much is lost from the world.

We have seen the other side. And we need to stay alive so that we can join the world again and share with the rest of humanity what is really out there in the great beyond. We have an incredible understanding of what life is. How precious and fleeting it is. How little time we have. And more. These are lessons that most people never learn and we need to teach the rest of humanity how sacred the life they have truly is.
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