ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), also known as ME/CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome, is a condition that is not discussed within the medical curriculum in British Columbia, hence individuals within the medical profession as well as the community at large are not even aware of its existence. In order to bring light to the condition that affects millions, students of the Northern Medical Program reached out to the ME/FM Society of BC to put on a screening and panel: Q & A session for undergraduate, nursing, and medical students.
The #TimeforUnrest event in Vancouver on November 2017, was the main inspiration for bringing the event to the North. The team that put the Prince Geoge event on consisted of Elizabeth Sanchez and Rachelle Smalldon from the MEFM Society of BC. Kari Cross and her husband Gord Cross were present to both provide attendees with a presentation on what ME and the ME/FM Society of BC were, as well as provide attendees with an in-person perspective of the disease and its effect on individuals, as well as their families. Their experience was incredibly moving and invaluable to all who participated in the event. It emphasized just how real the impact of the disease is, as well as the importance of raising awareness about ME. The students who assisted with putting on the event were Neelam Minhas, Gurkirat Kaur, and Tarissa Alec from the Northern Medical Program of BC.
The event took place on April 10th, 2018. As individuals watched the film they were amazed with what they saw before them. Some of those in attendance knew of family members and friends with the condition but had never realized how broad the scope of the disease could be. You could hear them gasp, laugh, and fall silent as the film progressed. Students in attendance later voiced their appreciation for the event and appeared inspired to let others know of the film.
As a student within the medical program I feel it is important for us to be advocates for our patients and ensure they have a voice within the system. There are millions of patients around the world with ME that are missing and we need to find them, and make sure they are not forgotten or left to fall through the cracks within the system. We hope to continue to spread awareness within our communities and keep the #TimeForUnrest in BC campaign going. We are very thankful to those who attended this event in Prince George as well as Kari and Gord Cross for being so open and willing to share their story with us. It meant a great deal.