Poetry collection boosts illness battle

A YOUNG Suffolk scholar who was robbed of her university years by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is today hoping that a collection of her poetry will raise enough money to buy the treatment that could change her life.

A YOUNG Suffolk scholar who was robbed of her university years by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is today hoping that a collection of her poetry will raise enough money to buy the treatment that could change her life.

Jenny Rowbory , 20, of Harvester's Way, Martlesham, has seen her health decline rapidly since being diagnosed with the condition, also known as ME, in early 2005.

She said: “I was in my first term at Bristol University when I first became ill at the end of 2004.

“At first it was just a virus with flu-type symptoms but it gradually got worse and in February 2005 I was diagnosed with ME.”

Miss Rowbory, who achieved four As at A-level, was unable to return to university, where she was studying Classics, and her condition has continued to decline, to the point where she now needs to use a wheelchair to get around.

She said: “I suffer from a range of symptoms really - muscle pain, exhaustion, dizziness and severe headaches.

Most Read

“Some days it is difficult to wash or even speak.”

There is no known cure for the condition and doctors in England have said there is little more they can do to help but Miss Rowbory believes a drug called Nexavir, which is currently only available in America, could be the key to her recovery.

She said: “My mum started doing some research about ME and found out about a man called Professor De Meirleir who is based in Belgium.

“He believes that you can tell from a set of blood tests what kind of ME a person has and how well it will respond to treatment.”

Ms Rowbory and her family travelled to Brussels to meet him and the test results showed that her ME could benefit hugely from Nexavir.

She said: “It is not available in this country at the moment but has helped thousands of sufferers in America.

“We can buy it privately but this will be expensive and that's the main drawback.”

It is estimated that Miss Rowbory will need between seven to 12 months supply of the drug - at a cost of £350 a month.

In a bid to start raising the funds she has now compiled a collection of her own poetry in a book called Anchor's Away.

She said: “I've always enjoyed writing poetry and I thought it would be a good idea as it's one of the few things I can still do.

“Some of them were written before I became ill and others have been written since my diagnosis and reflect some of my feelings and frustration.”

If she is successful in her bid to raise the fund Miss Rowbory hopes to be able to take up a place at Cambridge University next September.

Anchors Away! - a collection of poems by J.K. Rowbory is available from www.magic-pencilpress.co.uk or by sending a cheque for £8.99 made payable to Jenny Rowbory Medical Fund Society to 35 Harvesters Way, Martlesham Heath, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP5 3UR.

ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy), or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is a chronic illness that affects around 240,000 people in the UK - the equivalent of one in 250 people.

It is a disease of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and so affects all bodily systems.

There is a long list of symptoms but some of the main ones include severe headaches, muscle and joint pain, weakness/exhaustion, vertigo, dizziness, swollen glands, a weakened immune system, insomnia, trouble with temperature regulation and heart irregularities.

The severity of the illness varies greatly from person to person, with some having to be tube-fed and bed-bound, whereas others are just about able to manage a part-time job. In some cases it can be fatal.

SOURCE: www.magic-pencilpress.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter