Missing Years

These squares have been lovingly crafted in a bid to raise awareness of the little understood but devastating diseases known as ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. They show the number of years that sufferers have lost to these illnesses.

Many contributors are too unwell to leave their homes (and sometimes their beds) very often, too ill to work or take part in sporting or social activities. They range in age between 17 and 69 years old and live mostly in the UK, the USA and Australia.

The total number of years lost to illness by the 55 people who participated, depicted in the squares, is 1109. On average that is 20 years and 2 months per person.

This is even more shocking when you consider that some people have only included the more severely affected years when life as they once knew it changed completely, ignoring those times when they were experiencing symptoms but still able to push on regardless. The squares depict lengths of illness ranging from 4 to 45 years, though one participant has been ill for all of her 69 years: she couldn't bear to put such a high number.

The instigator of the project and the person who compiled all our squares into one is Jo Clarke. 

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