Pippa was one of the first people I found on social media talking about CFS/ME. She was at university when we met (virtually speaking!) and it always amazed me how she managed to juggle everything including setting up a fundraising project. Here’s a little bit about her:
Could you introduce yourself?
Hello! *waves*. My name's Pippa and I'm 22 years old. I'm originally from Sheffield and now live in York. I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Psychology in Education and I'm now studying Health Psychology. I'm a chronic illness fighter and in 2015 founded Spoonie Survival Kits, my little non-profit fundraising project. When I'm not working I love to read and write, and I recently started my own blog about all my favourite things!
What condition(s) do you have, and how and when were you diagnosed?
My main condition is M.E. I've had the illness mildly since I was 15 years old, however it wasn't until a severe relapse at the age of 19 that I was referred to an ME/CFS service and properly diagnosed with the condition. Since then, I've developed various shenanigans related to this condition, including insomnia, migraines and autonomic dysfunction. I'm very lucky to have a place at a specialist fatigue clinic to help me manage these symptoms. I also have anaphylaxis and a handful of allergies... trying new food/medication is always an interesting experience!
How does it affect your daily life?
Although I'm still quite poorly, I feel very fortunate to have experienced some improvement in my symptoms over the last year or so. I'm currently able to study full-time as a distance learning student, meaning that I only work from home don't have contact hours to attend. Lectures in PJs is the way forward! I'm also lucky enough to live independently, with a lot of assistance. I can usually leave the house 1-2 times a week but mostly rely on a wheelchair. I live with a lot of debilitating symptoms but I'm very grateful to have the quality of life that I do: many young people with M.E cannot even leave their beds, and my heart goes out to them.
Tell us about your blog!
Happily! Basically, I love the theatre. I love watching musicals, and essentially started my blog so I had a space for uncontrolled fan-girling over all the things I see. I've also started blogging about what I'm reading, and once I get a little more confident I'm hoping to post about lifestyle and fundraising, and maybe chronic illness too. I started blogging in January 2017 so I'm still quite new, but I'm absolutely loving creating content and the opportunities its bringing me. Yay! You can find my blog at lifeofpippa.co.uk
Tell us about Spoonie Survival Kits!
Spoonie Survival Kits is like my baby, seriously. It started as a tiny little fundraising project in my university holidays, and the positive response it elicited from the chronic illness community has allowed it to grow and grow. We basically create 'little bags of happiness' for chronic illness sufferers, full of items designed to lift them up on tough symptom days and remind them that somebody cares. The kits are sold on Etsy, with 25% of sales money being used to sustain the project, and 75% being donated to various chronic illness charities. I'm chuffed to have raised over £3000 so far. I have some fabulous volunteers, Lauren and Nikki, who bring such expertise and creativity to the project, and I'm really striving to provide accessible volunteering opportunities for those with long-term illnesses.
We're currently making some pretty massive changes to SSK to help us cope with the increasing demand; I can't say too much about that yet, but watch this space! For now, you can buy the last few of the original kits from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/spooniesurvivalkits. We're also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you want to say hello!