April’s ME/CFS Story:
“Our Bodies May Be Weak, But Our Spirits are Strong”
My name is April Thompson. I am an ME/CFS sufferer and OMF donor and supporter. I’m also the founder of the Chronic Market, a platform for artists and artisans disabled by the condition ME/CFS to sell their work, share their stories, create awareness about the condition, and raise funds for research and advocacy.
I developed ME/CFS 13 years ago when I was in peak health and physical conditioning, a multi-sport athlete who had run marathons, boxed competitively, and climbed mountains all over the world. A virus I picked up while traveling in Europe lingered and left me so weak, I couldn’t make it around the block. Just days earlier I’d been able to run miles on end. It has waxed and waned over the years, but I never fully regained my functioning.
I’m one of the lucky ones, able to work full time and generally high functioning, but all it takes is a single bout of exertion to put me down for weeks or potentially months. I’ve channeled my passions into more sedentary hobbies and interests, but you never get over mourning the loss of simple pleasures like long walks or dancing with abandon. If I were well tomorrow, the first thing I’d do is sprint down my block, without the fear of the many unpleasant symptoms that would incur were I to do that today. But while our bodies are weak, our spirits are strong. The unbreakable resilience of the ME/CFS community inspires me every day.
The research breakthroughs by researchers with OMF and other like institutions give me hope for treatment in my lifetime. The artists and vendors in the Chronic Market have few resources of their own, as most are unable to work full-time jobs, but elected to give a percent of the proceeds of each sale to OMF because research is our only real hope for understanding this disease and therefore ending it.