by Jeanne Hambleton © 2008

NFA Leader Against Pain-Advocate


Although Lou Crane  (19) loves her Mum to bits, living with her fibromyalgia is not always easy. Her Mum can be so stubborn as she insists on doing things that most people in her condition would not even think about, said Lou.


But in spite of their ‘ups and downs’ they were both involved in an effort to raise money for the Fibromyalgia Association UK and a book research project, to find a cure for fibromyalgia, on the International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, May 12. This week FMA UK and PAIN 24/7 The Fibromyalgia Jigsaw both received a donation from Lou’s cake bake fund raising.


It began earlier in the year when Mum talked about raising money for research for May 12. With serious back problems to add to her FM pains, Lou’s Mum, Linda, was unable to organise a fund raising event herself, and Lou offered to do it for her.


Lou’s Mum contacted FMA UK who donated balloons, tee shirts and posters to help Lou raise awareness.


Determined to be involved one way or another Linda baked over 100 small fairy cakes and a large square cake for the ‘guess the weight’ competition.


Lou encouraged her fellow student at the City of Stoke on Trent Sixth Form Centre to support the fund raising cake bake and they provided brownies and cookies to sell.


Lou told me, “We chose to sell the fairy cakes because we knew from previous fundraisers they sell well with the students and the guess the weight cake was mainly done for the staff – our English teacher Sukhraj won it in the end!


“Most people bought the cakes to eat at College however some staff did buy them to take home for their children.


“Derek Poulson, our tutor worked with us and Rachel and Kat took photos and helped to organise the stand.”


The students who took part in the fund raising for fibromyalgia awareness were between 16 and 19. Those involved were Lou Crane, Lee Sullivan, Franki Whieldon, Kathy Davies, Cat Trinder, Harry Bradford, Alice Caton, Lisa Haynes, Sam Massey, Max Buiskool, Hannah Lawrence and the tutor. 


Lou who is studying at the Sixth Form Centre said, “We have three big fundraising events a year but as there are only 11 people on my course (International Baccalaureate) we try to do as many as we can, just involving us as part of our course. This entails us doing creativity action and service modules voluntarily.”


International Baccalaureate is a recognised leader in the field of international education, encouraging students to be active learners.


The course leads to a qualification that is widely recognised by the world’s leading universities. Students learn more than a collection of facts. The Diploma Programme prepares students for university and encourages them to ask challenging questions; learn how to learn; develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture; and develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.




Asked what it is like living with a Mum who has fibromyalgia, Lou said, “I guess I forget sometimes because I have lived with it for so long. Mum is in more pain because she does so many things despite of her illness.


“When she has the bad times it is hard because she can be in bed for weeks or months on end. We all have to help out with looking after my little brother and Mum and the house.


“I think the hardest thing is seeing her through the worst parts and the fact that her she forgets things I have told her only five minutes before!


“It is easy to forget that she is ill when she is so stubborn with it and insists, half the time, in doing things that most people in her condition would not even think about!”


Asked if she had anything to say about the team who helped her, Lou said, “I really want to say a big thank you to everyone for helping out with the baking, the whole day and putting in all the effort with something they are not familiar with. It was really kind of everyone make a great effort to make the event a success.


“Mum told me there are over two million people suffering with fibromyalgia, mainly women, so it was really really worth the effort. By the way I do love you Mum – I hope they find a cure soon.”




Linda, who gave her time and donated the ingredients, wrote and told me, “I baked around 140 fairy cakes which was not so bad. The icing and decorating of them was a pain but never mind it was all in a good cause. I then decided I did not feel too bad at all, so I baked a large square cake to decorate and put on as a ‘guess the weight and win it’. While I sat down for the first time that day to wait for it to bake and cool. low and behold I seized up. I was oh so stiff I cannot tell you.  Silly me, I should have kept pottering but I am foolish at times…..In the end I did not decorate the cake until nearly midnight. I decided against the FMS UK logo, as I was exhausted. I picked up the first colour icing I found in the cupboard and decided on a simple, striking but attractive design.”


I am sure Lou’s English teacher was delighted with the cake.


Linda added, “When I am having a foggy week, as Lou says, I drive her mad because I ask her the same things five times in an hour and cannot remember anything she tells me. She gets so fed up repeating herself, but she always adds that she knows it is not my fault – poor Lou!”


Praising the students on the course, Linda said, “At Christmas they went round old folks homes carol singing. They are decent kids who try to help wherever they can and put themselves out for worthy causes and people who are not as well off as themselves. I think it is commendable in this day and age, where the young are often slated for their many faults.”


A fantastic effort by a daughter for her fibromyalgic mother and by the fibromite who helped her daughter to raise money for research for the fibromyalgia community. Well done and thanks for making the effort!  Talk soon Jeanne



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