Driving research of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS),
Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia and Post COVID .

An Interview with Ambassador Jennie Jacques!

An Interview with OMF Ambassador Jennie Jacques

Jennie talks chronic illness awareness, “Bake 4 ME/CFS”, & more!

Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is proud to have ambassadors who use their influential voices to call attention to our mission. As part of our May Momentum campaign, we are delighted to share a new interview with OMF Ambassador Jennie Jacques!

Jennie is an accomplished English actress known for many TV and movie roles, including “Vikings”, a popular historical drama television series airing on the History channel, where she plays the role of Saxon Queen Judith. Last year, Jennie launched “Bake4MECFS“, a virtual bake-off fundraiser for OMF.

Today Jennie discusses her OMF fundraising efforts and reflects on life in lockdown — just over a year after the start of the global pandemic.

Baked by @wordsasmedicine

Since launching Bake4MECFS, you’ve raised over $1,200 for OMF funded research. What has the experience been like? 

It has been inspiring to have people of all ages and baking levels enter the contest! It’s also just a fun way to help raise awareness for ME/CFS and Post-COVID. I particularly enjoy coming up with new themes for each baking round.

For example, this month’s round is called “The Pawfect Bake-off”, and is pet/animal themed! We are really grateful to have my Vikings costar Linus Roache on the judging panel this time around with his dog Monty! Plus Dog Chef and YouTube star Milo The Toller!

In addition to the Celebs supporting the bake-off, I am delighted to have artists on Instagram generously offering their talent for personalised prizes too; artists Felicity Franks, Chloe Bruce and Kitty Sharp! So much creativity for a great cause… I love it. The Pawfect Bake-off was also recently featured in the news!

How did you first get the idea to launch this creative type of fundraiser for OMF?

My partner was having a mini virtual bake-off with his mates during the first lockdown (as you do), and we both had a lightbulb moment – BAKE4MECFS!

BAKE4MECFS is a light-hearted way to raise awareness for an illness that can be so debilitating and heavy. Also, for those unable to join in (due to chronic illness), we offer the option to have a baker enter the contest on your behalf! We accept a photo of a cake that you would like us to bake, and we try to find a baker who can make it happen. I just want this fundraiser to be as inclusive as possible.

You’ve had many celebrity judges, including Miranda Hart and co-star Amy Bailey. Having celebrities speak out is a huge step in raising awareness! Do most of the people you approach to be a guest judge already know about ME/CFS, or do you find that it has been an opportunity to educate?

I’d say it’s a bit of both! Some people already know about ME/CFS, while others appreciate being enlightened and then helping the cause. The more people I can get talking about post-viral illness with an understanding of ME/CFS, the better. We’re in a pandemic driven by a viral infection. Because viruses are well-known triggers for ME/CFS, I believe it is crucially important to raise awareness of this disease, so Post-COVID patients know what they are potentially up against. It is predicted that there will be many more cases of ME/CFS in the aftermath of COVID-19. Because of this, it is also essential that we fundraise for scientific research investigating the correlation between ME/CFS and Post-COVID so treatments or clues can be found.

Have you been able to do a lot of baking in lockdown? What is your favorite thing to bake?

No, no this Saxon Queen doesn’t bake during the lockdown, she eats! Jokes aside, when I have tried to bake in the past, the kitchen gets wild and messy, and nothing edible comes out of the oven. I have always loved cooking, and I’m a decent chef when it comes to a spag bowl, a curry, or a big fat Sunday roast, but my “baking skills” are a different story. Ironic that I’d think up a baking contest, right?

 You have also been an excellent advocate for post-viral illness awareness, with a focus on people with Post-COVID syndrome. What inspires your advocacy? 

My heart goes out to those suffering from Post-COVID. COVID-19 is a new virus, but disabling long-term complications in the aftermath of a viral infection, are not new. ME/CFS patients, for example, have been suffering for decades.  As Post-COVID patients navigate the complex world of chronic illness, my words of wisdom would be to practice pacing while the science catches up.

Bake4MECFS Submissions, from left to right: @cakeitwithlisa, @thefluffycupcakeco@georgiascakes

I want to wrap my answers with a huge thank you to OMF. I’m really proud to be an ambassador. And I am hopeful that in time we will find a cure for all. Get your aprons on if you can, and check out www.bake4mecfs.com! The Pawfect Virtual Bake-off takes place until May 31 and proceeds support OMF’s #MayMomentum campaign. Don’t miss out! 

Please give to #MayMomentum and show the world that fighting ME/CFS should matter to everybody! Please visit May Momentum for more information.

 Prefer to use Facebook for one time giving? 
Check out our Facebook fundraiser.

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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME / CFS) Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), Fibromyalgia Leading Research. Delivering Hope.Open Medicine Foundation®

 

Averting a second pandemic:

Open Medicine Foundation leads groundbreaking international study of

Long COVID’s conversion to ME/CFS

AGOURA HILLS, CALIF.  — Open Medicine Foundation (OMF) is leading a large-scale international collaborative study investigating the potential conversion of Post-Acute Sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection — more commonly known as Long COVID or Post-COVID Syndrome —  to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), a chronic, life-altering disease with no known cause, diagnostic test or FDA approved treatments available.

Up to 2.5 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from ME/CFS; the COVID-19 pandemic could at least double that number. An estimated 35 percent of Americans who had COVID-19 have failed to fully recover several months after infection, prompting many to call it “a potential second pandemic.”

OMF recognized a familiar health crisis emerging, one with eerie similarities to ME/CFS. This crisis presented a unique opportunity to understand how a viral infection — in this case COVID-19 — may develop into ME/CFS in some patients. The goal is to find targeted treatments for ME/CFS patients and ultimately prevent its onset in people infected with SARS-CoV-2 or other infections.

The federal government is only now investing in Post-COVID research, with no focus on its connection to ME/CFS. OMF has already engaged researchers for the largest-scale study of its kind, solely supported by private donors who have contributed over one million dollars to date. When fully funded, the five million dollar, three-year study will be conducted across the globe at OMF funded Collaborative Research Centers, led by some of the world’s top researchers and ME/CFS experts.

BACKGROUND

In a significant percentage of patients, infections preceded their development of ME/CFS.  For example, according to the CDC about one in ten infected with Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River virus, or Coxiella burnetti develop symptoms that meet the criteria for ME/CFS.

THE STUDY

The ability to follow the development of ME/CFS from a known viral infection is unprecedented to date and crucial to researchers’ understanding of the disease. The focus of this study is to find the biological differences between persons returning to good health after COVID-19 and persons who remained ill more than six months after infection and developed ME/CFS.  Understanding these alterations in key pathways can lead to groundbreaking discoveries including new biomarkers, drug targets, and prevention and treatment strategies.

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About Open Medicine Foundation

Established in 2012, Open Medicine Foundation leads the largest, concerted worldwide nonprofit effort to diagnose, treat, and prevent ME/CFS and related chronic, complex diseases such as Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Post COVID. OMF adds urgency to the search for answers by driving transformational philanthropy into global research. We have raised over $28 Million from private donors and facilitated and funded the establishment of five prestigious ME/CFS Collaborative Research Centers around the world. To learn more, visit www.omf.ngo.

CONTACT:

Heather Ah San

Development and Communications Manager

1-650-242-8669

heather@omf.ngo