Throughout May, people living with ME/CFS and their families, carers and allies organise and attend events and protests around Australia. In particular, the ME/CFS community rallies around the #MillionsMissing banner

2020 social media campaign: Hard to Say, Harder to Live With

This year, in response to COVID-19, all ME/CFS awareness activities took place online. Our campaign featured the #mecfschallenge and an #MMSelfie activity. As in previous years we marked the start of ME/CFS Awareness week by launching our main activities on the Saturday before May 12th. It was fantastic to see so many people around Australia (and the world!) take part in these to raise awareness of myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic fatigue syndrome. Thank you to everyone in the ME/CFS community, and to our supporters, for making our collective voices heard. 

The #mecfschallenge

The #mecfschallenge saw the ME/CFS community, friends, family and allies take to social media on Saturday May 9. Undertaking the challenge required participants to film themselves, in one take, stating:

“I’m taking the #mecfschallenge to raise awareness of ME/CFS and people living with myalgic encephalomyelitis – hard to say, harder to live with”.

The following videos featuring supporters of the ME/CFS community were viewed by people around the world: 


In past years, people living with ME/CFS who were unable to attend in-person ME/CFS Awareness Day and #MillionsMissing events have been represented as ‘missing’ with a pair of empty shoes. Shoes were accompanied by a label detailing their name, years missing and what they were missing from.

This year Emerge Australia worked with a brilliant graphic design team (some of whom have lived experience of ME/CFS) to produce over 100 personalised selfies for people living with ME/CFS based on the idea of these tags. These were posted and shared on social media throughout ME/CFS awareness week - making visible the stories of Australians living with ME/CFS.

#MillionsMissing is a global campaign for ME/CFS health equality.

#MillionsMissing started in 2016 in the United States, led by advocacy group #MEAction. It has since grown to become truly global, spanning more than 20 countries.

The campaign raises awareness of how people living with ME/CFS go ‘missing’ from their own lives – from pursuing studies and a career, from socialising with friends and family, even from leaving the house to shop for groceries or walk the dog.

In previous years, displays of empty shoes have been central to in-person #MillionsMissing events. These mark the absence of millions of people unable to attend because of the severity of their symptoms, and who desperately need greater support and health equality.

Emerge Australia is thankful for the incredible work the ME/CFS community undertakes each year to raise awareness. In 2019 we were particularly proud to host and support grassroots events around the country.

Shoes at Sydney #MillionsMissing, 2019
Shoes in Sydney 2019                   #MillionsMissing Melbourne 2019