By Ryan Prior
Today, the Blue Ribbon Foundation announced the launch of Step Up for M.E., an online platform that facilitates international fundraising for the ME/CFS community. The platform is modeled after those by non-profits such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer's Association, all of which use online fundraisers to raise millions of dollars for research, education, advocacy, and legal aid, and to bolster support for the families of those afflicted with these illnesses.
"We wanted a dynamic, easy-to-use platform for our patient community to emulate successful models of grassroots advocacy in other diseases," said Nicole Castillo, the director of the Blue Ribbon Foundation.
Established by Ryan Prior and Nicole Castillo, co-directors of an upcoming documentary film on ME/CFS, the Blue Ribbon Foundation intends to serve as a 501(c)3 charity that will foster interdisciplinary collaboration between ME/CFS patients, physicians, and researchers. It entails a comprehensive vision to revolutionize ME/CFS physician education, and consequently, transform the health care of our patients.
The Step Up for M.E. platform will help support the proposed educational initiatives of the Blue Ribbon Foundation, including $50,000 annually for a medical fellowship to inspire medical students about neuro-immune diseases, as highlighted by Llewellyn King.
“We were impressed by a quote by Dan Peterson from the pre-released documentary footage: ‘It’s scary to think who is going to take care of these patients when the first generation of the pioneers is retired,’” said Joey Tuan, a member of the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We want to rally the community around a positive cause in response to Peterson’s concern about the trajectory of ME/CFS care.”
Learn more about the new platform and to become involved in grassroots awareness activities in your community below. View the Foundation’s fellowship (video) that outlines its proposal to inspire the next generation of ME/CFS physicians.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation [from the website]:
"In the spirit of a true grassroots organization, The Blue Ribbon Foundation started as an idea, which manifested into a documentary (The Blue Ribbon: ME/CFS and the Future of Medicine), and eventually shaped a movement.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation’s mission is to foster an international public dialogue that can lead to finding the cause, cure, and prevention of neuro-immune diseases.
The Foundation’s Board of Directors consists of:
Linda Tannenbaum (Executive Director, Open Medicine Foundation)
Joey Tuan (Co-Founder, HealClick.com)
Giridhar Subramanian (Analyst, CSX Transportation)
Hannah Tsui (Entrepreneur)
Nicole Castillo (Cinematographer, Editor, The Blue Ribbon documentary film)
Ryan Prior (Producer, Writer, The Blue Ribbon documentary film)
We also have a team of volunteers who help run day-to-day operations.
The Foundation’s programs consist of:
(Next six months)–Producing the documentary feature film The Blue Ribbon: ME/CFS and the Future of Medicine.
(Next 6-12 months)–Screenings of the documentary and administering the Blue Ribbon Fellowship for medical students to study ME/CFS at some of the premier neuro-immune institutes in the world.
(12 months+)–Raising funds for medical research (most likely for the Open Medicine Institute’s initiatives) via the Step Up for ME program.
The Blue Ribbon Foundation is a non-profit corporation established in the State of Georgia and currently applying for 501(c)3 status. Donations made after the filing date are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. See us for more details."