CFIDS Association Spring Research Fundraiser Launches with Jennifer’s Story

Kim McCleary, president & CEO of the CFIDS Association of America, has issued the following fundraising appeal for their new Research Institute Without Walls (RIWW). This appeal features the story of one CFS patient whose experience speaks for many – young Jennifer Wright. (Moved by Jennifer’s story, CFIDS Assoc. Scientific Director Dr. Suzanne Vernon quickly indicated she would match donations to RIWW in Jennifer’s name up to $1,000.)


Catalyst Fund Spring Campaign Launches

Together, We Can Shape a Brighter Future

Every person afflicted with chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS, and every family touched by this debilitating illness, has a powerful story to share. Always poignant, frequently heartbreaking, these stories – our stories – remind us why it’s so important that we shape a new, brighter future, together.

For Jennifer E. Wright and millions of others afflicted with CFS, the stakes have never been higher, and the breakthrough approach to research embodied in the new Research Institute Without Walls (RIWW) has never been more important.

Here is Jennifer’s story

In the summer and fall of 2009, Jennifer got married, celebrated her 24th birthday, started a new job, pursued graduate studies in industrial organizational psychology at Salem State University … and started to feel very sick.

I would collapse to the floor because my stomach was in such severe pain,” she says. “I would lie in bed screaming because I had unbearable headaches that persisted for hours. I also developed severe swallowing problems that led to substantial weight loss.”

Following months of repeated emergency room visits, a full week of hospitalization in October, and week after week in excruciating pain and agony, Jennifer was diagnosed with CFS in February 2010.

Today, Jennifer is housebound, confined to her bed 90 percent of the time.

Despite taking many medications, she continues to struggle with severe muscle pain, headaches, breathing difficulties, dizziness and nausea, as well as severe sensitivity to chemicals, light, odors, sounds and motion.

Prayer, faith, and the support of my wonderful husband and family help me get through the days,” Jennifer says. Still, “one of the hardest things to deal with is the unknown. We need answers.”

After years of conducting research in traditional ways, “the RIWW is like a reboot – a new beginning,” Jennifer continues. “Every branch of the RIWW is working collaboratively for the common goals of CFS research, and I think that every dollar contributed is being utilized to its maximum benefit. That’s why donating money to the Catalyst Fund is so important… to keep hope alive for CFS sufferers.”

The Catalyst Fund spring fundraising drive is now underway. [To donate, go to] All contributions help power the RIWW, which puts people at the very heart of the search for better diagnostics and treatment.  As CFIDS Association of America scientific director Dr. Suzanne Vernon explains:

We’re giving people with CFS back a stake in the future – and a role in the research that, ultimately, will impact their daily lives.”

Please watch your mail and email for campaign updates, research progress reports and more personal stories about the people who inspire all of us to be Catalysts for hope and change.

Your gift will go a long way toward accelerating the pace of discovery for effective treatment.

Help Jennifer and millions of other people afflicted with CFS reclaim their lives. Make the most generous gift you can today at

Thank you for your generosity.

Kim McCleary, April 25, 2012

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