Rivka Solomon: ‘I have an advocate in Ed Markey’

Published: 7/30/2020 3:20:12 PM

During a 2017 town hall in Northampton, Sen. Ed Markey said to me: “I will be your advocate.” And he has not wavered since.

I am one of the millions of Americans disabled due to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). ME/CFS is a serious yet neglected disease that is in desperate need of funding for medical research. This systematic disease is frequently triggered by a virus. For me, it was mononucleosis from the Epstein-Barr Virus when I was in college. Now, decades later, I am still so sick I’m often bedridden.

Sen. Markey has not left me, nor the up to 2.5 million Americans suffering from ME/CFS, behind. When few else on Capitol Hill would listen, Markey stood up and fought for us through appropriations requests, bipartisan Senate resolutions, and letters to federal health agencies.

Because of his advocacy, the U.S. Senate recognizes May 12 as International ME/CFS Awareness Day. Research on post-epidemic and post-infection recovery shows that viruses often leave in their wake a good percentage of patients who never fully recover. We hope this does not happen with COVID. But if it does, it means we may soon see a surge of post-COVID patients eligible for an ME/CFS diagnosis.

Sen. Markey knows this, and he knows funding for ME/CFS and post-COVID research is essential at this time. So he led a bipartisan group of senators to call on Senate leadership to prioritize this medical research in the next COVID relief legislation.

Once again, Markey proves he is the champion we need for the disability community. ME/CFS leaves me with very limited daily function. Yet this part-time wheelchair user, who is often bedridden, still has hope. That’s because I know Sen. Ed Markey is fighting alongside me to find a treatment and a cure for ME/CFS.

Rivka Solomon

Pioneer Valley


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