Leeds to host #MillionsMissing protest to highlight plight of people with chronic fatigue condition ME
Pairs of empty shoes will be lined up to highlight the struggles facing people with a chronic health condition as the city takes part in a global demonstration.
On Saturday Leeds City Square will be one of 90 sites around the world to host the #MillionsMissing protest, organised to raise awareness of the plight of ME sufferers.
The neurological condition, which causes pain and chronic tiredness, affects around 250,000 people in the UK and millions more around the world.
Yet campaigners say more money is spent researching male baldness than the debilitating illness, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
They will highlight a lack of support for ME suffers from health professionals who often do not believe that they are really ill.
Shoes on display at Saturday's protest will show how many people with ME are too ill to protest themselves.
The Leeds Millions Missing protest has been organised by Charlie Wainwright, 22, who lives in the city and became unwell with ME when she was 11.
Charlie said: "I have been hospitalised more than a few times, suffered through two operations and been IV fed.
"And yet I know that more research funding is ploughed into male pattern baldness than ME. I also know that I am lucky, many people with the condition receive little to no support from health professionals who believe that they are fabricating their illness, or even that ME doesn’t exist in the first place.
"People are being left house bound, or even bed bound. But we still are missing the vital research that we need. We are still subject to damaging medical treatment regimes.
"And we are still constantly living in fear of people not believing that we are even ill. This must change."
The protest will be held on Saturday from noon-3pm in City Square and is part of the week-long #MillionsMissing campaign.