A PEEBLES woman who has been housebound for more than two years has made a heartfelt plea for help to get out and about.

Phoebe Boag, who was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in 2015, is reaching out to locals in a bid to collect enough money for an electric wheelchair.

Despite her condition being classed as a disability, Phoebe’s GP has said that she is not eligible for NHS help to get the equipment.

Instead, the 37-year-old former charity worker needs to raise £2,795 to buy the wheelchair, which she says will improve her quality of life.

And she is already two thirds of the way towards reaching her target, having raised £1,880 on her JustGiving page.

Phoebe told the Peeblesshire News: “I have the neuro-immune illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) which is, unfortunately, a massively misunderstood illness. It is not as the common myth describes ‘being tired’.

“It is hugely debilitating, and as a result I have been mainly housebound for over two years.

“Fatigue is only one of the symptoms, and often not even the worst symptom. For me my fatigue is less ‘feeling tired’, but more a severe lack of energy and strength, my body is unable to produce the required energy for the smallest day-to-day tasks and activities.

“It’s like my body is a battery that only ever reaches a 20 per cent charge, so I have to pace myself carefully thoughout the day.

“The days of going to work, followed by the gym, then home, then out for dinner, or the pub, or cinema are behind me, now just getting up, washed, dressed, can use an entire day’s worth of energy.”

She tells of her diagnosis on her JustGiving page: “At that time I was living in Leith and working for an Edinburgh-based homeless charity in a job that I loved.

“I had also just been offered the job/opportunity of a lifetime, I was going to be living and working at the ‘Penguin Post Office’ in Antarctica for four months.

“Unfortunately, just a few months before I was due to leave, I became unwell with a set of mysterious symptoms, and I had to pull out of Antarctica.

“I was eventually signed off work in December 2014, I was diagnosed with ME early 2015, and moved back to my hometown Peebles, so I would be closer to my mum, who does a lot to care for me.”

Phoebe added: “My GP agrees that an electric wheelchair is good choice for me but, because I can walk from the waiting room to my GP’s office, that means I’m not eligible.

“It doesn’t matter that I cannot stand or walk for more than a minute or so without experiencing symptoms.

Phoebe hopes that the crowdfunding campaign will also help raise awareness of her illness.

“ME affects at least 250,000 in the UK, there are no treatments and there is no cure, no dedicated nurses or consultants.

“In fact many medical professionals haven’t even heard of ME, or don’t believe it’s a real illness. I wish I was exaggerating when I say this, but we receive no support at all.

“When I was first diagnosed, early 2015, my GP at the time, told me to ‘google it’. I can’t imagine a doctor would tell that to anyone with any other illness.”

She added: “I’m hoping to raise enough money to buy the wheelchair in 30 days. If I do go over my target, I’ll be donating the extra cash to the UK charity, Invest In ME Research.”

Phoebe also runs a blog, documenting her day-to-day life with the condition, https://puffinsandpenguins.wordpress.com.

To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/phoebeselectricwheelchair