Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson has been appointed patron for the Northern Ireland charity Hope 4 ME & Fibro.
Following a reception at Stormont to mark the occasion, a spokesperson for the charity said: “We are delighted to announce Jo-Anne Dobson MLA has accepted our invitation to become patron.
“This Patronage was invited in recognition for past and continuing hard work shown by Jo-Anne in support of our campaign for specialist NHS services, for all patients suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and/or Fibromyalgia.
“Jo-Anne has shown unwavering commitment by attending all events and conferences hosted by our Charity since 2014.
“She has personally hosted an ‘ME Fibromyalgia MLA Engagement event’, given a prestigious platform for the Prof James Coyne PACE Trial presentation and also hosted the recent ‘Millions Missing’ demonstration at Stormont.
“Jo-Anne continues to put questions to the Minister for Health, covering many aspects of healthcare provision for ME and Fibromyalgia, ensuring this patient population receives representation.
“We are especially grateful for Jo-Anne accepting the Patronage role.”
Mrs Dobson said: “It is a very great honour for me to be recognised in this way by a charity which does so much to fight for equality of treatment for all patients suffering ME and Fibromyalgia.
“I do believe that change, albeit slowly, is coming because for far too long patients have been left to suffer in silence with no dedicated support available in Northern Ireland. Charities such as Hope 4 ME & Fibro are their voice and I pay tribute to the continued work, drive and determination of the Committee when it comes to challenging successive Health Ministers. I am truly honoured to be appointed as their patron.
“We have a long journey to see the changes that need to be made and I commit to remain shoulder to shoulder with charity and patients throughout that journey.”