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ME sufferer Jessica Taylor, from Cliffe Woods, goes on sponsored bed-push around Bluewater Shopping Centre

By Nicola Jordan

Most young women would jump at the chance of some retail therapy at Bluewater, but for ME sufferer Jessica Taylor it proved an emotional and gruelling challenge.

Jessica, 23, from Cliffe Woods, has completed a sponsored bed-push around the shopping centre for the children’s charity she founded.

Apart from hospital appointments, it is the first time Jessica has been out of her home in Cliffe Woods since she was struck the down with the chronic fatigue illness eight years ago.

Jessica is pushed along the Lower Mall at Bluewater

Jessica has fond memories of shopping trips to Bluewater before ME turned her life upside down. She is now bed-ridden and confined to one room where she works on raising money for Share a Star, now a registered charity which helps seriously ill young people in hospital.

After being pushed around the centre by her father Colin Taylor a paramedic, and brother Tom, on Sunday she said: “It was like climbing Kilimanjaro for me. The light, noise and motion was incredibly difficult to deal with when you have severe ME because it is a neurological condition.

"When I had finished, in the back of the ambulance, I crashed. I couldn’t move of speak for a while for I had pushed my body to the extreme.”

Jessica's dad Colin leads the way

But Jessica added the highlights were the reaction from and going to a shop.
She said: “I bought a cookie and lemonade and it was the best drink I have ever had.
“For a moment, the whole of Bluewater stopped and was still. It was an incredible awareness for severe ME, which is still greatly misunderstood.”

A total of £2,850 was raised for Share a Star which creates individual stars for desperately ill young patients under the age of 21. Jessica has spent the last 13 weeks in hospital while the family home in Woodside Green is adapted.

She said: “My plan is to make the most of this time. I am looking to launch ‘From a Star to a Star’ to get celebrities who are particularly special to the youngsters to design a star for them.

Jessica and dad Colin wave for the camera

“We use the term ‘star’ for people we respect. With the charity we have many superstars who are living with life-threatening illnesses.”

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