Canary in a Coal Mine

by Claire

“No-one knows what’s wrong with me, no-one has a treatment for me, and everything I love and care about is slipping away.” This could be the voice of anyone who has M.E or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was recorded in an interview for the upcoming documentary Canary in a Coal Mine. This film (initially for internet release) hopes to capture the difficulties of those suffering from CFS and bring some insight into the condition, as well as showing the struggle of living with chronic illness as an inspiring story that everyone can relate to.

“Even though we often feel that whatever we’re grappling with, no-one else can understand. The fact is that we will all have that experience of coming across an obstacle that seems insurmountable.”

 “Canary in a Coal Mine is, at its heart, a question: what does this illness signify about the world we live in and what do we all risk by ignoring the voices of the sick and the profoundly invisible? What could we all learn by paying attention to those voices?”

caged birdThis is a film that will promote the ‘visibility’ of M.E./CFS. Better visibility means not only greater understanding and help from doctors, friends and workplaces, but also more funding for research – this is a physical illness that we know practically nothing about. In the past medicine “locked epileptics in insane asylums before the invention of the EEG. It debated as to the true nature of Multiple Sclerosis before the MRI came along in the 1970s”. As we improve our understanding of this disease through research we can help improve the lives of so many with this ‘invisible’ disease.

Canary in a Coal Mine reached its initial funding goal of $50,000 after only three days. This just goes to show that there is a screaming population of people who want a drastic and rapid change in the status quo. In response to this outpouring of enthusiasm the people behind the film have revised their plans and have imagined a bigger, grander film with a larger impact. $200,000 and 6509 backers will see this done. If this goal is reached, it will be the most popularly supported documentary film in the history of Kickstarter.

Like me, many people living with Chronic Fatigue are unable to work and are living off government benefits or their parents/partner and so donating seems to be (like so many things) a luxury we literally cannot afford. However, “Crowdfunding campaigns reach and exceed their goals when very large amounts of people donate small amounts of money” so I would encourage everybody to donate any amount – even a few dollars contributes materially to the campaign as well as swelling the numbers of supporters – the media loves big numbers and this will help with promoting the film and the large numbers will be a reflection of the great need for more recognition.

Many thanks to Elizabeth who first brought this to my attention on her blog Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart:

All quotes are taken from the Canary in a Coal Mine Kickstarter website