The story of Noa and her MEmis. Our cards for Charity.

Come and meet Audrey, Pepino and MElina! They are very special creatures and their creator, Noa, is a very remarkable person in many dimensions. We are glad and honoured we could team up with her to bring this Charity project to life to raise awareness and some funds for... well, we let Noa explain it in her own words:

"Hello friend of the tasteful postcard, 

My name is Noa.

I gladly follow the invitation to write a guest entry for the papersisters blog.

While trying to "go" through life resiliently and becoming even more resilient, I love to be creative and explore in many directions.

Sometimes I mean to be creative, but some things develop almost by themselves. (One of my favorite English words is "serendipity". It means searching for something and surprisingly coming to an entirely different useful finding.) 

I've been ill with ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) for 16 years now.

The core symptom of ME is called PENE, Postexertional Neuroimmune Exhaustion.

This includes a pathologically low threshold for exhaustion, because the body is no longer able to produce enough energy when needed. Additionally, regular amounts of strain (for healthy people) are followed by fatigue, extreme weakness, worsening of all symptoms of the illness and a significantly prolonged recovery time.

What that means specifically is, that an exhaustion (doesn't matter if physical, cognitive or emotional) which is barely noticeable for healthy people, like a phone call, brushing one's teeth or chewing one's food, can have bad consequences for the affected. The threshold how much a ME patient can tolerate is varying depending on severity of the illness.

A standard treatment for ME unfortunately doesn't exist yet.

When the illness made me bedbound some years ago, I looked for a possibility to still be with my husband when he leaves the house for the day.

I crocheted a little blue creature, which slightly resembled a three toes sloth. It was meant to accompany him instead of me, so he wouldn't feel all alone.

And he was supposed to bring home one or more pictures on which the little one showed where he had been.

The sloth resemblance was chosen on purpose, because ME patients are often wrongfully thought of as being lazy. (The german word for sloth means literally lazy animal)

Additionally, many develop a slowed down movement pattern, because muscle cells use up quite a lot of energy and the body has trouble keeping up immediately.

My relative social isolation drove me to use the famous social network with the f, where a lot of ME patients communicate with each other. When I shared the pics my husband brought me, a name came up quickly. A friend said:  Look who we have here - a MEmi. It instantly stuck.

And the requests were rolling in. The MEmis quickly became a symbol of hope and connection. The recipients were allowed to request things and no MEmi is exactly like the other. Like humans and sloths basically.

By now there are 127 MEmis. They have found their new homes in 5 different countries.

The MEmis have brought joy to many people, might well be I got the most out of it. For I enjoy tremendously leaving my footsteps in this world since I am otherwise stuck at home.

The MEmis of those affected rather mildly have also been traveling and a little bit I have travelled with them. That's how I climbed a volcano for the first time in my life, went to places I haven't seen before in my beloved Netherlands. I've been to Jamaica, on the Bahamas and I've explored the Grand Canyon. In the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis Tennessee, I've been able to admire the bus in which tough Rosa Parks rebelled against racial segregation.

When my cognitive problems didn't allow me anymore to find my way around Facebook (too much input and wayyyy too many flashing gifs!), this was the end of my MEmi production apart from a few exceptions. MEmi pics nevertheless reach me every now and again, for which I am eternally grateful.

I urgently needed a new chance to send a part of me into the world and to maybe make someone's day a little brighter.

One ME friend of mine, creative and crafty like me, told me about Postcrossing. I instantly fell in love with it. My days are often being brightened by postcards with extra beautiful motives or especially meaningful messages on the back, reaching me from all corners of the world.

And I myself feel tremendous joy when picking a card for someone and decorating it nicely.

I can't just go out and do some card shopping for obvious reasons and I'd love to even brighten the day of the weirdest collector. I've meanwhile accumulated a few boxes full of postcards and have to seriously limit myself, because I live on what's in Germany considered the poverty line. Friends luckily often gift me with postcards.

The papersisters first had me as a customer. I just couldn't resist. I just love their card motives and rubber stamps so much.

Then the Postcrossing random algorithm even gave me the address of one sister and the contact was made. Back then, I showed them a few drawings and MEmi pics, but the time wasn't ripe for it yet.

Honestly, I didn't count on post-ripening just one bit and was pretty flabbergasted when they offered me, to produce and sell a few MEmi cards and donate a certain percentage per sold card to 2 ME organisations of my choice.

Again, a piece of me will be allowed to travel. Additionally, I have time and again been advocating for ME awareness to the best if my abilities, as publicity and public pressure often is able to generate money for research, which is desperately needed, so the illness can entirely be understood and specific treatment options can be found, which insurances will cover in the end.

With their generous offer the papersisters Maike and Wiebke have brightened my whole year, which is a good counterbalance, for there are already enough reasons around to be fearful and moody.

Write your loved ones, whom you aren't able to see in person! Show them, that they are not forgotten. I know how this feels and how elated you are, holding evidence to the contrary in the form of a postcard in hands. The MEmis surely will put a smile on their faces, which is so precious these days!

In case you are interested in everyday stories about life with ME, you're invited to visit my blog:

https://memiphilosophy.wordpress.com

All entries are available in German and English.

In January 2020, Ana has published a spotlight about me on the Postcrossing Blog. It is worth a read as well. Here you can find the article:

https://www.postcrossing.com/blog/2020/01/07/postcrossing-spotlight-chenoah-from-germany "

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