For many years, there was a debate as to whether chronic fatigue illness ME was actually a genuine illness at all.
But Desborough gift shop owner Becky Lambert knows it’s a real condition – she and two of her daughters are sufferers.
The World Health Organisation, the Department of Health, the Royal Colleges of Physicians, psychiatrists and GPs also now recognise the condition. And it’s not just “feeling tired”.
Becy, 37, said: “I got ME when I was 13.
“I was bedridden for a year and in a wheelchair for a year. My education was ruined.”
Her eldest daughter Chloe, 19, was diagnosed with ME four years ago, following a bout of glandular fever.
And doctors broke the news last year that second daughter Courtney, 13, is also suffering.
Becky has responded by making sure her girls - including Ebony, 11, and Phoebe, four – are home-educated by tutors, so the “family illness” won’t disrupt their schooling like it disrupted hers.
She said: “When I was diagnosed, people used to call it ‘Yuppie Flu’ and thought it was all in the mind.
“My GP was so dismissive, he told my mum: ‘give her a paracetamol and she’ll be fine’.
“It took me three years to start feeling better and there were many times when I thought I never would.
“Now I look at my daughters and I know what they’re going through.
“It’s not just the symptoms, it’s what ME robs you of – the things that ‘normal’ teenagers get to do.
“I do feel it robbed me of my teenage life.”
Becky now runs her own business – The Angel Within gift shop in Station Road, Desborough.
She said: “I think really I’m a very driven person.
“I may have a bad day or a bad week, but you get back up and you try again.”
Husband Carl, 37, a warehouse despatch supervisor, is helping raise funds for the ME charity by running the Milton Keynes Marathon on Bank Holiday Monday (May 2).
He has raised £750 for his marathon run so far.
To sponsor Carl, visit his Justgiving page www.justgiving.com/carllambert.
Helen Hyland from the ME Association said: “We are very grateful to Carl for raising funds for us.
“ME is a much misunderstood illness, that over the years has carried a great deal of stigma.
“Only now, with more research, are the real physical effects coming to light.”