David is fighting the stigma of ME

DAVID Webb could only watch as his wife s life changed forever. He couldn t stop the crippling illness that has turned a bubbly mum-of-one into someone who can now be bedridden.

DAVID Webb could only watch as his wife's life changed forever. He couldn't stop the crippling illness that has turned a bubbly mum-of-one into someone who can now be bedridden.

As reported in the Midweek Herald two weeks ago, Emma Webb, 35, suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as ME.

The Dunkeswell woman is now hoping to start a support network for other sufferers and their carers. A large number of people have contacted the Herald following our initial report - all sufferers of ME and keen to see a support network established.

Mr Webb is telling his story in a bid to encourage more carers to come forward.

After more than 12 years of marriage, he found himself living with a different woman.

"It was a massive transformation - like chalk and cheese," he said.

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"Emma has gone from holding down a full-time job and housewife to some days not even being able to get out of bed.

"Sometimes I have to get her washed and dressed. The onus is on me to make sure everything is OK - from cooking to cleaning."

Mr Webb is suffering from stress and depression and has been signed off work since January. He is employed as a business development manager by an industrial manufacturing company.

"My wife is a like a different person to the one I married," he said.

"She has gone from being the life and soul of the party to very tearful and sometimes very withdrawn. She feels trapped and there doesn't appear to be any cure."

Mr Webb is concerned that not everybody recognises ME as an illness.

"There is a stigma attached to it, but we have been very, very lucky to have the doctor we have got," he said.

"There doesn't appear to be any light at the end of the tunnel.

"I come home from work and worry about what Emma is going to be like. It doesn't just affect the sufferer, it affects the whole family."

Mr Webb added: "We want to raise awareness about the illness and to set up a network to provide support for victims and their carers."

If you would like to join the support group, contact the Herald on (01392) 888488.