Canaries didn’t warn coal miners that the air was bad by dying. It was when they stopped singing that miners knew the air was getting foul.  Jen Brea may be sick. but she’s singing loud and clear about chronic fatigue syndrome in her film project. In an empathetic  video interview with Al Jazeera, , she just sang again.

Carnary-coal-mineIn a piece cleverly titled “Chronic fatigue syndrome activists launch ‘uprising’ from their beds” Al Jazeera recently featured two video interviews with Jen Brea of the ‘Canary in a Coal Mine’ film project.

Not only were the interviews moving, but Al Jazeera created a short, but good article on chronic fatigue syndrome, quickly noting how scare funding is, that there are no approved treatments, and bringing in Dr. Nancy Klimas to state

“It’s been a very, very small budget …I had looked up male pattern baldness … $18 million for male pattern baldness [but only] $3 million for chronic fatigue syndrome, an illness that affects 1 million people in this country that has at least 25 percent of them out of work and on disability.”

Jen’s husband, Wasow, strikingly juxtaposed life before and after ME/CFS when he described  a vital young woman “in constant motion”, who “took the world on with both hands”, who now, three years after becoming ill, is still taking on the world, but from her bed mostly, and who usually leaves the house in a wheelchair.

With the media coverage the Canary in a Coal Mine effort has gotten, the effort is already altering the public’s perception of ME/CFS.

Called the ‘most ambitious American television news channel’ effort since Fox News,  Al Jazeera features 14 hours of news a day, documentaries and fewer commercials than any other news channel.  The International Academy of Arts and Sciences voted it one of the five best news web sites. Al Jazeera has said its focus on ‘serious journalism’ will allow it to stand out.

Jen Brea on ME/CFS on Al Jazeera Pt. I


Jen Brea on ME/CFS on Al Jazeera, Part II


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