Benefit + Awareness Month

Raising voices for the chronic illness community

Coming May 1 – June 1, 2024 (calendar here)

Ever since Opera Mariposa started, we’ve held annual Benefit + Awareness events to raise funds and awareness for chronic neuro-immune diseases. Through the generosity of the community, we’ve raised over $128,000 to date – and in 2024, we’re honouring the International Awareness Month for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia with a month-long charity extravaganza!

From May 1-June 1, people from around the world can join us online for music & videos, art, merch, prizes and more! 100% of the proceeds benefited the ME | FM Society of BC and the rising number of people affected by ME/CFS, Long Covid and Fibromyalgia.

Donations up to $3,500 will be tripled, so your gift has three times the impact!

Access: All online; by donation and free. Includes captioning, lyrics and translations, and artwork image descriptions. Please enjoy our offerings throughout the month at your own pace.

The ME | FM Society of BC is a registered Canadian charity working to support and advocate for people living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Long-Covid and/or Fibromyalgia (FM). They work to educate the healthcare community, government and public; provide information and resources for patients and their families; champion issues that impact the ME, Long-Covid and FM community; and promote state-of-the-art medical research, testing, diagnosis and treatments. They are also dedicated to building an inclusive, accessible organization that creates opportunities for the participation of patients, carers and family members at every level. | www.mefm.bc.ca

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (also known as ME or ME/CFS)* is a complex chronic disease characterized by debilitating exhaustion unrelieved by sleep, and symptoms that worsen after even minor physical or mental activity (known as post-exertional malaise or PEM). Classified as a neurological disease by the WHO since 1969, ME affects many body systems, and can cause everything from chronic pain and muscle weakness to heart issues, immune problems and cognitive dysfunction.

“Mild” ME typically reduces function by at least 50%, while moderate to severe cases can resemble living with heart failure or end-stage cancer for decades. It has the lowest quality-of-life score of all common diseases, and prior to the pandemic, affected over half a million Canadians and an estimated 17-24 million people worldwide. Despite this, ME is seldom taught in medical schools, and an estimated 90% of patients aren’t even diagnosed. There are no FDA-approved treatments or cures.

Around 80% of ME cases are triggered by viruses or infections, and the number people with ME is increasing exponentially right now due to Covid-19. Several preliminary studies suggest that around half of Long Covid patients meet the criteria for ME. | learn more

*occasionally referred to as SEID, or by the term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which some consider outdated).

Long Covid (LC)* refers to cases where Covid survivors experience persistent symptoms, or develop new symptoms and health damage, following an infection with COVID-19. These symptoms can emerge on a delay, and may last for many weeks, months or years. They may also lead to new lifelong conditions, such as ME/CFS.

People of all ages and genders can develop Long Covid, and research shows it can affect previously-healthy adults and children; people who have been vaccinated; and those who had mild or asymptomatic Covid infections. Conservatively, at least 10-30% of Covid cases result in Long Covid, with risks that multiply with reinfection. At least 1 in 9 Canadian adults have developed Long Covid so far, and the majority have not recovered.

Long Covid can cause over 200 possible symptoms, including debilitating fatigue and post-exertional malaise; breathing problems; heart problems; blood vessel damage and clots; immune system damage; and neurological issues like memory loss. Many Long Covid patients must reduce their work or school hours, or cannot work at all. Due to the ongoing rise in cases, the government of Canada has referred to Long Covid as a “potential mass-disabling event”. | learn more

* sometimes referred to as long-haul Covid, Post-Covid Condition (PCC), or post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC)

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex chronic illness that affects over half a million Canadians and around 2-5% of people worldwide. Characterized by widespread burning pain and fatigue unrelieved by sleep, it can also cause other debilitating symptoms including brain fog, irregular heartbeat, severe sleep problems and digestive issues.

As with ME, symptoms of fibromyalgia can vary not just from person to person but from day to day, and some patients may even appear superficially healthy. Nevertheless, fibromyalgic pain can be unrelenting, and the UK’s National Health Service ranks it as one of the 20 most painful health conditions.

Fibromyalgia is also associated with impaired joints, fascia and other connective tissues – an issue shared with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), a genetic disorder with which it can co-occur. In fact, fibromyalgia can occur alongside several other serious conditions, including ME, autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic migraines, and the overlapping symptoms can affect every aspect of a person’s daily life. | learn more

Download a PDF about the charitable cause here.

Violet, blue and teal graphic featuring a side profile of a young Asian woman with her hand upheld, a purple butterfly hovering above it. The background is composed of translucent torn strips of paper twined with blue watercolour flowers. Gauzy purple and blue text reads, Opera Mariposa 2024 for the ME | FM Society of BC. Benefit + Awareness Month. May 1 - June 1. Smaller dark blue lettering features a globe icon next to the words All online; a spoon icon next to the words self-paced; a closed captioning icon next to the word English; and a dollar icon next to the words By donation and free. All donations up to $3500 will be tripled. Benefit.OperaMariposa.com

in support of the
ME | FM Society of BC

ME | FM Society of BC logo with navy blue text and a stylized blue, purple and teal butterfly

Save the date for these special events during Opera Mariposa’s 2024 Benefit + Awareness Month!

2024 featured artists
(in alphabetical order):

Christina Baltais, collage
Berlin Buyers Club, activist art
Eileen Theresa Stephens, painting
Riley McMitchell, baritone
Lia Pas, piano and fibre arts
Rana, digital art

Discover our Benefit + Awareness Month

And enjoy some of our artistic offerings year-round

Closeup of Jacqueline Ko, a disabled Chinese-Canadian woman in a black beaded gown, holding a vintage microphone and looking over her shoulder against a misty purple background.

Music & Videos

Join Opera Mariposa’s award-winning artists for studio singles and digital performances, plus video highlights from past events!

Art Showcase

Art meets advocacy in exquisite creations by visual and multidisciplinary artists with ME and FM from across Canada.

Merch

Mariposa has merch! Check out the exclusive items in our Benefit + Awareness collection to support a great cause year-round!

Thank you to our event sponsors

Enjoy more opera content online

Discover Opera Mariposa’s latest digital offerings.