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A Fibromyalgia case study

Released for Fibromyalgia National Awareness Week (8th – 14th September 2008)

Sue Strafford-Binks has suffered with Fibromyalgia for over 17 years. She waited nearly three years for a diagnosis after the trauma of an ectopic pregnancy, followed closely by a tumour on her thyroid gland, left her feeling chronically tired all of the time and her body muscles constantly aching like she had the ‘flu.

Once diagnosed, Sue was keen to learn as much as she could about the debilitating condition that had altered her busy and hectic lifestyle so cruelly. Fibromyalgia can affect anyone at any age and can strike at any time, usually triggered by trauma. It is a chronic, permanent illness of which there is no cure and affects 3-5% of the population. Even though it is considered as common as rheumatoid arthritis, people are less aware of Fibromyalgia. 

"I was in the prime of my life, with a young family and had everything to live for," says Sue. "I was determined that my illness was not going to ruin the quality of my life and so joined my local Fibromyalgia support group in Wrexham, which is working with the national charity, Fibromyalgia Association UK (FMA UK) – www.fmauk.org" 

"The turning point for me," Sue continued, "was attending the FMA UK National conference, held in Bournemouth in 1999. I listened to speakers from the UK and the United States talk on Fibromyalgia and the research being done, plus the humbling experience of meeting hundreds of other Fibromyalgia sufferers. I came home from this conference a changed person, feeling much more positive. Okay, I had Fibromyalgia, but now I had more information and enthusiasm to take back to my group. I became Wrexham group leader and attended conferences, both in the UK and abroad."

It was at the first regional conference that Sue organised herself in the North-West of England, that she met John Carey, MD of CherryActive® and found out about the nutritional properties of the product that, because of the extraordinarily high antioxidant levels found in the Montmorency cherry, can help muscle soreness and aid restful sleep. As a gout sufferer himself, John discovered the healing properties in this fruit purely by chance whilst visiting friends in the US three years ago. He was so impressed with his recovery that he founded CherryActive here in the UK and has since dedicated his time to research studies and market the 100% cherry juice drink to health sufferers who could benefit from taking it. 

"I started to drink CherryActive straight after meeting John at the Liverpool University conference last year and I can’t tell you what a difference this simple drink has made to my life!" said Sue. "I used to sleep no more than two hours every night, no matter what time I went to bed, which left me feeling exhausted most of the time. Within two weeks of taking CherryActive I am sleeping through for 7 or 8 hours every night! I drink CherryActive last thing before I go to bed at night. I thought to myself that if this works I want to tell the World about it – and it does! There are no additives or preservatives in it; it is totally safe, just pure liquidised cherries. I recommend it now to everyone I speak to!"

"For myself I have turned something very negative into something very positive. I feel if I hadn’t had Fibromyalgia I wouldn’t have gone to America, the Welsh Assembly Parliament, or met hundreds of new people and overcome my shyness – before Fibromyalgia I would never have dreamed of standing up and speaking to an audience!"

Today, Sue is the Fibromyalgia Association’s UK Regional Co-ordinator for North Wales & Northwest England, running two of her own groups as well as covering 18 regional groups. She also attends the All Party Parliamentary Group in the House of Commons on Fibromyalgia, has won North West Region Volunteer of the Year two years in a row and has just been awarded National Volunteer of the Year in recognition of her great contribution to the Fibromyalgia Association. "My mission," says Sue, "is to give patients a better quality of life through education, complimentary therapy and exercise."

A very busy lady indeed. "But," concludes Sue, "My husband Chris is my carer and without all his fantastic effort, I would not be able to do the work I do. I have the best husband in the World and have made some wonderful new friends. I consider myself one very lucky lady."

About Fibromyalgia
The name fibromyalgia is made up from "fibro" for fibrous tissues such as tendons and ligaments: "my" indicating muscles; and "algia", meaning pain.

A collection of symptoms
Fibromyalgia is has been known as a syndrome because it is a collection of symptoms rather than a specific disease process that is well understood. Besides pain and fatigue Fibromyalgia symptoms often include

  • Unrefreshing sleep - waking up tired and stiff
  • headaches - ranging from "ordinary" types of headache to migraine
  • irritable bowel - frequent diarrhoea or constipation, sometimes accompanied by gas in the abdomen, or nause.


What causes Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia often develops after some sort of trauma that seems to act as a trigger, such as a fall or a car accident, a viral infection, childbirth or an operation. Sometimes the condition begins without any obvious trigger. The actual cause of Fibromyalgia has not yet been found.  

CherryActive® for Muscle Soreness & Fatigue

What the Research Says
Of the 150 different flavonoids found in plants, anthocyanins appear to have the greatest antioxidant capacity. Research shows that Montmorency cherries have very high concentrations of anthocyanins 1 and 2 which help to block enzymes in the body called cyclooxygenase 1 and 2 (COX-1 and COX-2). Inhibiting COX-1 and COX-2 may help to ease muscle soreness.

Muscle diagramMontmorency cherries contain 30 to 40 milligrams of anthocyanins 1 and 2 in every 100 grams of fruit. Montmorency cherries contain significantly more anthocyanins and phenols than do sweet cherries. One study found that the total phenolic content of sweet cherries ranged from 92 to 147 milligrams/100 grams, while the same amount of Montmorency cherries contained up to 312 milligrams, or more than twice the phenols. 

Anthocyanins are more effective than vitamin C, four times more potent as an antioxidant than the well known vitamin E, and have been compared to ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen for their anti-inflammatory action.

Montmorency cherries are one of the few known food sources of melatonin, a potent antioxidant which is well documented in helping to improve the body’s circadian rhythms and natural sleep patterns. A study conducted at the University of Texas Health Sciences Centre found that Montmorency cherries contain substantial amounts of melatonin, at levels higher than normally found in human blood.

Melatonin has also been shown to do much more than regulate our sleep-wake cycle. Studies suggest that melatonin may also help protect the vascular system, lessen inflammation, and reduce ischemia and reperfusion injury associated with surgery.

CherryActive products are processed in a unique fashion in order to maximise the levels of health promoting antioxidants and flavonoids present in Montmorency cherries.

For any aditional information please call 08451 705 705 or visit their website

About CherryActive® John Carey founded CherryActive three years ago, producing a nutritional product in juice and dried-fruit form, made entirely from Montmorency cherries.  The rich natural source of potent antioxidants and flavonoids found in the Montmorency cherry can aid joint and muscle pain and is a valuable daily nutrient to aid health, lifestyle and sports activity.

Further information available on the CherryActive website

Note to Editors:

For further information, interviews and images regarding cherry active, please contact:

Sharon Baverstock
t: 01256 761937
m: 07710 206723
e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

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