Esther Crawley




Esther Crawley is a Professor of Child Health at the University of Bristol with a Senior Research Fellowship from the National Institute of Health Research.

She dedicates her waking hours to finding and delivering treatments for children whose lives have been devastated by Chronic Fatigue and ME, an illness that affects 1-2% of teenagers – that’s 10-20 children in a normal secondary school.

Esther is the clinical lead for the Bath specialist Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME service for children based at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, the largest service of its type in the world - providing assessment and treatment for over 450 children and young people with CFS/ME each year. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a debilitating illness that causes chaos to peoples lives.

Esther is passionate about trying to develop more effective treatments, and her research is world leading. But because of it, she has experienced harassment, threats and cyber stalking from a small group of activists who have dedicated their lives to try and stop her research. Esther and her colleagues who continue to practice in this area face an up-hill climb: research is slowed down as they deal with investigations and threats. Their patients suffer because clinicians and researchers wont work in this area.

Esther's hard-hitting talk for TEDxBristol: Dare to Disrupt will explore why she has decided to continue with the research, despite the immense pressure she has been put under to stop. Her talks examines the difficult choices that many pioneers of medical research make - and the personal pressures, turmoil, threats and attacks that clinicians, scientists and researchers face when they choose to take a stand and do what is right, not what is easy.

We need to disrupt views of this illness.Those who are ill with CFS/ME do not have a voice - they are too unwell. We need to provide their voice and we need to speak up about this illness. Because we, as a community, as a society, as friends, as neighbours and as parents should look after children who suffer.