Wendy Boutilier, a Canadian artist, developed ME in 2008, after a bout of sepsis and necrotizing fasciitis, caused by a very severe infection of Streptococcus pyogenes (sometimes called “flesh-eating bacteria"). She continues to suffer from cognition problems, pain, and fatigue, leaving her disabled and, in her words, "75% housebound." She is a classical trained artist and uses art as her solace and therapy.
Boutilier guest blogged for Just ME on 12 May 2014 where she discussed Sophia Mirza's death, the image problem cause by the trivializing disease name and outdated psychological explanations of its etiology. She highlighted Dr. Kenny de Meirleir's work and outlined biomedical abnormalities caused by the illness.
Since 2014, Boutilier has been working on an art project called Tears for ME, a pictorial memorial wall of some of those who have lost their lives to ME. She grants permission for the images to be reused to promote the suffering of ME, especially on Severe ME Awareness Day on Aug 8.
In 2016, she wrote to the Canadian Federal Minister of Health after the Canadian Institute of Health Research denied a grant for ME based on a psychological approach to the illness and that their denial cited erroneous and outdated research. In her letter she urged the ministry to adopt the WHO ICC 2011 definition and diagnostic code for ME.