Famous People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME

When you think of celebrities and famous people, what do you think of? Fame, glitz and glamour? You’re not the only one. Celebrities get a lot of attention for all they have to offer. But there’s another side to fame that we don’t often see. Many live their lives with diseases or disabilities. In this post, we look further into the lives of famous people who live with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Laura Hillenbrand 

Laura Hillenbrand

At age 19, she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which left her bedridden for years. Even through her sickness, she wrote many best-selling novels and biographies. As the author of ‘Seabiscuit: An American Legend’, the basis for the film Seabiscuit during a 16 year struggle with illness. Hillenbrand also published an essay about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome titled: “A Sudden Illness,” in The New Yorker.


Michelle Akers

Michelle Akers

Former Olympic soccer player, who starred in the historic 1991 and 1999 Women’s World Cup victory by the U.S.. She won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the 1991 tournament. She is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. – In 1991, Michelle Akers was named the best woman soccer player in the world and had become the first woman player to have a paid endorsement. Yet after leading her team to victory for the first FIFA Women’s Soccer World Championship in China, Michelle returned home completely exhausted. She rested and changed her diet. However, as time progressed, the fatigue headaches, gastrointestinal imbalance and metabolism problems progressed as well. Two years after the initial symptoms began, Michelle collapsed during a game at the Olympic Sports Festival in San Antonio, Texas. Diagnoses progressed from mononucleosis to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and finally, in the spring of 1994, to Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS).



Flee Red Hot Chilli Peppers

Flea is a bassist and vocalist for Red Hot Chili Peppers, a rock group that was formed in 1985. Recently, he was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which can cause extreme fatigue and weakness. However, he continued playing even when he got sick because he said it made him happy.


Howard Bloom

Howard Bloom

Named as one of the ten famous individuals as the author of For Dummies book series.  Howard Bloom was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue. After years of trying to find a diagnosis, he found out that his condition is not just fatigue but an immune disorder. He now spends his time writing about how people with disability can live fulfilling lives and share their stories in hopes of motivating others with disabilities to do the same.



Cher Chronic Fatigue

 In 1992, Cher took some time off from her career and it was widely reported that the virus was responsible. “My experience was it was really a physical illness but it does make you depressed as well,” she told the BBC. “It’s a virus you have it’s called Epstein Barr virus and the disease it gives you is chronic fatigue.” “Boy, it was devastating for me…I wasn’t able to work for almost three years,” the singer added.)


Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön

Author & Tibetan Buddhist nun – In 1994, after experiencing years of baffling, undiagnosable symptoms, she was found to be suffering from chronic fatigue–immune dysfunction syndrome as well as environmental illness. The following year, she undertook a long-term course of healing, beginning with a year off. In hindsight, she considers her illness to be an event of major significance: “It required me to simplify my life, a very sane thing to do.” Her discomfort became a source of compassion, “a heartfelt connection with all those unknown people” suffering similarly or much more than her. “Life has taught me the wisdom of moving toward what scares me,” she concludes.


Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall Squash Player

The former world No 2 squash player was at his peak when hit by CFS. He was given the choice between a £250,000 insurance payout or a comeback. He chose the latter and made it back into the world’s top ten.


Laura Dundovic

Laura Dundovic

The former Miss Universe shared about her battle with chronic fatigue.  “I have chronic fatigue – it began when I was 15, I got glandular fever and I’ve been worn out since. They thought I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma (at first), and that was very worrying. During my HSC (year) I would study during lunchtime because I couldn’t stay awake at night. This carried on for years and just before I did Miss Universe, I hit rock bottom.” She said she was sleeping up to 10 hours a day before taking part in the pageant.


Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks

Stevie Nicks was one of the most iconic female rock singers in history as a key member of Fleetwood Mac. In 1987, Stevie Nicks revealed that she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Stevie had been experiencing fatigue for years before her diagnosis. She said that it felt like “someone put a big wet blanket over me.” Her symptoms included difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, and chronic pain.


Blake Edwards

Blake Edwards

Film director, screenwriter and producer. Writer of the Pink Panther series and Breakfast at Tiffany’s – He described his struggle with the illness chronic fatigue syndrome for 15 years in the documentary I Remember Me.


Ricky Carmichael

Ricky Carmichael

Motorcross Racer, Ricky Carmichael was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in October 2007. “I’ve just felt like I’ve been running out of steam the past few months. Training has been difficult. I’ve struggled to maintain my normal pace on my road bike and though I’ve been extremely tired, I’ve had a difficult time sleeping and never really feel rested,” said Carmichael.


Ken Wilbur

Ken Wilbur

The philosopher Ken Wilbur began having seizures on December 5, 2006, was diagnosed with RNase Enzyme Deficiency Disease (REDD)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Stating: “When the intensive care doctors asked me what I thought it was, the first thing I always said was that we can’t rule out the most obvious: it comes with the territory of CFIDS/REDD/ME. In fact, the reason that this illness is often referred to as M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) is that, as one of its leading authorities, Byron Hyde M.D., put it, “By definition, all M.E. patients will have some level of seizure activity as part of their illness.” And as for types of seizure activity, a standard comprehensive guide to M.E. lists them as: “simple partial seizures, petite mal seizures, and grand mal seizures.”


Leigh Hatcher

Leigh Hatcher

Australian News presenter – Leigh wrote the book titled “I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just A Little Unwell” – relating his experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


Rich Carlson

Rich Carlson

Businessman and philanthropist, Founder of ProHealth, Inc. – Carson has recently launched a campaign to change the name chronic fatigue syndrome, which he feels is demeaning to patients and trivializes the seriousness of their illness. Since late July when he first mentioned his dissatisfaction with the name, he has received hundreds of letters of support. Carson said, “My favourite letter was from someone who said that calling this disease Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is like calling Parkinson’s disease ‘Chronic Shakiness Syndrome’ or calling Alzheimer’s disease, ‘Chronic Forgetfulness Syndrome.’” Carson is one of ‘The Faces of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ from portraits of 8 patients and 2 CFS experts.


Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Nurse Florence Nightingale’s illness began in 1896 after she returned from the Crimean War and spent years housebound, too fatigued to talk to more than one visitor at a time. Her birthday (12 May 1820) is celebrated as International CFS and Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.


Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin

There have been suggestions in several medical journals such as the Lancet and British Medical Journal, that Charles Darwin may of had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When he arrived back to England after travels to South America and Pacific Islands, he started suffering from what has been described as Fatigue, pains, abdominal troubles, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, dermal problems used to flare up at times of stress such as attending meetings trying to defend his theory of evolution.



  • http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/07/07/030707fa_fact_hillenbrand

Share this post

Bryce - Disability Traineeship
Work Parts Australia Logo


Wear Parts Australia

Bryce was diagnosed with mild Intellectual Disability as well as speech impairment. Our skilled Career Coach successfully matched Bryce with a wonderful and supportive local employer – Wear Parts Australia. Bryce was offered a school based traineeship in Warehousing and Logistics. 

Since the very beginning of the traineeship, our service has been proactively anticipating the training and support needs from both the employer and the employee. 

Today, Bryce has been well on his way to achieve his qualification and also been one step closer to his dream career.


Riviera Luxury Motor Yachts

Jemma was referred by her high school to our employment program with the hopes to better engage her both in and out of the school system. Jemma was diagnosed with Autism, and had displayed behaviour issues in the classroom setting. 

The team at Prestige Employment Solutions identified training and support needs Jemma required in the areas of work readiness.  Jemma’s Career Coach was able to develop a positive rapport with her straight away and continued supporting her during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Jemma’s Career Coach helped Jemma to navigate through challenging personal circumstances while working with her extensively to address several barriers to employment. 

In early 2021, Prestige Employment Solutions developed a partnership with Riviera Australia in supporting their apprenticeship program. Jemma was one of the candidates being put forward for the opportunity.  Our Career Coach supported Jemma every step of the way during her application process. The team at Riviera were supportive and understanding of Jemma’s circumstances during the recruitment.  Jemma was offered a school-based apprenticeship in Polymer Processing.  Our Career Coach continues providing tailored coaching and support to Jemma in both personal and professional areas of her life. 

The amazing team at Riviera continues to provide Jemma with ongoing mentoring and assistance to ensure her success in the role. Jemma has been well supported by her workplace mentor and Jemma has grown in confidence in her role.  Jemma was offered a full-time apprenticeship role with Riviera when she graduated from high school. Thanks to the supportive work environment Riviera provides, Jemma is thriving in all aspects of her life and gaining a great level of independence. 

Jemma’s transformation has been an encouragement and inspiration to all those involved in her journey to success. 

Jemma Autism Employee
Riviera Luxury Motor Yachts Logo
Intercontiental Sanctuary Cove


Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove

Brayden joined Prestige Employment Solutions (PES)  in year 11 with the goal of pursuing a school based traineeship. Brayden had career aspirations to work in hospitality, however due to industry shutdowns as a result of Covid this was a very limited option. Our team therefore assisted him to explore other work opportunities.

Brayden was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and an Intellectual Disability.  PES worked with Brayden extensively during the work readiness program before the team secured him a school based traineeship in a retail setting.  Our dedicated service approach enabled the same Career Coach to remain with him throughout the entire process and continued to work on developing necessary workplace skills allowing Brayden to succeed in his work environment.

Brayden successfully completed his traineeship and with the hospitality industry recovering he was able to pursue his original career goal. With the assistance of his Career Coach, Brayden secured a role as a pool attendant with Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove ( IHG ), where he has proven himself a valuable member of the team. Thanks to the hard work of both Brayden and his Career Coach Brayden is now thriving and hopes to continue his career with IHG with the goal of branching into more departments. With the support of the great team at IHG and Brayden’s determination, we at PES look forward to supporting him through this next step in his career development.



Ryan joined Prestige Employment Solutions service when in high school and has remained with the service through a variety of roles and training opportunities.

Ryan lives with Autism and experiences social anxiety.  Ryan has previously experienced several negative work related occurrences throughout his employment history, and these circumstances contributed towards demotivating Ryan to work, negatively impacting his confidence in employment.

With Ryan working alongside his career coach at Prestige Employment Solutions, he was supported in identifying a work environment that better compliments his abilities.

Ryan began as a wash bay attendant with Cookers Bulk Oil on a part-time basis and has quickly progressed to a full-time role on the depot floor.

The team at Cookers has been amazingly supportive and embraced Ryan helping him to develop a sense of pride and confidence in his work not previously experienced. Prestige Employment Solutions’ career coach has continued working with Ryan through this process, to continually develop his independence and communication skills.

Ryan recently achieved and exceeded his employment milestones and is now very much a part of the Cookers family.

Ryan Cookers Employment
Cookers Oil System Logo
Disability Work
Garmish Fabrications Logo


Garmisch Fabrications

Marcus approached our service after struggling to maintain long term employment since leaving school. After going through a work readiness training program with our Career Coach, Marcus was identified to have an interest in pursuing a career in a trade.  

Our service helped source a pre-apprenticeship course for Marcus. The training was conducted in a practical setting which allowed Marcus to develop the skills he needed to enter the workforce.

Upon completion of the course, Marcus has secured an apprenticeship with a local business Garmisch Fabrications where he is undertaking a Cert 3 in Engineering. Marcus has been embracing his first-year apprenticeship since day one through his hard work and determination.

Marcus’ ongoing success was made possible by the great support of his employer and the continuous mentorship and development of his Career Coach. 



Caitlin approached our service after struggling to secure employment for a long period of time. Caitlin was diagnosed with Intellectual Disability along with other health challenges at a young age. After meeting with Caitlin our career coach was quickly able to identify her passion and interest in working in a retail environment. 

After the completion of the work readiness training program, our service created an employment opportunity for Caitlin at Officeworks Nerang.  

During her employment with the store, our career coach offered tailored on the job training and support to help Caitlin to navigate through some significant employment and training challenges during the pandemic. 

Caitlin has now become a valuable member to the store and has been receiving ongoing praise and recognition for her teamwork and customer service. This is thanks not only to the great support from the team at the Nerang store and our service’s ongoing workplace coaching but the self determination Caitlin has shown throughout her employment.

Caitlin Officeworks Employee
Officeworks Logo
Angus AAA Trimming


AAA Soft Tops

Angus’ employment journey has once again demonstrated PES’ service commitment to ensure the best possible job- participant match. 

Angus was first referred to Prestige Employment Solutions when he was struggling to maintain employment as an apprentice sign writer. Our Career Coach provided extensive ongoing mentoring and support to Angus and the employer in an effort to keep him in the place of employment. However, after substantial service support effort, our Career Coach and Angus determined that the job placement did not meet Angus strengths and existing skill set. PES team then supported Angus to commence a new program with our service. 

Angus was diagnosed with Autism with social communication disorder (pragmatic). The same Career Coach was able to work with Angus and his speech pathologist extensively to determine a more appropriate career path for him. Our team then created a role with a local business taking into consideration Angus’ communication barriers as well. 

The local business AAA Soft Tops and its owner have been great supporters of Angus and our programs. Angus has since regained his confidence and excelled in his new role. 



Cruz is a motivated young man and has an Intellectual Disability that affects comprehension and communication skills.

After Cruz joined our service, his Career Coach immediately identified his passion in the health and fitness industry and managed to create a traineeship opportunity for Cruz at Snap Fitness Runaway Bay.

Since day one of his employment, Cruz was fully embraced by the Runaway Bay team to excel in his role.

Our service has been working closely with all relevant stakeholders involved in Cruz’s traineeship to ensure appropriate training and support is in place.

Cruz Intellectual Disability Employment
Snap Fitness
Arundel Hills Country Club

Cameron - Part 1

Arundel Hills Country Club

Cameron has Attention Deficit Disorder and struggles with social interaction and communication as a result. Cameron joined our service in Year 12 to begin developing necessary skills to assist him to transit into future workplace. 

Prior to coming to our service, Cameron suffered from some level of anxiety as a consequence of a negative workplace experience. 

Since being in our service, Cameron’s confidence and self esteem has grown so much. 

After successfully completing his work readiness training, our service matched Cameron with a very supportive local employer who completely changed Cameron’s experience at the workplace.

Cameron - Part 2


Cameron’s employment journey is one of the many examples demonstrating  PES’ service commitment to create tailored employment pathways for each individual.  When Cameron graduated from  year 12, the PES team continued assisting him to source an apprenticeship in an area of his great interest.  

Cameron always wanted to become a carpenter when he grew up. Throughout his employment with AHCC, our career coach intentionally developed his transferable skills in order to assist him to transition  into his dream career.  

When Cameron was offered a 1st year apprentice cabinet maker with FPRR , everyone involved was so over the moon for him. Since then Cameron has been receiving great mentorship from the owner while supported by our career coach.  Our continuous service involvement is critical to ensure Cameron excels in his new role and meets the requirements of his apprenticeship. 

Cameron Job 2


Arundel Hills Country Club

Zak was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. 

After going through much needed work readiness training, our service created a school based traineeship opportunity for Zak at a community minded business – Arundel Hills Country Club. 

With the support from both the employer and our service, Zak has developed into a reliable and dedicated employee.

Zak Autism Employment
Arundel Hills Country Club


City Venue Management (CVM)

Samuel was diagnosed with Aspergers and a Speech impairment. He joined our Service in Year 11 in an attempt to search for a school based traineeship that would be in line with his interest in sports.

After being approached by our Service, City Venue Management (CVM) decided to come on board to support Samuel to make his dream job become a reality.

With the support of the CVM team and his Career Coach, Samuel has excelled in many aspects of his traineeship. He is now more determined than ever to pursue a career with the company upon the completion of his traineeship. 

Samuel School Leaver Employment - City Venue Management
City Venue Management Logo
Sorchell intellectual disability employment



Sorchell joined our service in year 11 with the hopes of securing a School Based Traineeship. Sorchell was diagnosed with Intellectual Disability and Speech Impairment however, he has a passion for hands on work and was very motivated to enter into the workforce. 
Very soon our Career Coach identified that Warehousing and Logistics would be a suitable employment pathway for Sorchell, After a successful work trial at  Atomic Fashion Marketing, Sorchell was offered a traineeship . Our service has remained involved in every step of the traineeship to ensure all involved parties are supported throughout the program. 
With the amazing support from the Atomic team and our skilled Career Coach, Sorchell has achieved every single employment milestone along the way and looks forward to pursuing a career in the Warehousing industry after the graduation. 



Jayden joined our service during his final year of schooling. Jayden was diagnosed with ADHD and Mild Intellectual Disability, which made traditional schooling difficult for him.

Through our holistic service approach, we have helped Jayden to overcome significant vocational and personal barriers. Upon completion of his job readiness training, our Career Coach sourced employment for Jayden at a local Coles store.

Through great support from Coles team and his Career Coach,  Jayden has shown determination and made significant progress in both his professional and personal life. Jayden has been recognised for his hard work and been offered a permanent part time role with Coles. 

Jayden Disability Employment Coles
Coles Logo
Robert Autism Employment
Rebel Sport Logo


Rebel Sport

Robert was diagnosed with Autism spectrum Disorder.

Our service began working with him in high school to build necessary workplace skills. Our service also took Robert’s passion and interest into account when creating a sustainable employment opportunity for him at Rebel Sport Oxenford.

Since his employment, our service has developed tailored on the job training and support for both Robert and the employer to address any barriers.

Today Robert has become a valuable member of the Rebel Oxenford team and is looking forward to celebrating his one year anniversary with the company.



David was diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability and joined our service while in school to help him to develop necessary skills and prepare for the post school transition. 

Our service nurtured David’s passion for food and cultivated a traineeship opportunity for him with a local restaurant. With the support and assistance from the employer and our service, David not only overcame all his personal and professional obstacles during his traineeship but exceeded expectations to achieve his Cert III in Hospitality in a timely manner.

Upon achieving his year 12 certificate, David remained determined to pursue his career goal as a chef. Through our service’s tireless effort working with multiple industry partners, David was offered a full time chef apprenticeship role with Surfers Pavilion, one of the portfolio restaurant brands under Artesian Hospitality. Since the commencement of his apprenticeship, our service has remained a strong advocate for David to help him overcome any employment and training related barriers.  Under the mentorship of head chef David Thompson and tailored training support from trainer Christopher Dave (CTA), David has been reaching every milestone during his apprenticeship. David’s success story illustrates the impact like-minded community partners can have when they work together to help a young person achieve their dreams. 

David's Success Story Profile Picture
Surfers Pavilion Logo