When I met Marcel Robert 11 years ago, he was a healthy vigorous young man of 19. He was cruising with his dad, Ronald.

After the cruise, Ronald said, “Nancy if you buy a ticket I will show you my country (New Zealand).” True to his word, Ronald took me from the North to the South Island. Guess what, I fell in love with the whole family: Ronald, Holly and Marcel.

So why write a Voice of People? I usually write on political and city issues. This week is ME Awareness Week around the world (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, know commonly as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Marcel was diagnosed at 20 with ME.

It has been a long journey for Marcel and the whole family, as it is with way too many things like cancer, stroke, dementia and genetic disease of all sorts. For those interested in learning more about ME (that’s the teacher in me) check out MEaction.net and watch the movie, “Unrest” on Netflix.

Marcel has been in a nursing home for a year and half now. He has spent a third of his life unwell and has been declining lately. Marcel can’t get out and advocate for himself so I thought I might raise awareness for him and the #millionsmissing (a global campaign for ME health equality).

I will be out on Sunday on the corner of 56th Street and Fifth Avenue from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with information on ME for those interested.

Yes, I am the stepmum and I think what have I missed out on with Marcel (like wise for him)? The stepson that would have texted me (I hope), gone out to dinner with me, taken trips with his dad and me, hugged me (touching him hurts too much), and yes, I want a future for him.

Medical science is working swiftly throughout this county and the world on why his body doesn’t make energy. My wish for Mother’s Day: a healthy stepson.

Nancy Phipps