Friday, February 22, 2013

Fibromyalgia patient finds comfort in starting a support group | By Candace Diemart



When community volunteer Rebecca McKanna was in need of a fibromyalgia support group she checked a variety of community resources, one of which was the online support group database coordinated by the Center for Community Support and Research (CCSR) and funded through an initiative by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The database is one of the longest listings in the United States with over 2,000 community support groups, national organizations and websites. Groups on the list cover a wide range of topics, some of which include medical conditions, parenting, caregiving, grief and a variety of other topics.

“I just needed one,” said McKanna. “My family didn’t want to hear about it anymore. I prayed about it and when I couldn’t find a group, I decided I needed to start my own.” 
 
McKanna held her first meeting in April. Only one other person came, but subsequent meetings have grown with as many as 16 people in attendance.

“Because of this group, I feel less crazy, less doubtful and a huge sense of relief. It’s wonderful being able to talk to people who know your struggles,” said McKanna.

Support groups are a responsible, cost-effective and practical means for people coping with life crises and health issues. Most groups are available free of charge and are led by peers. People who have been through similar circumstances not only sympathize, they know where others are coming from and can show that they are not alone.

CCSR recently updated the support group database and McKanna’s fibromyalgia group is a welcomed addition. The database can be found at www.supportgroupsinkansas.org.
For information on the support group services project, contact Angela Gaughan at angela.gaughan@wichita.edu or 316-978-5496.

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