Trustee Wendy Dickinson visits Northern Region Support Group
By Wendy Dickinson
I took a trip down memory lane this week when I visited the Northern Region IPF Support Group in Newcastle.
As I wound my way up north I was able to visit Middlesbrough, where I lived for seven years when my dad played for the local football team and Hartlepool, where he managed his first league team with his friend and partner, Brian Clough. The rest, for football fans, is history.
When I got to the meeting there were people there from Middlesbrough and Hartlepool and I think they enjoyed the pictures and stories of the famous Clough-Taylor footballing partnership. For non-footballing fans, after meeting at 26 (dad) and 19 (Brian) they formed a managerial team at Nottingham Forest and won two European Cups. But enough about football.
I explained to the group that my dad died from IPF in 1990, which is why I am a trustee of Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
The Northern Region group was one of the first to be established in the UK, in November, 2013 and patient Ian Perry was a founding member. He is still involved and helps runs the group with Ian Foote and both their wives, who do a great job. Hard to believe that back then there were only a handful of groups and now there are 43. This is truly great progress and a great success for our charity and for people suffering with pulmonary fibrosis. The group made me so welcome and it was such a pleasure to talk to patients and families. There was a mix of people there. Those who had been with the group for a few years, while others were newly diagnosed and looking for knowledge, support and advice.
It really did show me how crucial these groups are to patients and their families and I came away with a renewed enthusiasm for making sure everyone with pulmonary fibrosis had access to a group; something we as a charity are working very hard to achieve.
I’ll be visiting other support groups over the next few months; in Chelmsford, Papworth and Worthing and I’m really looking forward to telling people about Action for Pulmonary Fibrosis and hearing their own, individual experiences, all of which informs the charity’s work.