New group for Rheumatoid Arthritis patients in Stoke-on-Trent

The National Rheumatoid Society (NRAS) is launching a new group in Stoke-on-Trent this month to help support those affected by the difficult condition, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

The first group meeting will take place on 30th March. Meetings will then take place on the last Thursday of every other month from 7:00pm – 8:30pm in the Outpatients Waiting Area at Haywood Hospital.

At each meeting there will be a guest speaker – either a member of the rheumatology team or an organisation out in the community – who will cover a topic relating to the better self-management of RA.

Stoke-on-Trent is just one of the many groups in the NRAS network around the UK – all run by volunteers, who have RA themselves so understand completely what living with the condition means. The groups exist to help people living with RA, so they can get support from others with the condition, as well as receive important information about new developments, treatments and policy changes that affect them.

Increasingly, the groups are providing support to family and friends of those affected by the condition too, as it is a way for them to better understand the disease and how they can support those with it, as well as meeting others in a similar situation.

NRAS Member and Volunteer Trina Rule, was the driving force behind the launch of the Stoke-on-Trent NRAS group. Trina currently volunteers at NRAS as a Telephone Support Volunteer, offering one-to-one support over the phone to others living with RA. Trina has lived with the condition for over twenty years after being diagnosed when she was pregnant with her first child at the age of 29.

Having recently retired from a very successful 35-year career as a teacher, Trina, along with the support of the rheumatology team at the Haywood Hospital, has offered her time to support those living in the Stoke-on-Trent area along with fellow Volunteers Sandra, Cheryl and Brig.

Trina commented: ‘Being given the opportunity to meet other people with RA is great news for anyone who is affected by this debilitating condition. Having the opportunity to discuss RA in a friendly and positive environment with people who understand the problem can be a liberating experience for us. A local group will give us a wonderful opportunity to talk about our worries, to discuss experiences of medical issues and, perhaps most importantly, to share ideas for coping with RA. With the support of NRAS, we can make a difference to the lives of those affected by RA in Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding areas.’

Meetings are free and you don’t need to live in Stoke-on-Trent or attend the Haywood Hospital to join, everyone is welcome.

To find out more about NRAS groups visit: www.nras.org.uk/groups or call 01628 823 524 and ask for Kim or Gill.