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GREATER OHIO CHAPTER

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Phone: (440) 717-0183

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Message about COVID-19

All in-person events are currently on hold. Many meetings will still be held virtually. Please click here to see our chapter calendar for the most up-to-date schedule.

Support Groups


One of our most important programs that we run is our support group network. We have this high opinion of support groups for two main reasons:

  • To foster open discussion of how lupus affects our lives
  • To assist and support group members in developing skills to deal with their (or a friend or family member’s) life with lupus

A support group is not designed to provide professional psychotherapy or counseling. Almost all Greater Ohio Chapter support group facilitators are volunteers, who have a desire to help others. These volunteers are not always trained professionals, but all support group facilitators receive special training by professionals to provide a caring non-threatening environment. Confidentiality is a must! Any information that might individually identify a group member cannot be discussed/revealed outside the group. *It should be noted that the opinions and statements expressed by the group members do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the Greater Ohio Chapter.

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Local Support Groups


Akron

Second Tuesday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 7:45p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.

Click here to join the meeting: https://www.gotomeet.me/SuzanneTierney1/lupus-support

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181

 

In-Person Location:

Summit County Public Library – Goodyear Branch

60 Goodyear Blvd., Akron, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Natalie Lindsay-Smith

 

I became involved with the LFA, GOC after I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE) 19 years ago. I became a member and participated in the Walk for Lupus Now events. I have also enjoyed volunteering for the LFA, GOC at health fairs. In 2012, the LFA, GOC saw a growing need for the support of lupus patients in the Akron area, and I became a support group facilitator to meet that need.  I really enjoy being a group facilitator, meeting new people, listening as they share their experiences and words of encouragement sojourning through life with lupus. It is an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the LFA, GOC, providing help and support for lupus patients and their families in Akron.

Ashtabula (Quarterly)

Second Sunday of March, June, and September.

1p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

Currently a call-in group. Click here to register.

 

In-Person Location:

Pizza Hut

1951 W Prospect Rd., Ashtabula, OH

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Brenda Angle

I know many people do not think about or use all of their skills and talents.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy, illness, or simply an unpleasant experience to bring creativity to the surface.  A change of lifestyle due to events occurring out of your control may take up to five years for adjustment or acceptance. God will grant you the wisdom to know your limitations.  You can find peace within yourself, IF you want to.  Your mind will automatically pursue an interest or a way to occupy time if you give in to your intuition. Motivation is the key! “I think I can, I KNOW I CAN, therefore I do”!

For many years my feet literally did not touch the ground.  I worked at a dance studio, taught dance, and performed.  I went to Aerobics, and the Y and was told I looked like the perfect picture of health. I planned a great vacation every year with my friends.  I worked at my job as an Information Systems Director at The A. Louis Supply Company, and also joined AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals.

When I was almost 30 years old, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.  I put away the dancing shoes but could not believe that life as I knew it was over.  Nineteen years later I realize I did not understand what ‘chronic’ meant.  I was hospitalized several times, each time learning more as doctors hovered about me.   My life changed dramatically as I learned lupus had affected most notably my muscles, nerves, and spine.  At one point I spent 4 months in the hospital.  I knew when my spine was affected, I would not remain in a wheelchair and would continue working.  I believe it is essential to maintain an exceptional attitude about my (your) life and circumstances occurring in my (your) life.  I developed a working relationship with a great doctor and also sought out adjoining therapies.  Spiritual growth, chiropractic, relaxation, and music therapy helped me immensely. The most valuable knowledge is that gained by experience.

I have returned to normal life and even dancing.  My mission is to teach and help others know that they can live with a chronic illness.  I have been to beginning, intermediate and advanced facilitator training, not to mention many seminars.  Most of this training was provided by the Lupus Foundation, Greater Ohio Chapter.  I have been helping lupus friends for over 25 years, and there is always something new and wonderful to share.

Brecksville

Fourth Tuesday of Every Month

7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

 

Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.

 

Click here to join the meeting: https://www.gotomeet.me/SuzanneTierney1/lupus-support

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181

 

 

*Funded by the Ohio Commission on Minority Health 

 

 

In-Person Location:

LFA, GOC Meeting Room

12930 Chippewa Rd., Brecksville, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Suzanne Tierney

I have spent the last 30 years dedicated to the lupus patients in Ohio. The goal is to provide a better quality of life until a cause or cure for lupus is found. My passion is providing programs to empower those affected by lupus so that they will have a better journey with lupus through education and emotional support. Lupus does not have to be a lonely, miserable, and misunderstood illness. My goal is to provide my chapter with the tools and resources to provide such services to all those in the state of Ohio.

It was my privilege to serve as a National Board Member. This position has allowed me to be a part of a thriving National organization that has been leading the lupus movement. For many years my skills have included Board Development, Strategic Planning, Program Planning, Fund Raising, Development initiatives and much more. Together, with my   colleagues, we have created operating standards for our affiliate chapters and guidance documents. As a long-standing member of the Chapter Network Committee, I have an active, instrumental role in setting guidelines for the chapters across the country. I am an advocate in local government and have been to Washington many times to be heard as the voice of those we serve here in Ohio to make change.

Cincinnati

Second Thusday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 7:30p.m.

**This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a call-in group. Click here to register.

 

In-Person Location:

Fairfield Lane Library

1485 Corydale Dr. Fairfield, OH 45014

Cleveland

Second Saturday of Every Month

11a.m. – 12:30p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a call-in group. Click here to register.

 

In-Person Location:

Lee Memorial AME Church – Family Life Center

10520 Bryant Ave., Cleveland, OH 44108

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Aletha Acree

I am the devoted mother of two wonderful sons, they are the reason I fight lupus daily. I share my story everyday hoping that it might help or encourage someone else on their journey. I try to leave lupus patients with these thoughts and that is keep your environment positive in all aspects and do what you can while you can!

Cleveland (Southeast)

Third Saturday of Every Month

11a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

 

Currently a call-in group. Click here to register.

 

In-Person Location:

South Pointe Hospital

4th Floor Conference Room

2000 Harvard Road

Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44122

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Aletha Acree

I am the devoted mother of two wonderful sons, they are the reason I fight lupus daily. I share my story everyday hoping that it might help or encourage someone else on their journey. I try to leave lupus patients with these thoughts and that is keep your environment positive in all aspects and do what you can while you can!

Damascus

Third Monday of Every Month

7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a virtual group. Click here to view the events calendar for this month’s Zoom meeting link.

 

In-Person Location:

Damascus Friends Church

28899 Walnut St., Damascus, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Diana Fleming

Diana Fleming is a faculty member at Kent State University College of Nursing and teaches the SLE lecture content. She also works part-time at Akron General Medical Center.

Mrs. Fleming has seen the effects of lupus throughout her family. Her maternal grandmother and mother both suffered the effects of lupus. Currently, her sister is battling lupus. Her goal is to increase the public’s and health care professionals’ awareness and understanding of the impact of lupus.

Kettering

Fourth Tuesday of Every Month

6p.m. – 7:30p.m.

**This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a call-in group. Click here to register.

 

In-Person Location:

Kettering Medical Center, Dining Room #1

3535 Southern Blvd., Kettering, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Nikki Roberts

Hi my name is Nikki, at the age of 15, a high school sophomore, my life was forever changed when I was handed a lupus diagnosis. It took a couple of years for me to accept the new “normal” my life had become. Once this happened, I decided the way to face lupus head on was to advocate for Lupus, that was one of the best decisions I could have made.

I am a phlebotomist by profession, working with kids at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, I will say, we can all learn so much from children. These kids taught me to appreciate every day, they have kept me grounded, I did more in the 15 years prior to my diagnosis than some people do in a lifetime. Some of these kids will never run, never play, and never know the “normal” we knew prior to our diagnosis. I recently turned 26, the most important lessons I have learned are that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and some lessons are not taught by conventional teachers or adults, children have so much to teach us if we take the opportunity to really watch and learn from them. Some of my most valuable lessons were taught by children with cancer or lupus, they handle their illnesses with grace and don’t complain that their lives have “changed”, they live with their “normal” and accept every new day with a sense of joy and understanding.

We will all have good days and bad days, the bad days make us stronger for the good days and they give us the strength to fight lupus, raise funds and awareness, and join together in search of better treatment and a cure.

Lupus does not have to be a lonely journey thanks to the LFA, GOC!

Lima

First Thursay of Every Month

7p.m. – 8p.m.

 

Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.

 

Click here to join the meeting: https://www.gotomeet.me/SuzanneTierney1/lupus-support

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181

 

In-Person Location:

Crossroads Church of God

775 S. Thayer Rd., Lima, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Michael Vollmar

In July 2011, at 58 years young, I became involved with the Lupus community. A non-profit that I volunteered with was awarded a grant to carry out Lupus programming, and I served as the Project Coordinator.  My lifelong career as a social worker and chemical dependency counselor found a comradeship in the grace and perseverance that I witnessed from those I met.

When our grant was nearing an end in June 2013, we came to the attention of the LFA-GOC. Suzanne and Leslie made a trip to Lima, Ohio, and spoke to and broke bread with some 30 area individuals that are affected by Lupus. Being the passionate advocates that they are, they presented to the Board a plan for the LFA-GOC to strengthen services in this area of Ohio. I grew up in Wood County and have lived the past 26 years in Lima. I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful, grass-roots venture.

If you live in this area or know of anyone being affected by Lupus in Northwest Ohio, I would love to meet you!

Medina

Third Monday of Every Month

7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.

 

Click here to join the meeting: https://www.gotomeet.me/SuzanneTierney1/lupus-support

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181

 

In-Person Location:

Medina County District Library

210 S. Broadway St., Medina, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Kristen Halter

I became the Medina Lupus Support Group Facilitator in July of 2005 with the LFA, Akron Chapter, and when they closed their office, I became involved with the LFA, GOC. I am a facilitator because I am also a lupus patient. I feel that I was ‘given’ this disease to help others who also suffer with the disease. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing each person’s ‘lupus story’ and letting them know that they are not alone! I am married and have two sons and live in Medina County. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business and Organizational Communication, and a master’s degree in Technical Education. I am a substitute teacher within Medina County. I also have a medical background in pharmaceuticals and have extensive knowledge about lupus. I hope to see you soon! We at the LFA, GOC are here to provide support and assistance.

OSU Carepoint East

First Tuesday of Every Month

6p.m. – 7:30p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a call-in group. Click here to register.

 

In-Person Location:

OSU Carepoint East

2nd Floor, Conference Room 2151

543 Taylor Ave., Columbus, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Danielle Brunet

My name is Danielle Brunet, I have been a Lupus Support group facilitator for two years.  I am a Licensed Social Worker and currently work for The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center division of Internal Medicine.    Some of the clinics I serve are the Lupus Clinic and Rheumatology clinic at OSU Care Point East. Although I do not have a diagnosis of Lupus, I have spent a large amount of time working with Lupus patients.   I was born and raised in Columbus, and currently live downtown.  I enjoy going to the movies and participating in all the exciting social activities that Columbus has to offer.

Trumbull/Mahoning

Second Wednesday of Every Month

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.

 

Click here to join the meeting: https://www.gotomeet.me/SuzanneTierney1/lupus-support

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181

 

In-Person Location:

Panera Bread

5675 Youngstown Warren Rd Niles, OH

Westerville

Third Tuesday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 8:00p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.

 

Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.

 

Click here to join the meeting: https://www.gotomeet.me/SuzanneTierney1/lupus-support

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181

 

In-Person Location:

Donato’s Pizza

861 N. State Rd., Westerville, Ohio

 

Meet Your Facilitator!

Katie Gugle

Katie’s story began years ago when she suffered from fleeting symptoms that included swollen and stiff joints and pain in her fingers. A summer cold served as a catalyst for severe fatigue and fever. The doctors took a thorough history and after explaining their suspicions, went through a battery of tests. Finally, they confirmed their hunch and Katie was diagnosed with lupus. Unfortunately, with the diagnosis came a lack of information.

Katie believes knowledge is power though and took it upon herself to contact the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter. She received information and attended New Patient Education where she received valuable information. From there she went on to attend a support group. She found a home at the support group, not only as a patient, but as a resource for other new members to let them know they were not alone.

Katie believes that it is important to battle lupus with understanding, awareness, and a positive attitude. Please join Katie at the Westerville Support Group.

About Support Groups


What is a Lupus Support Group?

A lupus support group is an informal gathering of individuals with lupus, their families and friends. It is a place where persons with lupus can share their experiences and ask questions. Most discussions focus on the “how-to’s” of living with a chronic illness.

A Support Group:

  • Fosters the sharing of feelings, hopes and concerns among people with lupus, family members and friends.
  • Promotes education about lupus
  • Provides a positive social experience for people who share a common illness.

It is a safe place for people to learn, share and help. Individual differences and confidentiality are respected.

How Does a Lupus Support Group Work?

Although there is not a specific program, a member of the Lupus Foundation is always present to facilitate the meeting and provide information about lupus and the services offered by the chapter.

Typically, everyone sits in a circle and begins by introducing him/herself. The discussion follows the inclinations of those present. Often someone has specific questions regarding the disease and/or medications. Other times attendees may bring up problems they have with their family, employment or the medical advice they have been provided. However, persons with lupus are encouraged to learn as much as they can about lupus and to work with their doctors to find the most effective treatment.

Sometime people come because they need to tell their story to sympathetic ears, while others are there just to listen. Some attend the support group regularly, while others’ needs are met in one or two meetings.

Why Are Support Groups Needed?

Learning to adapt to a chronic disease is difficult at best.

A support group can offer tips ranging from dealing with disability benefits to handling the side effects of prednisone. But the most important role of a support group is to let people with lupus know they are not alone. While one cannot control the disease, support group members can help each other gain control over the feelings of isolation, anger and fear. Persons with lupus are not helpless and they can support each other in dealing with the day-to-day challenges of the disease.

Do I Have To Have Lupus To Attend?

No.

In fact, lupus spouses, other family members and friends are encouraged to come to show their support of persons with lupus. Often it is the person with lupus who is not ready to accept the disease and family or friends come alone to receive information and help. People who are suspected of having lupus, but have not been officially diagnosed, are also welcome to attend the lupus support group. These persons need support in coping with the uncertainty.

How Do i Join a Support Group?

Just pick a group!

We encourage you to call the office before showing up to your first meeting, particularly in times of severe weather. Cancellations are rare, but many of our facilitators are lupus patients themselves, and flares happen. Plus, let’s face it, we live in Ohio; you never know what the weather is going to do.

All meetings are free and open to the public. They are funded by the generous donations of our members and supporters and the funds raised at the annual Walk to End Lupus Now events.

Support Group Updates and Cancellations

Check here each month to see if there are any changes to your support group. This is especially important around the holidays, as we try not to hold anything on national holidays. If you have any other questions or are curious about a change not listed on this page, please call our office at 1 (888) NO-LUPUS.

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