The Northern Ireland Support Group had our first meeting in April 2011. Four of us got together over coffee, at the Wild Duck Inn in Portglenone Ballymena. The meeting was a great success, and the need to talk was so evident that the next meeting was organised very quickly.
We had our second meeting in September at the Dunsilly Hotel in Antrim. This time 17 members attended. We invited some great speakers:-
We discussed everything from continence issues to other symptom management, the Walton Centre support programme, treatment options and lots and lots of personal stories. It was a very emotional evening as each member discussed their experiences and all agreed it was "good to talk."
So at the third meeting in December, that is exactly what we did. There were no speakers: just 10 patients, carers and family. Tony Murphy, a volunteer at the Walton Centre and ex-PALS Officer, joined us to help to make the most of our time and offer his support. We had tea/coffee and sandwiches, and Margaret and Marylin brought the most delicious cakes. We divided into two groups – patients and carers/family – for separate discussions for part of the meeting, and this worked very well.