Tampa, Florida support group

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New member
Feb 13, 2013
Hi: I am excited to find this new support system for those of us suffering from FMS. I have been running a support group for over four years in Tampa. It is a difficult task, but very rewarding. I am excited to share this site with my members.
I look forward to getting to know some of you soon!:grin:
Re: Tampa, Florida

Hey there fibrofriend, good to have you aboard. I really like this forum, everyone is friendly and there are lots of answers to the questions so many of us deal with. I have had Fibro for over 15 years, but there is always some new twist to the illness, something different or symptom that never appeared before and might never happen again. I have had scary symptoms and just plain weird stuff that is hard to explain to any doctor let alone a family member. So this forum supplies an outlet for the weird and the scary stuff, where we can share things that have happened, as well as, what we are dealing with right now, and know someone here cares and understands how we feel with no judgemental comments. Looking forward to seeing you posting around the forum and adding new topic's.
Re: Tampa, Florida

Hi Fibrofriend, your support group, are there many regular members that attend? Have you found any good schedules of things to discuss or a format for the group? I ask because I was thinking of setting one up at a local church or YMCA group room.
Re: Tampa, Florida

Hi Janet:
I am behind on my emails, but you sent me a question regarding setting up a FM support group at the YMCA.
I started my group almost 5 years ago and I have only positive things to say about doing it. I used Meetup.com to start my support group. It is a very inexpensive way to run your group, and it helps to keep everything organized. Also, if there are no FM support groups in your area on Meetup, then you can search to see how many members are waiting for one to start. What I found when I did my checking is that there were over 200 people in my area waiting for a FM support group on Meetup.com. Once you set up the group through Meetup, they will notify all the members who have been waiting for you.
It was a slow start at the begining, but the group grew a little more month by month. Although there are over 100 members on my website, the meetings usually have about 12-18 members attend. I don't charge anything to the members, but I do pass a donation basket each meeting. I went with the idea of pampering the members, so I had a coffee bar with all the fixings, hot tea was also available. I used to bring a snack for the members as well. Additionally, I bought some cheap folders and printed stickers with our group name for the folders. I included a welcome letter explaining how our group workws and some basic fibro information. I felt name tags were a must, but I wanted to be more "green," so I have new members create a name tag for themselves and then they have a plastic protector and a clip to wear at the meetings. Make sure members leave the name tags at the meetings or you will find yourself buying more materials. I also use real coffee mugs and wash them after the meeting. In the long run it will save money.
We are now stable enough with membership that we have a leadership team. We are also in the planning stages of creating a non-profit status. It does take some work, but after I was disabled from working, I felt lost. This gave me a purpose again. Also, I really needed a support group and there was nothing available for me at that time. My only choice was to start one up myself. My best friends have all come from my support group. The support I have received greately out-weighs the support I have provided.
If you need any additional help in getting going, feel free to ask. You are also welcome to visit my web site. You are welcome to join so you can get more access to all the features of the site. Do to the sensitivity of the nature of the group, most information is "closed" to outsiders. Remember, Meetup created the template, I just filled in the blanks; I didn't create this web site. Anyway, the address is Tampa Fibro Friends (Tampa, FL) - Meetup.
The best of luck to you,
Laura R.
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