Eurobodalla Support Group was founded in 1992 and attracted 26 people to its first meeting.
From the very beginning, the Group attracted participants from a wide area ranging from Narooma to Bateman’s Bay, with Moruya in the centre – which is where the Group was established and still meets today.
One factor behind the longevity of the Eurobodalla Group is the stability and length of service of its Leadership Team (Committee). Stints of up to eight years in leadership positions have been common.
Another outstanding example of longevity was Mrs Betty Byrn and husband Bruce who participated in the Group from 1998 to 2014 in leadership roles and continued attending meetings until 2019.
“In 2015 we had some turnover because the husbands of several Committee members were very ill so they had to stand down. In that year Cindi McQualter took over as President and has been brilliant. She led the Group into a new era,” said current Secretary Joy Overs.
When asked about the characteristics of a successful Support Group, Joy replied: “Consistency and continuity. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 participants or 25, you must provide the same support, friendship, and confidentiality so people feel safe talking about what are often very intimate topics related to Parkinson’s.”
Joy also shared the story of a younger woman struggling with Parkinson’s when she found the Group. Her husband confided that she had been struggling to accept her diagnosis and symptoms.
After meeting with us he stated, “There has been a very positive change in my wife’s attitude since attending your meeting. I am so grateful for your support, and we will continue to participate.”
“Over the years we have met families of our group members and had social occasions and it’s been more like a ‘family group’,” said Joy.