2018 Support Group Retreat s

E-Newsletter Signup

Please leave this field empty

Washington State Support Groups

Support Groups provide a forum to share feelings, concerns, information, and as well as a place to offer peer support and encouragement. All our support groups are peer-led. Solicitations or research projects are not conducted at support group meetings.

This schedule is subject to change. Before attending a group for the first time, please call to verify date and time. Groups are free of charge and open to everyone.


 

Mount Vernon, Washington

North Sound Support Group

Meets on the second Friday of the month at 11:00 a.m. (except July)

Skagit Valley Hospital, Sauk Conference Room (located near the SW parking lot entrance), Mount Vernon, WA

Support Group Leaders: Joyce Harlan, 360-927-5392, joyceharlan@comcast.net and Vicki Hollmann, 360-731-7563, vickihollmann@gmail.com

 

Olympia/Tacoma Area

South Sound Support Group

The South Sound Scleroderma Group meets every 3rd Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. at the MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital.

315 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, WA.  Meets in Conference Room MMC 3 (3rd floor) (By Atrium Gift Shop).

Support Group Leader: Shannan Roby, shannanroby@yahoo.com, (360) 250-7897.

 

Kennewick, Washington

Tri-cities Support Group

Meets one Saturday each month at Zintel Creek Golf Club, 314 N. Underwood St. Kennewick, WA 99336.  Please contact Vicki Henry for details.

Support Group Leader: Vicki Henry, (509) 627-5102, geminiviki@aol.com

 

Peninsula Support Group

For more information, please contact Tracy Hagel at (360) 268-3007 or herestwous@gmail.com.


Seattle, Washington

Seattle Support Group

Meets on the 2nd Saturday of every month from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Seattle Children's Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105.  

Support Group Leader: Kris Garthe, (253) 839-1539, kris@garthefamily.com

>Caregivers Support Group:  

Meets quarterly at the same location in Seattle.
Contact Bunny for more details:
bunny@garthefamily.com

 

Spokane, Washington

Spokane Support Group

Meets on the 3rd Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Deaconess Health and Education Center, 910 W. 5th Ave., Room #266, Spokane. No meetings in July, August and December.

Support Group Leaders: Lisa Van Driel, (509) 714-1098, kittykatlisa@hotmail.com and Jen Stalwick, JenStalwick56@gmail.com

Yakima, Washington

Yakima Support Group

Meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 4:30-6:30pm at Astria Regional Medical Center (Providence, Saint Elizabeths), Board Rooms A/B; (In the cafe behind the cash registers) 110 South 9th Avenue, Yakima, WA 98902.

Support Group Leader: Kim Castro, KimberlyAnnCastro70@gmail.com 

 

Vicki's Story

Vicki and Royce.jpg

 

My Scleroderma journey began in September 1995 at the age of 39. I was in Chicago to attend our son's graduation from Navy boot camp. I got a pretty new dress and high heels to wear to the ceremony. When it came time to get ready, I could not begin to get those spiffy new shoes on due to extreme swelling in my feet. When I returned home, I began to have alot of swelling and numbness in my hands as well.

My family doctor sent me to a Neurologist. He suspected I had carpal tunnel syndrome from my many years of working as a Medical Secretary. The Neurologist took one look at my hands and asked if he could see my feet. I thought, how odd,since I was there to be evaluated for carpal tunnel. When he examined my feet and saw the swelling and color changes, he said, "I'm referring you to a Rheumatologist, I believe you have an autoimmune disease." I saw a Rheumatologist in October 1995 and over the next few months developed all the symptoms of what was then called CREST.

I received my Scleroderma diagnosis in February 1996, now referred to as Limited Systemic Scleroderma.  It has been a roller coaster of various problems over the last 22 years. My biggest challenge is with ulcers, calcinosis and Scleroderma wounds. I have been dealing with debridement and calcinosis removal from my left lower leg for 6 years. The procedures are necessary, but not pleasant! I feel like my plastic surgeon is a good friend, we spend so much time together! I also face challenges with my hands, they are contracted into "claws" and I also get the calcinosis/ulcers on my fingers. I have all kinds of gadgets to help me open things and of course my hubby too!

I was able to continue work as a Medical Secretary for many years after my diagnosis, working until 2014 when the leg wound pain, fatigue and Raynaud's became too much. I was blessed to get Social Security Disability at the age of 60 and on my first application.
During the early years of my disease, I didn't know anyone else who had Scleroderma or knew what it was. I learned about a support site called Inspire. I decided to get brave and go to a National Patient conference in San Francisco with someone I connected with on Inspire. That "someone" turned out to be our very own Shelley Van Pelt! Oh my what a wonderful time we had, it was just like we had always been friends! The conference was amazing, so much information to glean and friends to make. I highly recommend that everyone try to attend one if possible!

When we moved to Mount Vernon, I joined the North Sound Scleroderma Support group. What a joy to get know these amazing folks who are so encouraging and caring. I have had the privilege of being a Co-leader these past few years. I am so thankful for everyone in our group, they have become my second family!

I am so thankful for all the support I receive from my family and especially from my husband, Royce, who is my caretaker and biggest supporter. I enjoy short leisurely trips, scrapbooking, playing with our grandchildren and visits from family and friends. 

Scleroderma has changed my life in many ways, but along with all my Sclero
sisters and brothers, I keep fighting and hoping for a cure!