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HMSA’s Volunteer Week 2023 – Meet Wendy

Hi everyone,

I’m Wendy and I am the Local Groups Coordinator. I look after all our wonderful Local Group Leaders and make sure they get any support they need. Since I picked up this role 2 years ago, I’ve had some new groups start up and some great new volunteers trained up to run them, plus I’ve worked really hard on simplifying the whole Group Leader role – let’s face it these wonderful people are giving their time to help others so I wanted to make it as simple as possible for them.

As well as this, I am currently co-leader of the Nottingham group. This group is my baby 😊 I started this group up (I hate to think how many years ago) after the old Burton group closed down. Those of us who attended the Burton group had got to know each other and really missed the monthly chats, so I volunteered to start up a new one. Over time I dropped out of volunteering for a while and my then deputy became leader, but I still helped out where I could and attended all the meetings.

Then was asked if I wanted to come back as Local Groups Coordinator in 2020 just as lockdown had kicked in!! A whole new set of challenges!! Zoom meetings and getting group meetings started up where I could find volunteers. Goodness knows, many of us have really needed these meetings over the last couple of years more so than any other time!! As I had had to retire early due to health reasons, volunteering really helped me to feel like I was valued and making a difference – even more so than when I was working!

I live in Nottingham with my 2 gorgeous cats Pickle and Lilly (who those attending local groups may have met on online meetings lol!).My hobbies are making bobbin lace and drawing/painting, plus I sing in Rock Choir.

I have had issues with my health – aches and pains, gastro & bladder issues, low blood pressure and fainting fits etc., all my life but I was constantly being told its “stress” or “all in your head” and I felt like a hypochondriac, then following my early menopause my issues got worse and I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia by my GP, then referred to private Rheumatologist who said it was not Fibro but this thing called Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and told me to look at the HMSA website. I’d never heard of it!!

When I started looking into it, my whole life made sense!!! It was that sudden realisation that I WASN’T a hypochondriac – what I had was actually real. Volunteering for the HMSA has meant that I can help others who have had similar experiences AND help people to actually manage their conditions like I have now learnt to. It’s so lovely to pop into any of the local groups and meet people all over the country and hear their stories and share support hints and tips.

If you'd like to learn more about joining the HMSA as a volunteer, click here:

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