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Northwest Regional Conference

The venue, a lecture theatre in John Moores University of Liverpool, was absolutely fantastic.  It reflected the very professional and important edge that Sue Strafford-Binks always strives for.  The seating was extremely comfortable (as comfy as a FMS sufferer can attain anyway!), as it wasn’t just plastic low-backed chairs. 

Sue dealt serenely and proficiently with some last minute changes that the university had to make.  Stepping up to welcome delegates, Sue shone like the star that she is. 

It is noteworthy that this conference took 18months of organisation, alongside running two support groups as well as regular classes at Total Fitness and Project Therapy, various fund-raisers such as the annual Dream Auction, an active APPG lobbyer, our Regional Co-ordinator, Wife, Mother and Grand-mother!  A big asks of anyone, let alone a FMS (and ME) sufferer!  I realise that all Support Group workers make a big sacrifice for others, but I do feel that Sue particularly deserves this admiration.  I would also like to take this opportunity of echoing Sue’s sentiments towards her husband Chris, who is so wonderfully supportive and kind!

The high calibre of speakers was impressive.  All those experts on Fibromyalgia, under one roof is an amazing feat on Sue’s part- yes it’s called, education-r-us!  Our fully rounded Fibro-education consisted of experts on, Craniosacral Therapy by Carol Wilcox; information and ways forward in the treatment of FMS with Dr Y.H Chiu; Research in Fibromyalgia from Dr Nicola Adams (thanks also goes for arranging such a great lecture theatre to Dr Adams); Dr Andrew St Clair Logan, a Pain Management Consultant; Janet Horton, trustee of FMA UK; and MP Stephen Hesford on the role of local MP’s and APPG’s.

All lectures were informative and riveting.  As a member of Wirral & Merseyside group, I have been lucky enough to hear some of these speakers during group meetings, but none repeated anything that had been said before.  This is fabulous as it demonstrates the wide expertise of these professionals and the fact that they could all have spoken for much longer, had we been able to attend a weeklong conference!  It was particularly revealing for me, listening to the extremely approachable MP, Stephen Hesford who Sue has obviously invested much time in, helping him to understand the importance of the FMS APPG, without which we have little hope of moving forward with the illness.  This kind of relationship with local and influential professionals is inspiring and helps to give me hope in finding new ways of dealing with Fibromyalgia!

The raffle raised £129 for FMA UK, which is good considering the amount of people present.  FMA UK as we know is key to producing educational leaflets and beginning to spread awareness of our illness.  This of course also comes down to each sufferer doing their small part, even if it is just putting up local group posters!

It was fabulous for me to see a room full of fellow Fibro-mites all after the same outcome as myself- a greater understanding of FMS.  Thank you to all those delegates who travelled all those painful miles, I am sure you will agree it was well worth it!  It was lovely to meet other hard working group members from all over the country, as it was a clear reminder that this illness is not just personal.  As we are aware it affects up to 5% of the population and we need to join together as one voice, to support each other’s efforts, campaigns and fight against Fibromyalgia.  What a fantastic meeting place to have partied into the night with such wonderful and brave people (I wish.).

Emma Levick, Merseyside & Wirral Group Member and South Cheshire FMS Group Leader
7th September 2007 

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