Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.
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Does your loved one have a chronic illness or disability?
Inspired by her personal and professional experiences, a local life coach is organizing twice-monthly gatherings to provide support to adults affected by the chronic illness or disability of a loved one.
The support group meetings will be held the second and fourth Tuesday of each month in an auditorium at the John F. Fick Conference Center, behind the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic in Fredericksburg, from 7-8:30 p.m. The first meeting, facilitated by life coach Marcia Grimsley, will be held Oct. 23.
Grimsley, of Life Advancement Coaching, said the group’s purpose is to explore ways to cope “with the many challenges that are unique to these families.”
“My thinking is that I would like to help family members to become more skillful at living and coping with illness and disability in the family,” she said. “I think not only would that make their lives easier, but I think it would also make the lives of the person who is ill or disabled easier.”
Grimsley will bring to the group both professional and personal experience in coping with illness and disability. Her professional background includes work with the Virginia Commission for the Blind. And as a child, she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which causes pain and stiffness in the joints and in some cases — including Grimsley’s — also leads to vision loss.
“I personally have lived with a disability and chronic illness my whole life,” Grimsley said. “So I’ve lived it as well as worked in the field.”
All adults living with or caring for a loved one with a disability or illness are welcome to attend the gatherings. There’s no registration requirement, no fee, and new participants are welcome at each session. Grimsley said she hopes the group will be interactive; she’ll facilitate and may occasionally bring in a guest speaker, but she hopes the meetings will give people a chance to share their own experiences and insights.
“I want them to feel it’s safe place to express themselves, to talk about their challenges, their successes and to have an opportunity to help one another,” Grimsley said.
The gatherings will take place in auditorium #3 at the conference center, which is located at 1301 Sam Perry Blvd., on the Mary Washington Hospital campus. Parking and the entrance are behind the Moss Clinic. For more information, click here.