Welcome to the OPA Support Group for Birmingham & West Midlands

Welcome to the OPA Support Group for Birmingham & West Midlands and the surrounding area.

We welcome anyone diagnosed with or recovering from Oesophageal or Stomach Cancer, we also welcome family members and friends/carers. Whatever your circumstances, we are here to support you.

We meet regularly and at our meetings you will have the opportunity to meet others in a similar situation to you, as well as their family members and those supporting them. Meetings are free to attend, and light refreshments are provided.

Details of our meetings will be updated here regularly, and if you are already a member of our group you will also receive information by post or email.


Meeting Schedule

Call us on 0121 704 9860 or email enquiries@opa.org.uk.

Date Time Venue
Saturday 20th October 2018 10:00 for 10:30

Macdonald Burlington Hotel, Burlington Arcade, 126 New Street, Birmingham, B2 4JQ

 
How to find your meeting venue  

Macdonald Burlington Hotel

Burlington Arcade

126 New Street

Birmingham

B2 4JQ

 

About us

Who we are
The group is made up of a mixture of current and former patients, their carers and close family members and friends. Our group members (both male and female) come from a wide range of backgrounds and occupations, and all have very different stories to tell. We all have one thing in common however, and that is we all aim to help and support each other, very much employing the ethos of the OPA - 'former patients helping current patients'. We are also very lucky in that representatives from The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Upper GI team (including specialist nurses and surgeons) regularly attend our meetings and we are truly grateful to them for their continued support and advice.

Our aim
We aim to help patients (and their families) pre and post treatment by offering support and guidance from those who have been in a similar situation themselves. We realise how important it is for our members to interact with eachother, and dedicate part of our meetings to this so that life-long friendships can be formed. In addition to the national objectives of the OPA, we also hope to conduct a number of regional awareness initiatives, plans for which will be discussed at future meetings.

Meeting Structure
Our meetings are very informal and currently take place at the Macdonald Burlington Hotel. Each meeting typically lasts for 2.5 hours and gives attendees an opportunity to hear the latest news, share their experiences, and learn from others. There is no obligation for anyone to speak publicly (your level of participation is completely up to you). Going forward, we also hope to be able to offer inspiring and engaging presentations on a wide range of topics, by a number of carefully selected guest speakers. After the main meeting has ended, you are welcome to stay and talk to other patients (either in groups, or on a one to one basis ). Some attendees choose to stay on for lunch or a drink.

How do I know when the next meeting is taking place?
Details of forthcoming meetings will be displayed on this page and will be posted or E-mailed to a mailing list of group members by our Secretary. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact us at the address at the bottom of this page. Where possible (to save on postage and administration costs) we would prefer to contact members by E-mail.

Can anyone attend?
Yes absolutely. We welcome patients from across Birmingham and the West Midlands area, we also welcome visitors from further afield, including representatives from other OPA support groups. You do not have to be a patient to attend (you may be a partner, carer, friend or close family member for example). In fact we positively encourage non-patients to attend. Feedback from attendees suggests that carers (usually spouses or partners) looking after their loved ones can often learn a great deal from other carers (answers to questions such as "Is this symptom normal?" for example). We would also encourage GPs and medical professionals of all levels to attend.

How much does it cost?
Our meetings are absolutely free to attend and there are no 'membership' fees. Additional food and drink is available at the venue. Any additional leisure activities organised by the group may incur an additional charge, however we will notify attendees of any costs prior to organising an event, and participation is optional.

What if I don't feel well enough to attend?
As former patients, we fully understand the difficulties you may be undergoing as a patient... be they physical, psychological or both. Whilst you might not feel like talking about cancer, wherever possible, we would encourage you to attend, as we are confident you will find our meetings both supportive and informative. From gaining tips on treatments, diet or relaxation techniques to knowing how to deal with some of the symptoms, you may be surprised at what you can learn by talking to another patient. You can also take comfort knowing that you are not going through the experience alone and that there are others who you can turn to for help, guidance and support. If you are too unwell to attend in person, please feel free to send someone else on your behalf (e.g spouse, friend, or family member).

Group Administration

The committee is comprised of a small team who work exceptionally hard to make sure you get the most from your meetings.

How to contact us

Please contact us at:

The Oesophageal Patients Association                                                         

50 High Street

Henley in Arden

Warwickshire

B95 5AN

Telephone: 0121 704 9860

Email: enquiries@opa.org.uk


Useful Links

Cancer Research UK       http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cancer-of-the-oesophagus/Pages/Treatment.aspx
Macmillan Cancer Support http://www.macmillan.org.uk
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esophagus


Previous Meetings

For our meeting on Saturday 18th October, our guest speaker was Olga Tucker. Olga is an Upper GI Surgeon who gave a fascinating talk on 'Enhanced Pathway Recovery.' We had a great turn out for our meeting, and many members stayed on afterwards for a pint in the pub! Olga's presentation will be available to view on this website shortly. 


For our meeting on Saturday 1st October 2016, our guest speaker was Ewen A Griffiths, Upper GI & Consultant General Surgeon who is based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEHB), Birmingham - who spoke about ‘Advances in oesophago-gastric cancer management in the UK’.

 

 

FeedbackJigsaw Pieces with OPA logo

We positively encourage feedback, and we always want to hear your suggestions on how we can make the support group better for you. If you would like to discuss a particular area then please do not hesitate to contact at enquiries@opa.org.uk or by telephone on 0121 704 9860.


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