Who we are
The Norfolk & Waveney OPA support group is run by former patients and their carers. Patients may be at any stage of treatment, from only just being diagnosed to having undergone surgery several years (or indeed decades) ago. 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 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 Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital (including a dedicated team of medical staff) regularly attend our meetings and we are truly grateful to them for their continued support and advice.
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 work closely with the medical staff concerning the symptoms of the disease and the nature of postoperative care required. In addition to the national objectives of the OPA, we also hope to conduct a number of regional awareness initiatives.
Our meetings are very informal and take place in the Benjamin Gooch Suite of the Norfolk & Waveney University Hospital. Each meeting typically lasts for 1-2 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). We also 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 or any of the attending medical staff.
A typical meeting will comprise of:-
- Tea and coffee
- Welcome by the Group Chair
- Latest news and developments (e.g. new research findings and treatments)
- Guest Speaker (s)
- Questions from the floor
How do I know when the next meeting is taking place?
Details of forthcoming meetings will be displayed on this page and will be either posted or e-mailed to group members. 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 East Anglia, with attendees currently travelling from Kings Lynn, Waveney, Great Yarmouth and beyond. 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).
How much does it cost?
Our meetings are absolutely free to attend and there are no 'membership' fees although we do ask you support our raffle as this helps to cover the cost of tea/coffee & biscuits. Additional food and drink is available at any of the cafe/restaurants within the hospital at the individuals own cost.
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 or diet, 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).
Sue Hales - firstname.lastname@example.org or 07732 672816