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Sharing and caring.... Arthritis sufferers Pauline Allen (left), of Gore, and Robyn Young, of Pukerau, are setting up an arthritis support group in Gore. PHOTO: MARGARET PHILLIPS

An informal support group for people with arthritis is being formed in Gore.

Pukerau woman Robyn Young said when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis she was surprised to find out how many people were affected by the disorder.

There are several types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, polymyalgia rheumatica and ankylosing spondylitis.

After she found out there was no support group in Eastern Southland, she and a friend, Pauline Allen, of Gore, decided to form the group.

“Not everyone is internet-savvy – some people like a one-on-one conversation, and others like to sit back listening to a group conversation,” she said.

“I asked a friend, Pauline Allen, if she would be interested in leading this group, given I was a late starter with this disease and I still have got ‘L’ plates on.”

The group would be run along informal lines.

“There will be no agenda, no committee – it is purely social, to be near, care and share.”

Arthritis New Zealand had given its blessing to the group.

People from throughout Eastern Southland were invited to come along.

“The upside of all this is, we plan to hold a gathering at 10am on Wednesday, 19th September, at The Stable Kitchen, Main St, Gore, for coffee, cake and a chat.

“We encourage anyone and everyone who is suffering first-hand from arthritis, and associated ailments, to come along and partake in one, two, or all of the aforesaid options,” Mrs Young said.

It was hoped the group would meet every third Wednesday of the month, she said.

Those wanting to talk in the meantime can contact Mrs Young or Mrs Allen (email: esarthritis@gmail.com), or contact Arthritis New Zealand toll free on 0800 663-463 or by emailing www.arthritis.org.nz