PLATTSBURGH — A support group for people with scleroderma is forming in the Plattsburgh area.
The group will meet from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in Auditorium A of CVPH Medical Center, with the initial meeting slated for Dec. 5.
“Since I was first diagnosed in 2005, I’ve met quite a few people up here who were diagnosed with the same thing,” said co-organizer Wendy Faubert.
“For me, there was no one to talk to about scleroderma, to share my thoughts with and who understood what I was dealing with.
“I think a support group will be so beneficial for anyone who has to face those things I had to face alone. It’s always so nice to know there’s someone there to talk to.”
Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack and destroy healthy tissue, impacting the skin, blood vessels, muscles and internal organs.
The cause of the disease is unknown. People with scleroderma typically have a buildup of collagen in the skin and other organs that lead to symptoms of the disease.
Faubert’s initial symptoms included a growing level of fatigue. The illness was actually diagnosed during routine blood work done for a regular checkup, she said.
Melody Breen and Lori Roebuck have joined Faubert as founding members of the Adirondack Scleroderma Support Group, which has been sanctioned by the Tri-State Chapter of the National Scleroderma Foundation, located in Binghamton.
“It’s an opportunity for individuals with scleroderma to learn more about the support that is available,” said Kate Duprey, who helps organize the local Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma annual fundraiser.
For instance, patients with the condition have had varying degrees of success with certain physicians and can share their experiences with one another, Duprey noted.