Yard sale boosts awareness for self help group

Yard sale boosts awareness for self help group
The Seaway M.E./FM Self Help Group strikes a pose.

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – The Seaway M.E./FM Self Help Group hosted its third annual yard sale to help its members cope with a life-altering disease.

The group was up bright and early July 19, bartering with hundreds of bargain hunters to raise funds for upcoming events and activities.

The self help group is open to anyone with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) better known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia (FM).

The group delivers information sessions to newly diagnosed individuals, provides literature on the two illnesses, and offers an aqua fitness program for a yearly cost at the Cornwall Aquatic Centre at noon every Tuesday and Friday.

FM sufferer and president of the registered charitable organization Denise Hurtubuise, said the event continues to grow each year.

She was diagnosed in 1994.

“This event gets us all together and the turnout keeps getting bigger,” said Hurtubuise, in a low tone showing the impact of the chronic disease.

She noted that over 300,000 Ontarians battle with either M.E. or FM.

“It takes away from your life,” she said. “There are things you can’t do like you normally could.”

Ghislaine Beaudette, the group’s treasurer, has been a member since it was founded by the late Sheila McCarthy in 1992.

“I was diagnosed in 1991 with Lupus and then I found out I also had fibromyalgia,” said Beaudette. “There are a couple of us in the group that have lupus and fibromyalgia, so it really affects your life and your work. Most of us had good jobs, but you live in constant pain.”

She reminisced about the former nurse who inadvertantly kick started a movement that has spanned over two decades.

“Sheila put an add in the paper and told her story,” said Beaudette. “She wanted to see how many people in the area had fibromyalgia and to start a group.”

Fifity people attended the first session.

“It has really affected Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry (SDG) because over the years I’m sure that we have spoken to nearly 6,000 people that have asked for information and we’ve helped them in many ways,” said Beaudette.

The group is hosting a bilingual information session on FM at the Tudor Centre (841 Sydney Street) on Wednesday, September 17.

The free event is open to the public and runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Dr. Ian Shiozaki, a fibromyalgia expert from the Kingston area, and two chiropractors from Cornwall’s Spinal Care Plus will be available to answer any questions.

Theresa Julien, the group’s vice president, thanked the community for supporting their annual yard sale and the United Way of SDG for their constant generosity.

For more information, e-mail seawaymefmgroup@gmail.com or contact Denise Hurtubuise at (613) 938-3165 or Ghislaine Beaudette at (613) 938-8379.

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