Brian Simpson is a determined man. On 16 November 2019, he will relaunch the West Midlands support group, once led by his partner Mark Ridge, who sadly died from sarcoma in December 2018. Less than a year later, Brian is on the cusp of an important step of being able to once again offer much needed support for anyone affected by sarcoma in the West Midlands area.
‘Being able to speak to someone else going through the same thing you are is so important,’ says Brian. ‘It’s taken me nearly a year since Mark’s passing to make up my mind that this is something I wanted to do, and it wasn’t until the recent support group leader’s meeting in Birmingham [organised by Sarcoma UK] that helped me make the decision to go ahead with it.’
‘When Mark first got his sarcoma diagnosis, he had to travel down to London and even contact other regional groups for support. Aside from the initial shock, it was the fact that there are so many types of sarcoma, that it’s so rare and the lack of information in those early days that was so hard. As well as coping with all the myriad of things on the medical front, you still have to live your day-to-day life, think about your finances, your family and friends, it’s a lot to take on.’
‘Mark was adamant there were people who needed support for sarcoma around the Midlands, and so, with Sarcoma UK’s help, he set one up. We had a good mix of people, patients and carers, who came to the first two meetings, the second of which I led because Mark was in hospital.’
'I see my role at the support group as bringing people together. We’ll see what will come out after the first three sessions of the West Midlands support group, but the future is about what people want from the group. The group is so important to me. It’s about sharing common experiences, supporting each other and not being isolated, having that outlet to talk to others on the same journey as you.'
The West Midlands support group will take place on Saturday 16 November 2019, from 2.30pm to 4.30pm at The Studio, 7 Cannon Street, Birmingham, B2 5EP. After this the following support groups will be hold on Saturday 25 January 2020 and Saturday 14 March 2020.
Like all sarcoma support groups, it is open to anyone of any age affected by sarcoma. If you have any questions about the group, email Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org