In December 1990, a group of friends got together to discuss motor neurone disease as each of them had lost a friend or relative to the disease.
Brenda Ryan, who worked at MND Victoria, and Mavis Gallienne, who was one of the people who started MND Victoria in 1981, met with the group in Geelong. It was Brenda who suggested the idea of forming the Barwon Support Group so that those impacted by MND could find strength in sharing their experiences, helping those who were currently living with MND, and raising awareness in their local community..
One of the group, the Rev. Ian Parton, was appointed President, the role he still holds today some thirty years later.
Many dedicated individuals have been actively involved in serving on the committee of the Barwon Support Group, ensuring that people with MND living in the area are supported as their disease progresses.
One of the immediate concerns of the group was to raise funds for a group member who needed a page-turning device for reading. This was before the establishment of the MND Victoria Equipment Service, so a Trash/Treasure stall was held at the Belmont Market. Over the years, the Barwon Support Group has supported many organisations and individuals, too numerous to list here, who chose to raise funds for MND Victoria. Each year the group organises the Geelong Walk to D’Feet MND event which usually takes place in March. While the 2020 event was cancelled, it is hoped the event will take place again in 2021 – watch this space!
MND Victoria is very grateful for the on-going commitment of past and present members of the Barwon Support Group. It is hard to quantify the incredible impact this group has had since its inception, in supporting members of their community living with MND, and in raising awareness and funds.