Barbara Thompson is the support group leader for the Mid-South Area (TN) group in the Memphis metro area. Barbara is a huge advocate of awareness for pulmonary hypertension throughout her community. After two years of bed rest and visiting 14 different doctors, Barbara was finally diagnosed with PH in 2002. Barbara believes that no one should go through what she went through, with long periods of uncertainty and no clear diagnosis. For this exact reason, Barbara became a support group leader 10 years ago to help patients cope with the diagnosis and provide hope and empowerment.
The Mid-South Area group meets quarterly on the first Thursday of March, June, September and November, with a group of over 40 members. This particular group has a diverse population as far as age and population. You can meet someone as young as 21 years old or as wise as the eldest member who is 75. Barbara has three main goals for her support group:
- Provide hope and understanding to patients
- Give patients a private outlet to be heard
- Connect with other PH patients
With the support group’s comfortable setting and delicious food at every meeting, members of Mid-South (TN) group experience a unique and supportive atmosphere. Even if you don’t live near Memphis, Barbara suggests that every diagnosed PH patient join a support group.
“Support groups are essential for patients where they can discuss living with PH and access resources and tools.”