A SUFFERER of chronic pain is using his experiences to set up a support group for others battling the condition.
Alan Brown, 29, of North End, has launched the Friends 4 U Support Group.
Its next session – with a £2 donation requested to cover hire costs – will be held at St Peter’s Church in Southsea on July 11 from 7pm to 9pm.
The former chef suffers from fibromyalgia and a neurological disorder which leaves him in a wheelchair and needing round-the-clock care.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body – in the muscles, ligaments and tendons – and people with it often have difficulty sleeping, headaches and muscle stiffness.
It is estimated one in 20 people is affected by it across the globe.
But Mr Brown is determined not to let his condition get him down and has put his efforts into forming the first support group of its kind in Portsmouth.
He said: ‘It’s aimed at people with disability who suffer from chronic pain.
‘I was fed up with phoning support groups and them not getting in touch with me, so I decided to help set up the group. We will be talking to people and helping them. I know there are a lot of sufferers out there.
‘They help to get people talking and people don’t like talking to counsellors.’
He previously overcame ME in his early 20s but his life was turned upside down when diagnosed with fibromyalgia and a neurological disorder last July and was forced to give up his job as a chef at a nursing home.
But he is supported by his new wife Sally, who he married in Scotland on Friday, and praised Ella Jones, who runs local firm Do Not Eat Luxury Cosmetics. She has donated cash from product sales.
Mr Brown set up a website for the group and edited an video.
He said: ‘I have had ME before but I managed to get myself better. When they told me I had fibromyalgia and a neurological disorder I was disheartened. I was told not to go back to work.
‘I have got carers to come and assist me in things like getting washed and it’s tough for Sally and me.
‘I’d like it to become a charity but I need to have £5,000 in the account – I want this group to grow.’
To find out more, visit friends4usupportgroup.webeden.co.uk, email friends firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07535 499473.