‘Talking can make a world of difference’

SUPPORT: (l-r) Mike Campling of the British Liver Trust, and group facilitators Jason Marshall and David Gladders, have formed a new liver support group for people with liver problems.
SUPPORT: (l-r) Mike Campling of the British Liver Trust, and group facilitators Jason Marshall and David Gladders, have formed a new liver support group for people with liver problems.
Toby Meredith (Media Porduction Manager, University of Portsmouth), Liz Hawes (Research Nurse, Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust), and Simon Toh (Consultant Surgeon, Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust)

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THEY’RE determined to make sure people suffering from liver problems never feel isolated.

And that’s why patients Jason Marshall and David Gladders have set up Portsmouth Liver Support Group.

Group facilitator Jason, of Earlsdon Street, Southsea, has experienced liver problems at first hand.

The 37-year-old, who was in rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, was diagnosed with hepatitis C in February last year.

He said: ‘Six months after my treatment I began to feel very isolated and I didn’t have anyone I could really talk to.

‘The treatment makes you feel very emotional and you want to talk to someone who can understand what you’re going through.

‘There’s a lot of scaremongering about treatment.

‘And there’s a lot of stigma attached to the condition, so you don’t have anyone to talk to.

‘You have nurses there, but they can only help you with medical things really.’

Earlier this year Jason got in contact with Mike Campling, of the British Liver Trust, to see if a support group could be set up in Portsmouth.

‘I could see the difference you get from having support and not having it – and it makes a world of difference,’ added Jason.

‘Even if there’s just someone there to validate what you’re experiencing.

‘There was a voluntary group in the city, but it didn’t really carry on.’

The liver support group had initially been set up to help those suffering from hepatitis C.

But it has now been opened up to anyone suffering from liver disease.

Fellow group facilitator David Gladders, 35, said: ‘Support is about human beings.

‘We don’t want anyone to feel like they’re isolated.

‘People can drop in for a chat and it’s very informal and confidential.

‘It’s a chance for people to share experiences.’

The group meets on Saturday in the day room, ward C5, in Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, from 12.30pm to 2pm.

To find out more about the group, or to join, call 07968 695826.