HOUSTON NEUROPATHY SUPPORT GROUP

Our History

The Houston Neuropathy Support Group was formed in July of 1998. The first meeting was held at The Pain Care Center in Houston. The Houston Neuropathy Support Group has grown from the original 12 attendees to 669 individuals on the list in 2007. The two individuals who co-founded the group were Betty Kunze and Paula Walker. Betty Kunze remained the group leader until November 2000. She did it all initially and planned the meetings, obtained speakers and provided the refreshments. With her declining health, the program chairman, Ann Green, became the group leader by December 2000. She has remained the group leader for eight years until December of 2008. Anne Jarboe will become the group leader effective January 1, 2009.

The original medical adviser of our local support group is Dr. Yadollah Harati from the Neuromuscular Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine. He has also been assisted by Dr. Mazen Dimachkie from the University of Texas Health Science Center until he elected to move to Kansas City in July 2007. Our advisors have been extremely helpful in obtaining quality medical speakers for our group. Each January, the medical advisers have provided the membership with a question and answer program. In recent years, the presentation has been a panel of medical experts answering questions.

Volunteers have been the backbone of the Houston Neuropathy Support Group. Helen and Jim Nolan managed the e-mail notifications of meetings and Jim assisted Betty Kunze in setting up for the meetings at Memorial Dr. Lutheran Church. Virginia McKallip and Anne Jarboe were able to develop the publicity during the early years. Claire Sweatt MacAdam continued to coordinate publicity for the group in 2007. Tom Corrigan worked on our publicity in 2008. Claire MacAdam became Program Coordinator in the year 2008. John Longo has developed our membership list and served as the treasurer of the group for eight years. Winston Hamby donated his web site for use by the Houston Neuropathy Support Group for a number of years. Starting in 2007, John Longo assisted the organization in developing our own web site, houstonneuropathy.org. Liz Wahnon, Barbara Herbert, Barbara Sklar, Billie Vacek, Bernadette Vrana and Ola and Howard Allen have coordinated our refreshments at meetings. Charlie Brannon though Textron, Inc. provided free copying of information for our group for at least a year. Chuck Verostko has assisted us all with any function needing attention at our meetings. Greeters such as Becky Brignac , Kathy Hughes, Melvin Janak and Claire MacAdam have volunteered their time at meetings. Billie and Dick Vacek have coordinated our mailouts all throughout 2008. Others assisting with our mail outs included Bernadette and Emil Vrana, Tom Corrigan, Dean Kittman and Margaret Thibodeaux.

Small group Saturday meetings were formed in 2007 in Clear Lake, Pasadena, West Houston Medical Center and at the Houston Northwest Medical Center. Sue Farnsworth was the leader of the Northwest group and Dean Kittman assisted with the West Houston group. These two groups were still being maintained in 2007 but eventually in 2008 ceased to exist due to lack of attendance.

Incorporation as a nonprofit was begun in 2006. A Board was formed to include Dr. Steven Lovitt, John Longo, Dean Kittman and Ann Green on January 9, 2006. The objective of being a 501(c) 3 has been a goal throughout 2007. We were officially recognized as a 501(c)3 organization on May 15, 2007 by the Internal Revenue Service.

As of 2006, a membership fee of $15.00 is collected each year. These funds are used to defray the cost of refreshments, copies of information, supplies and postage costs for our mailouts. As of the summer of 2007, there are 300 paid members in the Houston Neuropathy Support Group. We have roughly maintained a little over 300 for paid memberships and 678 individuals on our list of those interested in neuropathy as of the end of 2008.


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