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Support Groups

One of our most important programs that we run is our support group network. We have this high opinion of support groups for two main reasons:

  • To foster open discussion of how lupus affects our lives
  • To assist and support group members in developing skills to deal with their (or a friend or family member’s) life with lupus

A support group is not designed to provide professional psychotherapy or counseling. Almost all Greater Ohio Chapter support group facilitators are volunteers, who have a desire to help others. These volunteers are not always trained professionals, but all support group facilitators receive special training by professionals to provide a caring non-threatening environment. Confidentiality is a must! Any information that might individually identify a group member cannot be discussed/revealed outside the group. *It should be noted that the opinions and statements expressed by the group members do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of the Greater Ohio Chapter.

Local Support Groups


Second Tuesday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 7:45p.m

In-Person Location:

Summit County Public Library- Goodyear Branch,60 Goodyear Blvd., Akron, Ohio


Meet Your Facilitator!

Natalie Lindsay-Smith

I became involved with the LFA, GOC after I was diagnosed with Lupus (SLE) 19 years ago. I became a member and participated in the Walk for Lupus Now events. I have also enjoyed volunteering for the LFA, GOC at health fairs. In 2012, the LFA, GOC saw a growing need for the support of lupus patients in the Akron area, and I became a support group facilitator to meet that need.  I really enjoy being a group facilitator, meeting new people, listening as they share their experiences and words of encouragement sojourning through life with lupus. It is an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the LFA, GOC, providing help and support for lupus patients and their families in Akron.

Brecksville Support Goup

Fourth Tuesday of Every Month

7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.


In-Person Location: (starting in May)

LFA, GOC Office, 12930 Chippewa Road, Brecksville Ohio, 44141

*Funded by the Ohio Commission on Minority Health


Meet Your Facilitator!

Suzanne Tierney

I have spent the last 30 years dedicated to the lupus patients in Ohio. The goal is to provide a better quality of life until a cause or cure for lupus is found. My passion is providing programs to empower those affected by lupus so that they will have a better journey with lupus through education and emotional support. Lupus does not have to be a lonely, miserable, and misunderstood illness. My goal is to provide my chapter with the tools and resources to provide such services to all those in the state of Ohio.

It was my privilege to serve as a National Board Member. This position has allowed me to be a part of a thriving National organization that has been leading the lupus movement. For many years my skills have included Board Development, Strategic Planning, Program Planning, Fund Raising, Development initiatives and much more. Together, with my   colleagues, we have created operating standards for our affiliate chapters and guidance documents. As a long-standing member of the Chapter Network Committee, I have an active, instrumental role in setting guidelines for the chapters across the country. I am an advocate in local government and have been to Washington many times to be heard as the voice of those we serve here in Ohio to make change.


Second Thursday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 7:30p.m.

**This group will not meet during the month of December.


Currently a call-in group. Click here to register.


In-Person Location:

Fairfield Lane Library

1485 Corydale Dr. Fairfield, OH 45014


Third Monday of Every Month

7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.


Currently a virtual group. Click here to view the events calendar for this month’s Zoom meeting link.


In-Person Location:

Damascus Friends Church

28899 Walnut St., Damascus, Ohio


Meet Your Facilitator!

Diana Fleming

Diana Fleming is a faculty member at Kent State University College of Nursing and teaches the SLE lecture content. She also works part-time at Akron General Medical Center.

Mrs. Fleming has seen the effects of lupus throughout her family. Her maternal grandmother and mother both suffered the effects of lupus. Currently, her sister is battling lupus. Her goal is to increase the public’s and health care professionals’ awareness and understanding of the impact of lupus.


Third Monday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


In-Person Location: (starting in May) 

Medina County District Library

210 S. Broadway St., Medina, Ohio


Meet Your Facilitator!

Kristen Halter

I became the Medina Lupus Support Group Facilitator in July of 2005 with the LFA, Akron Chapter, and when they closed their office, I became involved with the LFA, GOC. I am a facilitator because I am also a lupus patient. I feel that I was ‘given’ this disease to help others who also suffer with the disease. I enjoy meeting new people and hearing each person’s ‘lupus story’ and letting them know that they are not alone! I am married and have two sons and live in Medina County. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business and Organizational Communication, and a master’s degree in Technical Education. I am a substitute teacher within Medina County. I also have a medical background in pharmaceuticals and have extensive knowledge about lupus. I hope to see you soon! We at the LFA, GOC are here to provide support and assistance.


Second Wednesday of Every Month

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

*This group will not meet during the month of December.


Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.


Click here to join the meeting:

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181


In-Person Location:

Panera Bread

5675 Youngstown Warren Rd Niles, OH


Third Tuesday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 8:00p.m.

*This group will not meet during the month of December.


Currently a virtual group. You can join by web or by phone.


Click here to join the meeting:

Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181


In-Person Location:

Donato’s Pizza

861 N. State Rd., Westerville, Ohio


Meet Your Facilitator!

Katie Gugle

Katie’s story began years ago when she suffered from fleeting symptoms that included swollen and stiff joints and pain in her fingers. A summer cold served as a catalyst for severe fatigue and fever. The doctors took a thorough history and after explaining their suspicions, went through a battery of tests. Finally, they confirmed their hunch and Katie was diagnosed with lupus. Unfortunately, with the diagnosis came a lack of information.

Katie believes knowledge is power though and took it upon herself to contact the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter. She received information and attended New Patient Education where she received valuable information. From there she went on to attend a support group. She found a home at the support group, not only as a patient, but as a resource for other new members to let them know they were not alone.

Katie believes that it is important to battle lupus with understanding, awareness, and a positive attitude. Please join Katie at the Westerville Support Group.

About Support Groups

What is a Lupus Support Group?

A lupus support group is an informal gathering of individuals with lupus, their families and friends. It is a place where persons with lupus can share their experiences and ask questions. Most discussions focus on the “how-to’s” of living with a chronic illness.

A Support Group:

  • Fosters the sharing of feelings, hopes and concerns among people with lupus, family members and friends.
  • Promotes education about lupus
  • Provides a positive social experience for people who share a common illness.

It is a safe place for people to learn, share and help. Individual differences and confidentiality are respected.

How Does a Lupus Support Group Work?

Although there is not a specific program, a member of the Lupus Foundation is always present to facilitate the meeting and provide information about lupus and the services offered by the chapter.

Typically, everyone sits in a circle and begins by introducing him/herself. The discussion follows the inclinations of those present. Often someone has specific questions regarding the disease and/or medications. Other times attendees may bring up problems they have with their family, employment or the medical advice they have been provided. However, persons with lupus are encouraged to learn as much as they can about lupus and to work with their doctors to find the most effective treatment.

Sometime people come because they need to tell their story to sympathetic ears, while others are there just to listen. Some attend the support group regularly, while others’ needs are met in one or two meetings.

Why Are Support Groups Needed?

Learning to adapt to a chronic disease is difficult at best.

A support group can offer tips ranging from dealing with disability benefits to handling the side effects of prednisone. But the most important role of a support group is to let people with lupus know they are not alone. While one cannot control the disease, support group members can help each other gain control over the feelings of isolation, anger and fear. Persons with lupus are not helpless and they can support each other in dealing with the day-to-day challenges of the disease.

Do I Have To Have Lupus To Attend?


In fact, lupus spouses, other family members and friends are encouraged to come to show their support of persons with lupus. Often it is the person with lupus who is not ready to accept the disease and family or friends come alone to receive information and help. People who are suspected of having lupus, but have not been officially diagnosed, are also welcome to attend the lupus support group. These persons need support in coping with the uncertainty.

How Do i Join a Support Group?

Just pick a group!

We encourage you to call the office before showing up to your first meeting, particularly in times of severe weather. Cancellations are rare, but many of our facilitators are lupus patients themselves, and flares happen. Plus, let’s face it, we live in Ohio; you never know what the weather is going to do.

All meetings are free and open to the public. They are funded by the generous donations of our members and supporters and the funds raised at the annual Walk to End Lupus Now events.

Support Group Updates and Cancellations

Check here each month to see if there are any changes to your support group. This is especially important around the holidays, as we try not to hold anything on national holidays. If you have any other questions or are curious about a change not listed on this page, please call our office at 1 (888) NO-LUPUS.

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