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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.

Support Group Disclaimer

We are excited to restart in-person meetings. The safety of our community, volunteers, and support groups is a priority for our Chapter. As we begin gathering in small groups, we ask that you respect the group leader’s recommendations regarding how they would like to host the support group safely. You may need to wear a mask or show proof of vaccination to gather with the group. We respect the decision of each group leader and ask that you help promote a safe meeting space.

Local Support Groups


2024 Meeting Dates

March 10th

June 9th

September 8th

1p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
*This group will not meet during the month of December.

In-Person Location:
Pizza Hut
1951 W Prospect Rd., Ashtabula, OH

Keep in mind that support group locations and times are subject to change, particularly in times of severe weather. Please call the LFA, GOC office before 5p.m. on the day of the meeting for the most up-to-date information.

Meet Your Facilitator!

Brenda Angle

A note from Brenda:

I know many people do not think about or use all of their skills and talents.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy, illness, or simply an unpleasant experience to bring creativity to the surface.  A change of lifestyle due to events occurring out of your control may take up to five years for adjustment or acceptance. God will grant you the wisdom to know your limitations.  You can find peace within yourself, IF you want to.  Your mind will automatically pursue an interest or a way to occupy time if you give in to your intuition. Motivation is the key! “I think I can, I KNOW I CAN, therefore I do”!

For many years my feet literally did not touch the ground.  I worked at a dance studio, taught dance, and performed.  I went to Aerobics, and the Y and was told I looked like the perfect picture of health. I planned a great vacation every year with my friends.  I worked at my job as an Information Systems Director at The A. Louis Supply Company, and also joined AITP (Association of Information Technology Professionals.

When I was almost 30 years old, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.  I put away the dancing shoes but could not believe that life as I knew it was over.  Nineteen years later I realize I did not understand what ‘chronic’ meant.  I was hospitalized several times, each time learning more as doctors hovered about me.   My life changed dramatically as I learned lupus had affected most notably my muscles, nerves, and spine.  At one point I spent 4 months in the hospital.  I knew when my spine was affected I would not remain in a wheelchair and would continue working.  I believe it is essential to maintain an exceptional attitude about my (your) life and circumstances occurring in my (your) life.  I developed a working relationship with a great doctor and also sought out ADJOINING  therapies.  Spiritual growth, chiropractic, relaxation and music therapy helped me immensely. The most valuable knowledge is that gained by experience.

I have returned to normal life and even dancing.  My mission is to teach and help others know that they can live with a chronic illness.  I have been to beginning, intermediate and advanced facilitator training, not to mention many seminars.  Most of this training was provided by the Lupus Foundation, Greater Ohio Chapter.  I have been helping lupus friends for over 25 years, and there is always something new and wonderful to share.

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.


Fourth Tuesday of Every Month

7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Currently a hybrid group. You can attend in- person, by web or by phone.

In Person Location: 

LFA, Greater Ohio Chapter Office

12930 Chippewa Road Brecksville, Ohio 44141

Click HERE to register for the “We Live With Lupus” combined support group.


Click here to join the meeting directly:
Or call: 1 877 309 2073 and use the access code: 216-638-181

*Funded by the Ohio Commission on Minority Health


Meet Your Facilitator!

Lisa Brieding



Second Tuesday of Every Month

6:00 p.m. – 7:30p.m.

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

In-Person Location:

Cincinnati Public Library – Oakley Branch

4033 Gilmore Avenue

Cincinnati, Ohio 45209

Northern Cincinnati

Bi-Monthly Meeting

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

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

2023 Dates:






In-Person Location:

Montgomery Community Church

11251 Montgomery Road

Cincinnati, OH 45249


Quarterly Meeting

2024 Dates:

January 16

April 16

July 16

October 15

7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

In-Person Location:
Pizza Hut

325 W State St

Salem, OH 44460, USA


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 Crandall Medical Center.

Dr. 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.



or CALL IN: 1 866 899 4679  ACESS CODE: 193-365-133


In-Person Location: (When In Person Resumes)

Medina County District Library

210 S. Broadway St., Medina, Ohio


Meet Your Facilitator!

Bessie Cuevas


Second Monday of Every Month

6:30p.m. – 7:30p.m.

In-Person Location:

Lima Library

650 West Market Street , Lima, Ohio 45801

Keep in mind that support group locations and times are subject to change, particularly in times of severe weather. Please call the LFA, GOC office before 5p.m. on the day of the meeting for the most up-to-date information.

Meet Your Facilitator:

Michael Vollmar

In July 2011, at 58 years young, I became involved with the Lupus community. A non-profit that I volunteered with was awarded a grant to carry out Lupus programming, and I served as the Project Coordinator.  My lifelong career as a social worker and chemical dependency counselor found a comradeship in the grace and perseverance I witnessed from those I met.

When our grant was nearing an end in June 2013, we came to the attention of the LFA-GOC. Suzanne and Leslie made a trip to Lima, Ohio, and spoke to and broke bread with some 30 area individuals that are affected by Lupus. Being the passionate advocates that they are, they presented to the Board a plan for the LFA-GOC to strengthen services in this area of Ohio. I grew up in Wood County, and have lived the past 26 years in Lima. I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful, grass-roots venture.

If you live in this area or know of anyone being affected by Lupus in Northwest Ohio, I would love to meet you!


Southeast Cleveland

Third Saturday of the Month

11 am – 12:30pm.


In-Person Location:

Maple Heights Branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library

5225 Library Ln, Maple Heights, OH 44137


Meet Your Facilitator!


I am the devoted mother of two wonderful sons, they are the reason I fight lupus daily. I share my story everyday hoping that it might help or encourage someone else on their journey. I try to leave lupus patients with these thoughts and that is keep your environment positive in all aspects and do what you can while you ca




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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