What do 1156 people have in common?
Well at time of writing this post, that was the amazing number of members that our Facebook forum now has, and at DDH UK we can hardly believe it and are absolutely delighted.
The growth of the forum has been phenomenal, and within recent months the numbers have gone from strength. It is incredible to think that over a thousand people have come together to share their hopes, experiences, concerns and emotions and what a community we have become.
When Natalie started the Facebook forum, over 18 months ago, she was a woman on a mission to put DDH on the map, both with the medical world but also as a signpost for parents.
With her book, Cast Life, being published and distributed worldwide, the development of the DDH UK website and writing accurate easily understandable information for parents, carers and sufferers of DDH Natalie was a busy woman indeed.
All of this was going on whilst being a mother, a wife, a business owner and continuing to be her son’s advocate and carer. Oh and navigating a relocation to Devon.
The birth of the Facebook forum was a way to help bring people together that were experiencing the rigors and worries of their child being diagnosed with DDH, a place of support, advice and connection. The things that Natalie needed and wanted when her son Lucas, now 8, was diagnosed with DDH as a baby.
Over the past year and a half, the forum has grown both in number of members but also in the support that is offered.
We have found that now we not only offer help to parents but also patients and links are being made and gaps being filled.
We are an International group, we have friends now from the UK, Ireland, Malta, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Australia and even Japan.
The group has a team of International admins who work tirelessly to monitor the page 24 hours a day. They respond to member questions or link them to others that may have already been through a similar experience.
There are regional (and country) messenger groups that allow local people to chat together and arrange meet ups.
Karen Kerr and Stacey Vassallo are both great members of the team and offer a one to one private messenger buddy system to help parents and carers through the difficult times if they need to talk about things. Karen has recently written her book, Spica Warrior, and Stacy has done some amazing fundraising work with her son – more of this in the next couple of weeks.
DDH UK launched the ‘Dine With DDH UK’ earlier his year, which sees a monthly voucher awarded to a family for them to enjoy a trip to Pizza express as a family.
We also have the “Coffee and Cake On Us” which is a Costa Coffee voucher that we send members that we feel could use a little boost.
Erin McHugh runs a separate Facebook group, ‘DDH Equipment to Buy, Donate, Sell or Swap in the UK’ that is a safe place to share, research or search for equipment that you may need.
There are so many new projects in the pipeline and exciting announcements, including a brand-new award, coming very soon so watch this space.
This DDH army grows daily, we, together, like the children that we care about are unstoppable.
Thank you for being part of this amazing group of people and showing your support, sharing your experiences and being part of our DDH UK family.
Team DDH UK