Shannon Morgan, VF Patient Coordinator
By Ed Becker
The growth of the Vasculitis Foundation’s Area Contact Program tells you why it’s such an important part of the organization’s patient support services.
Approximately 30 years ago, the Vasculitis Foundation created an international network of volunteers to be contacts for patients seeking to talk with other vasculitis patients.
The program began with just five area contacts. Today, there are nearly 80 volunteers throughout the world who listen and direct patients to additional resources.
The process begins when Shannon Morgan, the VF Patient Coordinator, receives an email, or a phone call from someone who would like to talk with a fellow patient.
“Many of the patients or caregivers who call us are understandably scared, and they simply want to talk with someone who understands what they are going through,” says Morgan. “I connect the patient with one of our area contacts via email.
“Our volunteers can’t give specific medical advice, but they will listen, or share their own experiences. That alone is invaluable to a patient with a rare disease.”
Morgan says that being a volunteer contact doesn’t require any special training, and it’s not a huge time commitment.
“We just want people who are positive, good listeners, and have some knowledge of the VF and other online resources to help the patient. If our contacts need us to get involved for additional help, we are happy to assist.”
If you would like to learn more about being an area contact, please contact Shannon at: [email protected]m
Many thanks to all of our area contacts, many of who have volunteered for years helping other patients.