Early in 2003 Irene Wood took the initiative and organised for the Incorporation of the Trigeminal Neuralgia Association Australia. After connecting with a handful of sufferers, Irene established the Sydney Support Group. For around 15 years Irene, as President, presided over an organisation which offered support and information with monthly newsletters, biannual conferences that brought together some of Australia’s and the world’s leading experts in research and treatment, a website and the bringing together of many of the nation’s top specialists as a Medical Advisory Board. Over time people put up their hands and volunteered to run Support Group Meetings in other states.
In 2017 Irene handed the reins to Kathryn Meredith who, during many terms of office, compiled an informative newsletter regularly, and oversaw a conference and the start of an upgrade to the website. She led a team of committed volunteers that kept the organisation going.
In 2022, Lyn Donnelly took the helm. During the past 12 months she continued with the website upgrading process, opened a YouTube account and designed, produced and distributed promotional TNAA branded products. All these activities increased the visibility of our organisation. Membership numbers increased as a result of the increased frequency of adding information onto the website, publication of a monthly Enews email, and through the webinars featuring experts in the field of trigeminal neuralgia. In addition, more members felt encouraged to volunteer their services.
Starting as a voluntary run organisation, the operation hasn’t changed. These days a seven person committee and eight Support Group Leaders are all that stand between our organisation as a vital going concern and being wound up. Financially the organisation has depended on membership fees, donations from members and major gifts from a couple of supporters. We have never received any government funding. That is, the past 20 years has been an extraordinary achievement with only a small band of people who, as volunteers, have been committed to letting sufferers know there are treatments, advice and support: that they are not alone with their trigeminal neuralgia pain.
Thanks to everyone who has made it all possible.