The London A.S. Meet
The London Ankylosing Spondylitis Meet Up
10th June 2012
Well it all started last year, a few friends from the U.K. who have a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis were chatting on-line, we had been helping each other for a couple of months when it was suggested we should all meet up, which everyone agreed too, it had been mentioned a number of times but nothing had happened. So in November last year I suggested meeting up in June 2012 and arranged the date, the 10th was chosen as the weather is usually good that time of year, however the weather is predictable as our condition, London was the chosen location due to the good transport links to the City from most places in the U.K.
So having advertised the event on the various Facebook groups connected with our condition 12 people indicated they would like to attend with another 8 possibilities. Time soon passed and June the 10th arrived, by this time the numbers had decreased due to a number of factors, our condition being the main reason, the weather forecast was for a wet day, but we were lucky the rain held off, the first person to arrive was Tracey Mumford Palmer who had travelled from Devon, a four hour journey on a good day, our furthest travelled person for this event, she had travelled the day before and stayed overnight in an Hotel.
I travelled by Greyhound coach on the day and arrived at Victoria around the same time as Tanya de Lacy who had travelled by train from Croydon, we met and then moved on to Trafalgar Square by Taxi where we met with Keely Bedding who had travelled from Dagenham by train and had used the Underground Train to get to our location, next to reach the Location was Tracey Mumford Palmer who also had used the Underground to get where we were.
After an hour we moved on to Covent Garden, a lively location with live entertainment, food & drink, here we met with Gillian Eames and Daniel Lawton for refreshments, after two hours of chatting, joking and having a good time we all went for a meal, by this time we were joined by Tracey’s two sons and her partner. So our party then consisted of nine people, we all sat down to enjoy Pizza & Pasta and more chat and laughter.
Unfortunately time went so fast and it was time to head home, myself, Gillian, Tanya & Daniel departed by Taxi to get back to Victoria to get on our respective Trains & Coach, Keely, Tracey and family also departed at the same time, most of us arrived home early evening apart from Tracey who after a long journey finally arrived back in the early hours of the next morning.
So all in all this had turned out to be a very successful day, strangers brought together by a common condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis, who all met on-line at a group formed by our USA based inspiration Cookie Hopper, without her we would never of met, we would not have the help and support network we have today. Everyone mentioned in this report has friends all around the world, we all communicate on a daily basis, we talk on-line, we chat on the phone and now we’ve meet in person, a whole world brought together by a common condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis.
On a personal note I would like to thank everyone who attended and also say sorry to those who didn’t make it either through health, financial or the simple fact you were too far away to travel, our next meeting is in the planning stages already, we hope that more people will attend and more close friendships will be made, on a final note I must say a big thank you to Cookie, if it wasn’t for her hard work and determination none of us would have met in the first place, we will be eternally grateful to you.
Mick Stillwell, Faces of AS, Face 11
Host of the London Ankylosing Spondylitis Meet up