Connecting-Up Peer Support Program

Have you ever wanted to speak to someone who understands CF, without having to explain what it is?

Connecting-Up provides opportunities for people with CF, their family and carers to have a chat with a peer volunteer. Our peer volunteers are members of the CF community including; parents, siblings, grandparents and individuals with CF. Peer volunteers are available to have a chat, share information, experiences and provide a listening ear.

Who is it for?

All members:

  • Individuals with CF
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Partners
  • Grandparents

We have a number of ways in which you can connect with our peer volunteers, including:

  • Telephone
    - Chat to one of our peer volunteers
  • Face-to-face
    - Meet our peer volunteers for a coffee in person
    - Come along to one of our support dinners or events
  • Online
    - Talk to a peer volunteer on email, Skype or videoconferencing

What are the benefits of peer support?

Peer support is recognised as an important part of the management of a chronic illness. There is research and anecdotal evidence that peer support benefits people by helping to:

  • feel connected, understood & heard by someone who shares a similar experience
  • reduce feelings of isolation
  • deal with anxiety/stress around changes in health and help manage emotions such as loss and grief
  • increase confidence, independence and self-management
  • assist in decision making through sharing ideas, information and tips
  • provide skills & techniques to deal with health professionals

Peer support is really important, we all have different stories, we have a lot in common. Often it's the everyday things where we can gain understanding and support from each other, the kinds of things you may not find out about from clinicians or health professionals, but can help you deal with CF in the everyday. Kathy

If you think you or someone in your family would benefit from being matched with one of our volunteers, then contact us on (03) 9686 1811 or programs@cfcc.org.au to find out more.

Watch below to find out how beneficial peer support can be...

Get to know your peer volunteers

We have around 40 peer volunteers who are intersted in having a chat with you.
Get to know them better by reading their stories below...

David Kilgariff

David KilgariffDavid (45) grew up on a farm in a small town in Victoria with his brother and sister. Together they lead very active lives. David has CF and received a lung transplant in 2005. Sadly his brother and sister, who also had CF have now passed. Today, David loves to surf and is persuing his studies to become a Social Worker, whilst working part time as a gardner. He also loves to surf! He credits regular excercise and healthy routines, such as work/life balance to maintaining good health and keeping well. During some of the more challenging times, he finds talking to others with with CF very helpful, knowing he is not alone as well as picking up tips on managing his health. David hopes to provide the same support to others with CF and their families by listening to their experiences and any challeneges they face. 

Glen Morley

Glen MorleyGlenn (50) is a retiree and a single parent to his 16 year old twins. He also has CF. Glen is a great example of how people with CF can live and achieve ordinary lives just as others do. Glen attributes this to being your own advocate and working and maintaining your health and effectively your CF.  Glen lives in the picturesque Dandenong Ranges and is happy to talk and share his CF story, including self managing, having children, maintaining work/life balance and creating good relationships with your CF teams.  


Tim Schofield

Tim SchofieldTim has been associated with CF for over 22 years now. His now adult son has CF.  Tim and his wife have been involved with various CF groups supporting families and raising funds for further treatment and research both in Australia and the United States.Curently both Tim and his wife are both active members of the Bendigo support group. As a parent, spouse and friend, Tim believes it’s extremely valuable to have someone to speak with about concerns, questions or to know that there is someone available to talk to when life gets tough.  "As CF family members, we’re in this life race together and we do need assistance and support at times." Tim's strong desire to care for, support and be there for people with CF and their families is why he joined the Connecting-Up program. 

Sue Emery

Sue EmerySue’s journey with CF started in 1975, when her youngest sister Genevieve was born. Sadly, fourteen months after a lung transplant Genevieve passed away at age 37. Sue's journey does not stop there as she also has a son, Chris (21) who  has CF. Sue has a passion for CF and supporting the CF community. She is an active member of CFCC, not only with the Connecting-Up program, but as a speaker as well as supporting various community events and activities. Sue wants to use her experiences with CF to make a positive difference in the lives of those with CF and their families. Outside the world of CF, Sue has a background in Medical Laboratory Science and IT, she is wife to Phil, mother to Steph (18) and a friend to many. 

Ben Harris

Ben Harris

Ben is a partner of 20 plus years to his wife who has CF. Ben is a management professional and loves music. He also intimately knows what it can be like to live, support and love someone who has CF. For the first time Ben feels he has a peer group, as adults are living longer and sharing their lives with a significant other. Ben would like to get in touch with other partners who share similar situations to him as well as show parents that their child too can have long, supportive and ‘normal’ relationships. He recognises it's a tough gig being the partner of a person with a chronic illness and he's happy to talk openly about what he's experienced. Ben says he has made many mistakes and can offer his perspective on a range of issues that have affected their lives. 

Carolyn Hughes-Scholes

Carolyn HSCarolyn has 3 children, Benjamyn (9), Callum (6) and Jasmyn (4). Callum was born with meconium ileus and diagnosed with CF soon after. Carolyn would like to start a support group in her local area (North/East Melbourne) for other families with children with CF so together they can share experiences and provide support for one another. As a parent, Carolyn would also like to provide support for families who have children with CF, she feels her experiences transitioning Callum to childcare, kinder and school could be useful for those currently in those situations. 


Claire Jones

Claire JonesClaire and Andrew have three children, Jack (8), Lockie (5) and Madeline (3).  Jack was born with a twisted bowel. At two days old he was operated on and at three days old they met with the CF team! Like most, CF was completely unknown and took them completely by suprise. Since those early days of shock and coming to grips with CF she has learnt a lot and continues to learn from the doctors, nurses and other parents. Jack loves his sport and the best part of his school day usually revolves around kicking a soccer ball or playing footy (also great for his CF). Claire found meeting with other parents through CFCC really useful and now wants to be there to provide similar supports to other parents. 

Melissa Judd

Melissa JuddMelissa is a mum to 2 year old Mia. Mia was diagnosed with CF at 4 weeks. As a nurse and parent, Melissa feels through her experiences she would be able to help other newly diagnosed families. She understands the importance of a supportive community and through becoming a peer volunteer hopes to reach out to other families in similar situations to provide the kind of support she would have appreciated when Mia was diagnosed - To help them realise they are not alone. Melissa lives in the Geelong region and is passionate about healthy eating and gut health. 

 


Nicole Mackintosh

Nicole MackintoshAt almost 40, Nicole is very familiar with CF. She had a double lung transplant 5 years ago. Nicole has a wonderful family, which includes three awesome nephews and a bunch of great friends she loves hanging out with! She works casually as an admin assistant as well as does some catering from time to time. Growing up - before the cross infection issue - she found it really beneficial talking to others who had CF, who were in similar situations and had more of an idea of the things that were affecting her.  Nicole still finds it helpful to talk to her peers about what is going on in her life and hopes she can provide the same support to others with CF.  

Kristen Scott

Kristin ScottKristen's passion for CF began when her younger sister, Lauren was diagnosed in her early teens. Sadly her sister passed away. Originally from Far North Queensland, Kristen relocated to Victoria to pursue her university studies in medicine. Currently living in Ballarat and growing up in a small town, Kristen knows the improtance of community support and hopes to continue to work with and support other siblings and their families. Kristen loves to travel and experience new adventures.




Christie Nessel

Christie NesselChristie is a super woman. Christie has 2 children with CF age 10 and 12. Together with their dog Bella, they live in the Frankston area. As a single parent, Christie has her hands full but when she gets some spare time she loves to socialise and have fun whenever she can. Caring for a child or in her case children with CF means she understands the challenges and additional needs that come with having kids with a chronic illness. She also recognises how this effects parents and carers physically, mentally and emotionally. Christie is looking to set up a support group for young people and looks forward to speaking with other parents on the phone or catching up for a coffee. 

Nardia Robertson

Nardia RobertsonBorn in 1968, Nardia lives with her husband Max and dog Zelda in Melbourne. She aslo has CF. Nardia has more than 20 years experience of working within the fashion industry, 10 of which she was as a lecturer at RMIT University. Unfortunately in 2009 she had to reduce her work life to create a better balance, including her CF care. Nardia now spends her time between casual work at CFCC, developing costumes for the Australian Girls Choir and focusing on keeping well. She believes that a good understanding of CF and an engaged network of friends, family and health care professionals are the key elements to better outcomes and a better quality of life for people living with CF. 

Troy McGee

Troy McGeeTroy (21) doesn’t remember a world without CF, as Aaron his older brother was diagnosed from birth. Some of his earliest memories with Aaron are in the hospital playground or sitting on his bed playing video games while Aaron did his neb. Sadly, Aaron passed away in April of 2010. Since then Troy has endeavoured to volunteer with CFCC wherever he can, including becoming a peer volunteer to share his story and support other young people with CF, their siblings family.  Troy is studying an honours degree in design and grew up in the Northern Tasmanian town of Perth. 

 

How do I become a peer volunteer? 

If you think you would make a great peer volunteer then click here to fnd out more information and how to apply. 
Remember you don’t have to have CF; you can be a parent, friend, sibling or relative too.