The Bernie Banton Foundation’s Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related Support (MARS) Australia Network Team, have been at the forefront of asbestos-related disease online support since 2010. The Foundation’s Support Co-ordinator, Rod Smith experienced the benefits that can be derived from social media networks, whilst living the mesothelioma journey with his late wife Julie. This led Rod to being one of the earliest proponents in running social media based, actual support groups.
The MARS Australia Network Team members have walked the mesothelioma and other asbestos dust related disease journeys, and as such can equate with the path members are on. We monitor and facilitate our support group sites as much as possible – and will respond and participate as often as time permits.
MARS AUSTRALIA ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS
The MARS Australia Network online (Facebook based) support groups are ‘private – by invitation only’ peer-based groups, facilitated by the Bernie Banton Foundation’s ‘Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related Support Network Team’. The Foundation has eight online support groups, being Australian groups, they have an Australasian bias, and focus on issues and happenings pertinent to their Australasian members, however, unless otherwise stated, are open to people from around the world if they qualify for the group. Each online support group is specific, to allow for what journey a member is going through, and designed to recognise the differing wants and needs of the varying demographics of members. Read about the groups, what the specific groups are, and then how to register and join further down the page.
INTEGRITY and PRIVACY
All the MARS Australia Network online support groups are set up as ‘secret’ which means only members of the group can find the group, see who is in the group, and what is posted. In order to protect the integrity and privacy of the groups and their members, admission to the groups is by invitation only. A person will only be invited once they register with the foundation and establish their validity to be a member of the chosen group. Verifiable contact details are asked for, and required before an invite will be offered.
WHY JOIN MARS AUSTRALIA ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS?
The value of being able to chat and fellowship on Facebook to someone virtually 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether it be to someone in your own backyard or on the other side of the world; or when all those around you are sleeping, is immeasurable.
No two people will go through the same journey, but most will have, or are walking a similar path, chatting with others who have, or are walking a similar path can be extremely beneficial. Whilst every person will have a different need, want or reason for joining a support group site, it is hoped information will be gained, needs will be met, friendships will be made, and importantly support will be given and received – all in a secure environment.
In all groups, members are encouraged to come on and chat, ask questions, share experiences, and discuss feelings, issues and topics relevant to their specific group. If members have questions that cannot be answered from within the group, the MARS Team facilitator or admin of the group will do their best to obtain an answer from a reputable source.
We do ask that all group members be mindful of other members and what stage they are at in their journey, and also that, what is ‘commented’ in the group should stay in the group – the aim is to be able to fellowship in a secure environment.
TYPES OF MARS AUSTRALIA ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS
Mesothelioma related support groups are strictly for sufferers living the mesothelioma journey, their carers and immediate family members. *Please Note: A member is limited to joining the Mesothelioma Family Support Group and only one other of the specific mesothelioma related support groups.