In the spring of 1998, Bev Anderson was on the Auburn Interfaith Food Closet Board. She was Secretary and Barbara Whitney was President of the Board. Placer County approached them and asked them to determine the feasibility of moving the food closet to a new location at DeWitt Center. Barbara brought along her husband, Grant, a retired architect who expertly drew out both spaces demonstrating that the move was possible.
When Bev got out of the car, she used her cane because the grass around the intended site had not been mowed and the ground looked uneven. She said, “I use a cane because I have peripheral neuropathy.” Grant responded, “I have peripheral neuropathy, too. Have you joined The Neuropathy Association?”
Bev said she hadn't heard of it before. That night, she joined online and sent in the requested dues. She received the newsletter listing support groups, but there were none near Auburn. So she asked Grant if he would be interested in helping form a support group in Auburn if they could garner enough interest from others. They secured the meeting room at Bakers Square Restaurant for the first Monday of the month; with their first meeting planned for November. A mailing was sent to current members by The Neuropathy Association, and an article submitted to the Auburn Journal. On the day of the meeting, the Auburn Journal put the notice at the top of the FYI column on the front page.
Bev and Grant expected a half-dozen or so and made 12 copies of some handouts. They were pleased to welcome 33 people. Bev started the meeting while Grant sped to Kinko's to make more copies of the handouts. At the end of the meeting, those there said “We are meeting next month, aren't we?” This group has met nearly every month since.
The publicity reached an area as far away as Sacramento. A gentleman there told Bev by phone that it was too far to come to Auburn so they would start a group there. He conducted the first meeting in the evening at Kaiser on Morse Avenue in December 1998.
By the end of 1999, Carolyn Clarke of the Auburn Group had started a group in Grass Valley, so the group changed its name from Central Placer Neuropathy Association to The Neuropathy Association of Placer and Nevada Counties. The Roseville Neuropathy Group started in January, 2000. The Neuropathy Association asked that the group consider incorporating so they could run their own business within California and be tax exempt as well. Incorporation came on May 18, 2001, and with it the name change to The Northern California Chapter of The Neuropathy Association.
One by one, the other groups on the list were started except for Walnut Creek. This group had been started previously by Ginny and Bob Olson. The group voted to join PCNA/NCCNA and were welcomed.
The first Board of Directors Meeting was held on Thursday, May 31, 2001. Those elected at this meeting as the first Board of Directors were Bev Anderson (President), Mary Lou Baum (Director), Carolyn Clarke (Secretary), Yvonne Huber (Treasurer), and Grant Whitney (Vice President). Joe Nicosia was active in the planning stages prior to incorporation. Please see our board page for information on our current board.
WNA/PCNA/NCCNA’s first Neuropathy Conference was held June 27-28, 2003, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento. The second Neuropathy Conference was June 25, 2005, at the Elks Lodge in Sacramento. The First Group Leaders Gathering was September 28, 2004. On June 29, 2004, the Board approved an agreement with CAC Professional Services to receive incoming funds, to bank and account for these funds, and to receive the bank statement listing disbursements from the Treasurer to produce quarterly financial reports.
Recent Accomplishments. In the last couple years, the WNA/PCNA/NCCNA has secured a website; increased its newsletter publication from quarterly to monthly; sent board members to governance, grantwriting, and fundraising training; partnered with other organizations; held a member-driven strategic planning session; redesigned and revised its membership brochure; developed a corporate sponsorship program; started a program to distribute informative neuropathy publications to medical residents specializing in neuropathy; held spring and fall leadership meetings, and partnered with a professional association management company for administrative services.
Get Involved! Bev Anderson continues to be actively involved in starting groups with her successful procedures. If you are interested in forming a new group or working with the leadership for an established group, or working on a WNA project, contact her at 1-877-6298 or email@example.com.