A letter to the Scleroderma Queensland community:
I'm a PhD student at the University of Southern Queensland working on a research project about the illness and support experiences of women with autoimmune diseases in the Toowoomba/Southern Downs regions.
I've just come across the Scleroderma Queensland Support Group while looking for support groups/organisations in the Toowoomba region. I thought I would send you a message in case any women in your group might be interested in participating.
I have Crohn's disease which is in remission at the moment; however when I was diagnosed a few years ago I found it difficult to find/access support, I found choice of specialists limited, and I had gynaecological complications which exacerbated those issues. These experiences and issues, as well as the fact that autoimmune diseases are so prevalent amongst women, have led me to developing this project. I'm hoping that the project will provide a foundation to then continue research into regional support systems for women, men, children, and the parents of children with autoimmune diseases in the future.
The specific purpose of this project is to understand the life stories, illness experiences and support experiences of women with autoimmune diseases in regional Queensland in order to identify how support systems can be developed or enhanced to better suit their needs. The key form of participation would involve a number of one-on-one, in-depth, life-story interviews conducted over the course of 6-12 months. There are also some additional, optional, forms of participation.
If you would like some more information, or would like to get in touch for any reason, please feel free to contact me on 0400 068 471, 4631 2218, or firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a participant information document available for anyone who would like some more detailed information about participation.
Thank you for your time,