The group was founded by Michelle Greenwood in 2016 after establishing a need for a local support group for those who suffer with or support those with Fibromyalgia, in the Rockingham/Kwinana/Baldivis – Mandurah area. Michelle was approached by Rockingham City Councillor Matt Whitfield asking if there was a need for a support group as he would like to help set one up. After a meeting with Matt the group was formed. Matt helped pay for the initial set up costs.
Within a short period of time what was meant to be a small local group increased to include other areas from Perth and Western Australia. Our aim is to go national by 2022 using the same format that we have here in WA.
In 2019 it was decided that the group needed to be more inclusive, as people saw the word “Fibro” and felt they couldn’t join us if they hadn’t been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia but had other co-conditions. A new name of Invisible Illnesses was put forward and voted on with a unanimous decision by our members.
From the time the group was founded most Committee Members are those who have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or other co-conditions. Because of the unpredictability of symptoms, we have tried to maintain a large Committee to minimise the workload on each Committee Member. All Committee Members work voluntarily and are rewarded by the fact that Invisible Illnesses Inc provides education, support, raising awareness and networking opportunities for several thousand people throughout Western Australia.
Over the last few years, we have implemented many ideas making us a unique support group. We have an off-shoot group called “Helping Hands” which assists those who are having problems at home with housework, gardening etc. Our volunteers can also help with cooking, transport and shopping.
December 2018 saw us acquire offices in Rockingham. You can visit us anytime at U3 4 Leach Crescent Rockingham. Our office hours are Monday – Friday 9am – 3pm.
2018 saw us, partner up with Act Belong Commit as part of our mental health support.
2020 saw us implement a number of new initiatives so that we can keep with the A-B-C practices. We will be working alongside a number of different businesses to help with our fitness group program offering our members different fitness classes such as Tai-Chi, Yoga, Chi Ball etc.
During 2020 we began our Wellbeing Services. This includes having beauticians, nail techs, massage therapists, hairdressers etc volunteer their services.
What’s happening in 2021/2022
We have planned most of our events for the 1st 6 months. Some of these include Quiz Night, Pub Crawl, Kids Disco, Karaoke night & more
We are going to take our Living with an Invisible Illness on the road into the rural areas. Our first one is booked for the 20th March in Albany.
2021 will see us bring back our educational days as well as our workshops. We have booked Vision Australia so far, with many more to come.
Our roaming lunches are going to become roaming dinners.
We will be working with the Rockingham Hospital Mental Health as their Step Out Program. We will once again be taking work placements from Sammy at The International Institute of Studies. As part of mental health we will be working with another organisation taking in our therapy dogs.
Michelle will continue networking & public speaking