Northampton charity that helps patients with invisible illnesses plea for funds on sixth anniversary

A charity founded in Northampton is asking for donations to help further fund hospital pain clinics, support groups and equipment to help treat and diagnose patients with chronic pain.

Tuesday, 9th October 2018, 5:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th October 2018, 4:08 am
Pictured Julia Kelly who passed away after setting up a charity to help others who were suffering from chronic, invisible pain.

A Way With Pain was co-founded six years ago by David Kelly of Great Doddington alongside his daughter Julia Kelly, who had a car accident in 2005, aged 29, and was left suffering in chronic pain until she passed away in 2014.

Julia devoted the final months of her life to the charity and by using her own experiences she set out to help people in similar circumstances and her legacy continues to this day, under her dad's leadership.

One of the charity's main aims is to try and raise awareness of how many people suffer in silence, and the impact on their mental health, which can result in suicide.

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The combination of pain, which never ended, and endless medication changed Julias life, her dad said.

Charity worker at A Way With Pain Lisa-Marie Ingram said: "Chronic pain has so much stigma surrounding it because it’s an invisible illness. The impact on mental health, the isolation people feel, because often there is nothing more that can be done for them, there is often no treatment.

"At this point many people feel they are dealt a life sentence, knowing that every day for the rest of their lives they are going to be in pain and feel they cannot lead a normal life. They cannot socialise as before and friends distance themselves, leading them further into isolation.

"People cannot find the support to help them cope. As well as this it is affecting their mental well being, it also affects their jobs, finances and social life, which also then leads back to mental health."

As well as trying to raise awareness the charity also supports pain clinics in hospitals and has donated a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine to help treat and diagnose patients at Northampton General Hospital, beyond what the NHS can fund.

Pictured l-r: co-founder David Kelly with his wife Val and charity worker Lisa-Marie.

David added that there should be aftercare for people who have been told they're not going to get better and that is what the charity hopes to fund in the future.

"It's not uncommon for patients to go to the pain clinic, or what have you, and to be told that they're not going to get better.

"There's a bedside manner and it's how the message is delivered and that's why the psychological approach is so important."

Over 10 million people in the UK alone suffer from a chronic pain condition and despite these statistics pain remains one of the most under-funded services within the NHS, he added.

"You've got this spiral of chronic pain, mental health and depression all rolling and intertwining together.

"There's a lot of recognition right now with depression and also mental illness but the other bit of the spiral, the chronic pain bit, is not recognised."

David and Lisa-Marie operate the charity together and between them have helped to fund training courses for the NHS, have set up an education programme at Lakeside Surgery in Corby for medics to better understand their patients rehabilitation needs and have funded a support group, Northampton Chronic Pain, which meets at Corn Market Hall in Kettering on the first Thursday of every month for like minded people suffering from invisible pain.