After years of searching for reliable information and a network of fellow gout patients to share his experience, Gary Ho launched his own online support group with the help of his rheumatologist, Christopher Parker, DO. Now, the duo is further expanding their efforts.
Paying it Forward
Called the Gout Support Group of America, the group was founded to empower and support people living with the condition to take control of their disease. It became an official nonprofit organization this year.
“For me, it’s about paying it forward,” explained Ho. “I spent 16 years getting belittled by people – friends, family and even some health care providers – who didn’t understand my gout experience. What I really needed was someone to listen.”
Ho finally found that in Dr. Parker, who offered “a listening ear, a bit of sympathy and an inexpensive blood test.” That test confirmed that Ho had chronic gout. Together, the pair devised a plan to get Ho’s gout under control and today, at 53, he is “healthier than ever.”
Ho believes the same transformation is possible for others living with gout. And along with Dr. Parker, he is on a mission to change misconceptions and help patients retake control of their lives.
Connecting with Gout Patients Like Never Before
The Gout Support Group of America’s Facebook group boasts more than 13,000 members but establishing the nonprofit allows the organization to make an even greater impact.
“Our vision is to host programming that brings together patients and providers,” shared Dr. Parker. “We want to increase knowledge about effective gout management techniques. Patients shouldn’t have to needlessly suffer because of lack of awareness about available treatments.”
And the need has never been greater. More than 9 million Americans have gout, up from seven million just a decade ago. With the help of the Gout Support Group of America, more people living with gout can put aside shame and pain and embrace hope for a healthy future.
To learn more about the Gout Support Group of America, visit goutsupportgroup.org.