When one is sick . . . two need help!
The Well Spouse® Association is a national, 501 (c)(3) not for profit organization founded in 1988 by author and spousal caregiver, Maggie Strong, whose husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). With much encouragement, she wrote a book, Mainstay: For the Well Spouse of the Chronically Ill. Maggie understood that to simply write a book was not enough. Where would those well spouses turn to after they read her book? So, she placed these words in the back pages of Mainstay, "National Well Spouse . . . We don't exist, but why not? If you are interested . . . send a postcard to . . .".
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Maggie began a book tour and appeared on national TV programs, bringing attention to the plight of the spousal caregiver. While on tour, she met several well spouses who were interested in organizing local chapters of "National Well Spouses". In the fall of 1988, ten of those local chapter organizers and more "well spouses" met face-to-face in Pendle Hill, PA for the very first Well Spouse conference. Overwhelmed with the support and sense of relief they felt when meeting others who understood, they decided to form a grass roots, not for profit organization. They knew it would not be easy, as none of them had the energy, experience or time to do this work. But, they were committed to reach out to as many other well spouses as they could. Well Spouse was incorporated as the Well Spouse Foundation in 1989. In 2005, the Board of Directors voted to officially change the name to the Well Spouse® Association to more accurately reflect who we are and what we do.
Today, the Well Spouse mission remains to provide emotional peer-to-peer support to the wives, husbands, and partners of the chronically ill and/or disabled. We offer this support through our various programs and events. Our members can share their thoughts and feelings openly with others facing similar circumstances in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. In addition, they share information on a wide range of practical issues facing spousal caregivers. WSA works to make health care professionals and the general public aware of the great difficulties caregivers face every day.
Membership fees, individual donations, foundation and corporate grants, bequests, endowments and commemorative gifts support our organization.
Thank you, Maggie, for your powerful words that have reached thousands of us, enabling us to reach out to each other in the true spirit of "You are not alone."
Disclaimer: While the Well Spouse® Association (WSA) wishes to be as helpful as possible, we are not a social service agency and do not represent ourselves as professional providers of advice, counseling or referrals. We are solely a peer led, mutual aid, self-help support organization. Any statements made by members of WSA are the statements of lay people and peers, of struggling spousal caregivers who have affiliated in their common need to feel connected, consoled and encouraged; any statements made by WSA members are merely personal expressions and opinions and are not intended to direct, instruct or guide anyone who contacts WSA.