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Colfax receives 'hero' recognition

Keys neuropathy support groups
By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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There’s a hero living in Colfax, yet you might not have heard of her unless you have neuropathy. Bev Anderson, president of the Northern California Chapter of The Neuropathy Association, recently received the “You Are Our Hero Award,” in recognition of her outstanding efforts to educate patients and bring public awareness of neuropathy. “Bev Anderson has the essence of a true leader, one who has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others,” said Dominick Spatafora, president of the Neuropathy Action Foundation, a national organization. Spatafora, also CEO of the Los Angeles Medical Foundation, presented Anderson with the award on June 26 at a Neuropathy Action Awareness Day at the University of San Francisco Mission Bay campus. The 72-year-old great-great grandmother of five taught elementary school for 34 years before deciding to start the first Auburn neuropathy support group in November 1998. Anderson held the first support group meeting at the now closed Bakers Square restaurant on Lincoln Way and 33 people came. “We only thought a few would come, but they asked when’s the next meeting,” said Anderson, who has a hereditary form of neuropathy. “We call it the most common disease you’ve never heard of, because you don’t see it.” And to look at Anderson, one would never guess that she has a disease that affects peripheral nerves, which can cause numbness and tingling in the feet with pain shooting up as high as your knees or higher. “Because of her boundless enthusiasm, I find it hard to keep up with her,” said Dick Ward, treasurer and one of seven directors on the board of the northern chapter. “She is always cheerful.” Approximately two million Californians suffer from peripheral neuropathy, according to data collected by the Neuropathy Action Foundation. “I’ve had neuropathy my entire life,” Anderson said. “I wanted to go into this to help others.” From a humble support group in Bakers Square, meetings sprung up in Grass Valley and Roseville, and then spread as far south as Monterrey and Yreka to the north. From one 1998 support group in Auburn, the chapter has grown to 500 members with 40 support groups, under the umbrella of The Northern California Chapter of The Neuropathy Association. Currently there are two neuropathy support groups meeting in Auburn, one meets on the first Monday of the month at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital and the other on first Mondays at the Woodside Village Mobile Home Park. Charlene Amos, treasurer for the support group at Woodside Village, is pleased with Anderson’s leadership. “She’s been the leader since I’ve been here,” Amos said. “She knows more about neuropathy than anybody. It’s been a pleasure to have her as a part of our group.” Doneva Kaserman has been attending the neuropathy support group at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital for the past two years. “When I found I had neuropathy, I went to the support group at the hospital and she’s very informative,” Kaserman said of Anderson. “She always has someone once a month come in and tell us how to take the pain away. She’s very conscientious and I don’t know if we could get anybody any better.” The Journal’s