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UNSUNG HEROES: JANETTE BAIR AND PAT AUSTON[Part_2]

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/unsunghero_3135.mp3

7:30 AM: Janette Bair has hosted house concert style performances in her Reeds Spring Homes for over 20 years. She is a hero to music lovers across the country. Mike Smith has her story.

4:30 PM: Pat Auston is the support group coordinator at St. Johns. She facilitates 12 support groups, and has made a difference in many people's lives. Michele Skalicky has her story.

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Pat Auston felt a calling to do what she does today. She's the support group coordinator at St. John's Health System and facilitates 12 support groups.

Auston has worked at St. John's for 20 years. The first 15 of those, she worked in the rehabilitation unit and eventually moved into management there. She wanted to start a start a spinal cord injury support group, but there weren't enough hours in her day to do that.

She wrote a proposal and in the meantime moved to the neuro unit. Her idea was approved. At first she oversaw the support group program 2 days a week, but eventually she received full time hours for it.

The program began with one support group in 2001. Today, there are 12 active support groups as well as an all-day caregiving class the last Friday of each month.

Auston has been a nurse for 30 years—and she noticed that insurance reimbursements were making hospital stays shorter and shorter. People receiving life-changing diagnoses or who had suffered injuries weren't given enough time to deal with those changes.

Those who face seeming insurmountable obstacles in their lives often are overwhelmed and let those obstacles bring them down. But not Auston. She saw the negative things in her life as a sign of what she should be doing.

According to Pat Auston, support groups are a great way for people dealing with same situations to network with one another. And she says that can greatly benefit people.

Skip Goebel, who nominated Auston for KSMU's Unsung Heroes series, is in Auston's brain tumor support group. He says she tirelessly provides often the only means or reason for literally hundreds of people to not give up and die.

Auston says she hopes she's able to make a difference in people's lives.

Auston is grateful for the six volunteers who help her out in many ways. She's working on building a spinal cord and MS ambassador program. There's already a stroke ambassador program, where people with those conditions visit newly diagnosed patients and share information with them.

Auston says the one thing she could do to make the biggest difference is to somehow change people's mindsets about what a support group is.

To find out more about support groups at St. John's, go to stjohns.com.

This program is available on the web at ksmu.org. For KSMU, I'm Michele Skalicky.