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Monday, September 20, 2021

Compassionate Friends will return for first in-person meetings since COVID-19

The Central Florida Chapter of The Compassionate Friends grief support group will hold its first in-person meeting on Thursday after being forced to hold meetings on Zoom due to COVID-19.

The return to in-person meeting for the grief support group will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9 in the fellowship hall at Trinity Lutheran Church in Summerfield. 

The grief support group, which meets the second Thursday of each month, helps families understand and manage their grief after losing a child, grandchild or adult sibling. There is no age limit for the lost child. Though the non-profit group meets at a church, it is not affiliated with any religion.

Cheryl Dungan
Cheryl Dungan

“We have all been to that first difficult meeting,” said the group’s leader, Cheryl Dungan.

Her world was “turned upside down” nearly 16 years ago when her 28-year-old son Ryan died after a motorcycle accident.

“I miss him every single day,” Dungan said.

In 2006, she got involved with The Compassionate Friends at the suggestion of a counselor.

“I first came to the meetings as a mom needing someone to talk to. I joined the steering committee in 2008 and became the Chapter Leader from  2013 through 2018. In August 2021, I was asked to return as Chapter Leader and accepted,” Dungan said.

The Compassionate Friends support group is in all 50 states and around the world. There are no membership fees and all you have to do is show up for the meeting.

“You can share if you choose or sit and listen to others share their stories. It’s up to you. It is a safe area where we can share our feelings and emotions,” she said.

Every year on the second Sunday of December, there is a Worldwide Candle Lighting “for all of our children that have left us too soon,” she added. This year’s candle lighting will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in Summerfield.

If you have any questions about The Compassionate Friends, call Dungan at (352) 347-1942 or (352) 603-1315.

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