The CMT Association Australia Inc. (CMTAA) began as a Support Group in 1988, and was incorporated in 1990 as a registered charity. The motivation to establish the CMTAA Inc was to meet the need for people with CMT to communicate with each other and provide mutual encouragement. Over the years we have slowly “evolved” and are now moving forward at an unprecedented pace.
It is vital that people with CMT focus upon what they CAN do.
To assist in this area, we aim to enhance the quality of life for people with CMT. Our objectives are to:
- Provide opportunities for our members to speak with other “CMT Family” members through contacting our National Office and through our Facebook page
- Actively promote and encourage local and regional support groups
- Provide an informative and credible website with member access to seminar videos
- Keep members informed through regular newsletters
- Provide informative and interactive seminars
- Link youth with CMT through supervised annual camps and social media
- Distribute information to benefit the quality of life of people with CMT and their families
- Promote CMT awareness to medical and allied professionals
- Promote CMT awareness to all levels of Government
- Promote the development of facilities and services for people with CMT
- Provide simple online membership and donation opportunities
- Actively encourage and support CMT research
The National Committee comprises people who have personal experience of CMT, either as an individual or family member. Committee meetings are held regularly and with teleconferencing technology, the tyranny of distance is overcome. This opens up opportunities for financial members of the CMTAA Inc, who believe they have the skills and passion to contribute to the growth and development of the CMTAA Inc, to join our management team.
Our enthusiastic team of volunteers are at our Sydney based National Office on Tuesdays and Fridays to take your calls and respond to your emails.
The CMTAA National Committee
President - Vacant
Vice President - Rebecca Poyner
Hi there! My name is Bec and I am from a smallish rural town about four hours from Melbourne. I am the current Vice President of the CMTAA. CMT is something I have lived with since birth, my mother has CMT (as did her father and many more further down the ancestry line) and she passed the gene along to myself and one of my three sisters.
My life is considerably busy! My most important role, being mother to both my children Chase (aged 5) and Hope (aged 3) and wife to an amazing husband of six years, Matt. I have an extremely supportive immediate and extended family network that enables me to live out any dreams and aspirations, for this I am extremely grateful!
I also work part-time within the sales industry and am currently studying a Diploma of Counselling, which with time and hard work I will be pursuing a Masters is Psychology. I enjoy both study and work, however study (particularly Psychology) is what I am most interested in.
I live with a “onwards and upwards” philosophy. Life is far too short to be dwelling on any short comings, so this little phrase I use quite often to get myself over the line, especially when CMT is being particularly cruel! I also find humour plays a large role in combatting the perils of CMT life.
I am looking forward to the challenging role as Vice President. I believe education and awareness outside the CMT community will be pivotal in providing support and understanding to those with CMT. I feel extremely humbled to be an advocate for such a great cause and cannot wait to get started!
Secretary - Anycie Berkmann
Hi fellow CMT members! My name is Anycie Berkmann and my current position on the CMTAA committee is that of Secretary as well as being a volunteer worker in our national office. I do not have CMT but my niece has, hence my connection with the Association.
Working with CMTAA has been very rewarding and interesting and I have met and spoken to many people with CMT and their families. You do find that you learn a lot about people and the way they have coped and not only, in many cases dealt with their problems, but those of their children and even their grandchildren. I think this is why CMT is so unique.
My family and grandchildren keep me busy but I do enjoy my time out from house duties to work with the Association.
Treasurer - Robert Twin
I volunteered for the position of Treasurer at the AGM in 2009 and have fulfilled this role, along with contributing to other matters managed by your Committee, ever since.
My professional background is that of a land surveyor and mapper, including geographic information system management, and through my own company I continue to work in this area on a part-time basis. I enjoy an active lifestyle which includes travel, skiing, kayaking, tennis, cycling etc.
My CMTAA role provides me with the opportunity to contribute for the benefit of the broad CMT community. Our family has lived with CMT Type2 for a number of generations and it is very pleasing to see the rapid expansion of knowledge about the disease progress through our dedicated researchers.
Committee Member - Jillian Critchley
Hi, I'm Jillian or as my younger teenage daughter describes me...the black sheep of the family being the only one not with CMT in our house. My husband Peter and both daughters Matilda and Eleanor have CMT 1a and we have been involved with the CMTAA for many years. One of my passions is the CMT Aussie Kids Weekend, a camp Peter and I established in 2012 just for young people with CMT. To see the changes in some of the kids after they attend the camp is amazing, and soooo satisfying. They start off shy, insecure, unsure of their abilities, and leave the camp confident and optimistic, that even though some days with CMT can get you down, there is always tomorrow and it can be a better day if you want it to be. (Especially if you have like minded friends by your side...or at least on Skype or social media)
I can't personally experience the many frustrations CMT brings every day, but I can get involved to help people dealing with these frustrations.
In another life I am an early childhood teacher and run my own business as a Family Day Care Educator, working from home with 4 children under the age of 5 years. My musical side leads me to be involved in a choral society and the Kirrawee Gang Show, a scout and guide stage show. Of course I do try to have some quality family time in amongst everything else.
Committee Member - Antonia Karydis-Frisan
CMTAA Legal Advisor and mother to a young adult living with CMT. For 15 years, a lived experience has driven Antonia to seek out ways in which to achieve a fair go for all. Her advocacy, negotiation and mediation skills are directed to providing a voice and empowering vulnerable individuals to articulate their rights. Antonia is passionate and committed to bringing about choices for a better quality of life for those living with CMT.
Antonia believes one of the answers is to provide information, opportunities and connections across the South Australian community and beyond if the case necessitates. It is with this determination and drive that Antonia leads the SA CMT Team and has dedicated her time to CMTAA for the past seven years.
Committee Member - Marilyn Kremmer
My name is Marilyn Kremmer, mother of 2 and Nanna of 7. I come from a family of “CMTers” with my Mother, Grandfather, Uncle all having CMT 1b. In the last 12 months my daughter and 3 nieces have also been diagnosed. My twin sister and another sister also have this condition.
Frustrated by the lack of knowledge of Doctors I rang the CMTAA Office in Concord in 2004 and spoke to Marg Dawes asking for information. She asked if I would like to be the Tasmanian Co-ordinator for the CMTAA. I visited the office in Concord and had a lovely morning with Marg and Phyllis Critchley. I then put an advertisement in the local paper as well as some Doctors Surgeries. I had 5 replies and we had our first get-together in 2005.
Since then I have had 3 Awareness Days with guest speakers including Grace Warren, Josh Burns, Monique Ryan, Eppie Yui and Tasmanian Physiotherapists and Podiatrists. The last one I had 2 years ago, we had to turn folk away as we had reached the capacity of 50 at our Venue! Our Support Group has now grown to 41 families.
We continue to have social get-togethers which have proved invaluable. We have also participated in Scott Denton’s Focus Groups and the Medication Focus Groups from Canberra University. I could not have done any of this without the support of the wonderful staff at CMTAA National Office!