Location: Melbourne, FL Pain warrior role: Dedicated caregivers for their daughter, U.S. Pain ambassador Melanie, who lives with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, and volunteers on behalf of the pain community since 2010. Fun fact: The Dickens family loves Disney.

Favorite tip: “For other parents:  1. Always trust your child and trust your gut. 2. Keep it light… lots of humor! Laughter is medicine!”

Many members of the U.S. Pain community know the incredible Melanie Dickens, the young woman behind the Crazy Sock Walk & Day fundraisers. But they may not know her equally amazing parents, Laurie and Shawn, who take an active role in advocating on behalf of Melanie and all people living with pain. Laurie and Shawn help Melanie coordinate the Crazy Sock events each year and are always ready to step up to help when U.S. Pain puts out a call-to-action.

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Herman leading a training session.

On Feb. 25 and 26, U.S. Pain Foundation and Pain Connection held “Training of Chronic Pain Support Group Leaders: A 21st Century Model for Chronic Pain” in Tucson, AZ. The training was led by U.S. Pain directors Gwenn Herman, Pain Connection clinical director, and Cindy Steinberg, U.S. Pain national director of policy and advocacy.

Seven trainees underwent the intensive course on how to lead a chronic pain support group. “The training was developed to take participants through a process of receiving a foundation of knowledge and incorporating the knowledge into practical applications,” said Herman. “Different modalities that lower pain levels were taught so leaders could learn, and then teach these modalities to their group members.”

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