A message from interim CEO Nicole Hemmenway.

Dear pain warriors,

As many of you know, 2018 was a challenging year for U.S. Pain Foundation. In spite of the obstacles, it was still a year full of progress and growth for the organization. I wanted to take a moment to look back over the last 12 months with you.

One of the things people with pain desperately need is to understand they are not alone and that there is always hope. With that in mind, we held two support group leader training weekends in Chicago and Phoenix this spring, and grew our support group network offerings nationally throughout the year.

People with pain deserve to be recognized for their bravery and strength; their stories must be shared. To that end, we published four INvisible Project magazines–the most we’ve done in any year so far–on medical cannabismigraineosteoarthritis and chronic low back pain, and pediatric painOur third annual Real Hope, Real Heroes Gala in June offered a special celebration of those featured in the migraine edition, with special guest actress, author and advocate, Karen Duffy.

Speaking up about our experiences with pain is key to increasing public awareness. Thanks to our amazing volunteers, we organized our most robust Pain Awareness Month to date and held successful campaigns for Migraine and Headache Awareness Month and KNOWvember. And, we helped sponsor two documentaries to raise awareness about chronic illness: Becoming Invisible and A Mile in Our Shoes.

It’s vitally important people with pain are informed about treatment options and feel empowered to take control of their health. Working toward this goal, we hosted two patient education days in Boston and Chicago, along with our first-ever weekend retreat in Disney for children with pain and their families. We also offered 12 educational webinars on topics ranging from suicide to meditation.

While most of our focus was on direct patient services, we understand the importance of advocating for people with pain at the state and national policy level. One of our proudest moments came in May, when two staff members were appointed to major federal committees on pain. At the state level, we took part in numerous coalitions and hosted two advocacy days to fight for improved access to care.

2018 also brought us two special honors: “End Pain, Not Lives” Champion of the Year Award from Americans for Safe Access and a grant to study the effects of massage on pain from the Massage Therapy Foundation.

Everything we accomplished is thanks entirely to our amazing community, especially our donors, volunteers, and staff. Words cannot express how grateful we are to you.

Here’s to an even better 2019.


Nicole Hemmenway
Interim CEO
U.S. Pain Foundation