The U.S. Pain Foundation is pleased to announce its newest member of the Board of Directors: Shawn Dickens.

Dickens, a resident of Florida, is a Senior Program Manager at Leonardo DRS, specializing in government defense programs. He is a graduate of Worcester State College with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and holds an MBA from the University of Miami.

Shawn has been a staunch advocate for people with chronic illness for nearly a decade. His daughter, Melanie, lives with severe chronic pain stemming from multiple diagnoses, including complex regional pain syndrome and mitochondrial disease. When she was first diagnosed in 2010, at the age of 10, they searched desperately for answers.

“One of the first tools that we found was Nicole Hemmenway’s book ‘No, It Is Not In My Head: The Journey of a Chronic Pain Survivor from Wheelchair to Marathon,’” says Dickens. “My wife, Laurie, reached out to Nicole and learned about the U.S. Pain Foundation. Since that time, our family has advocated for awareness.”

Shawn, Laurie, and Melanie have been featured in two editions of the INvisible Project — in 2015 and in the first Kids and Families project. They have attended multiple Advocacy Summits and are integral parts of the Pediatric Pain Warrior retreats. Most recently, Melanie has been involved in helping develop the curriculum for the retreats.

Spearheaded by Melanie, the Dickens family also holds an annual awareness event and fundraiser, the Crazy Sock Walk, splitting the proceeds between U.S. Pain and the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Association.

“When I was approached to serve on the Board of Directors, I immediately saw this as a way that I can contribute,” says Dickens. “I have seen the struggles that people suffering from chronic pain encounter on a daily basis and, through U.S. Pain retreats, have also seen the gratitude in other parent’s eyes when they find out that they are not alone. To me, there is no better way that I can help others than to lend my expertise to the Board.  US Pain makes a real difference in people’s lives.  I am very excited for the future of U.S. Pain Foundation and thrilled to be a part of that future.”

“Shawn is an incredible addition to our Board of Directors,” says Nicole Hemmenway, Interim CEO and Chair of the Board. “You would be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated advocate for the pain community. We are thrilled and thankful to have his expertise. We look forward to working with him as we continue to grow.”