The panel.

On July 10, U.S. Pain Foundation took its INvisible Project: Migraine Edition displays to Sacramento, CA, for an educational event at the state capitol building. The INvisible Project is a print magazine and traveling display that highlights the stories of real pain warriors. By bringing these stories to state capitols, the hope is to educate lawmakers about the challenges of living with chronic pain. Prior to California, the tour visited Providence, RI; more locations will be announced soon.

The July 10 event began with a morning educational briefing, which included a brief welcome from Pajau Vangay, a Science and Technology Fellow with the Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, chaired by Assembly member Dr. Bill Quirk, legislative sponsor for the event.

“One of the important things about my job as a fellow this year is I get to meet with constituents or various people who are coming to the capitol like yourselves,” Vangay explained, while addressing the room of attendees. “It’s just so great to hear personal stories of what your struggles are and what your needs are because that informs us in terms of how we make recommendations for our legislators to vote and what direction they should go in.”

Vangay’s welcome was followed by a PowerPoint presentation by U.S. Pain’s Director of State Advocacy and Alliance Development, Shaina Smith. The slides offered attendees the chance to take an in-depth look at migraine disease; how the illness is a genetic, neurological condition that’s unpredictable, provokes over 40 symptoms, and is often misdiagnosed. The financial, socioeconomic impact within this unique patient population was also discussed, noting that migraine disease is the third most prevalent illness worldwide. Treatment options were highlighted to expand on how individualized a person’s treatment plan can be.

Jenn Heater.

The morning event concluded with an intimate panel discussion about migraine disease. Jenn Heater, Resources and Advocacy Editor for MyChronicBrain.com and volunteer for U.S. Pain, participated with her caregiver and mother, Gale Eisner Heater, MFT, as well as Michaela O’Connor, U.S Pain’s Director of Learn About Your Pain. All three live with migraine and shared their personal journey with the disease.

“I thought it was really helpful,” attendee Cessa Marshall said, noting she appreciated the different stories and treatments that were shared by the panelists. “That’s the thing with migraine–everybody’s story is totally unique, it seems. So what works for me might not work for you. I’m always interested in finding out what’s working for other people because I haven’t found that magic yet.”

Marshall also serves as a U.S. Pain Foundation support group leader.

To view the latest issue of the INvisible Project: Migraine Edition, click here. Special thanks to Jenn Heater for helping coordinate the event, as well as to Amgen and Novartis, for graciously sponsoring the state house tour.