capitolPatients who live with headache and migraine have two key opportunities to raise awareness and advocate for themselves in the near future, first with Headache on the Hill on Feb. 13 and 14, and then with Migraine Awareness Month in June. While June may seem far off, those who are interested in participating by obtaining a Migraine Awareness Month Proclamation in their state or town should take action now; steps are listed below.

Headache on the Hill

The Headache on the Hill event, celebrating its 10th year, is sponsored by the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA). This year more than 115 patients and headache specialists will gather on Capitol Hill to voice their concerns.

“I have chronic migraine disease, meaning that I experience 15 or more migraine days a month,” says Katie Golden, a U.S. Pain ambassador from California.  “I will be attending Headache on the Hill for the third time to have my voice heard on the importance of funding and research for the 36 million Americans who have some form of migraine.”

Participants in Headache on the Hill signed up to attend through an application process in November. If you are not attending, you can still take action from the comfort of your home by finding your congressional delegates in the ADHA’s legislative action center and contacting them about your concerns; downloading a flier and distributing it to friends, family, or other members of your community; or spreading the word about the ADHA through Facebook and Twitter.

Migraine Awareness Month

If you’d like to get involved with U.S. Pain’s recognition of Migraine Awareness Month in June, please consider beginning the process now to obtain a proclamation in your state or town. Some government offices require several months of advanced notice. Here are the steps to take:

  1. In order to be considered as the State Migraine Awareness Month Leader for your region, you must first email Shaina Smith, director of state advocacy & alliance development, with the subject line “Migraine Awareness Month,” no later than March 31.
  2. If no one else has signed up prior to your request, you will be sent the official proclamation template to present to your governor. If someone else has already signed up in your state, you will be encouraged to submit the request to your town/city government officials. Remember, the more exposure the proclamations receive at the local and state levels, the better!
  3. The template can then be emailed to your governor’s office through your state website. Contact requirements for towns and cities vary based on the municipality and its website capabilities. If a proclamation request email is not available, you may call your town leader’s office (mayor, first selectman, town council chair, etc.) or stop by his or her office and ask how to submit a proclamation for consideration. Smith can provide support throughout the submission process.
  4. Once your state, city, or town has approved the request, you must again email Smith with the news and then email her a photo of the proclamation itself as soon as it is received. This is an essential part of the process that is necessary to highlight your accomplishment for the pain community on social media, websites, and at events.

By submitting the proclamation request to your state governor’s office and/or town officials, you are supporting the millions of Americans affected by migraine. We encourage you to get started today! If you have any questions, please contact Smith.

CA Pain Ambassador Katie Golden contributed to this story.