Penni Pace Mix holding the Pain Awareness Month proclamation from the state of Oklahoma.
Penni holding the Pain Awareness Month proclamation from the state of Oklahoma.

Meet U.S. Pain Foundation’s Pain Warrior of the Month for October—Penni Pace Mix!

Penni has been a volunteer with U.S. Pain since March 2020. Throughout Pain Awareness Month this September, Penni took extraordinary steps to help raise awareness for people with chronic pain in her area. 

State: Oklahoma

Pain Warrior Role: I help Volunteer Pain Connection Topic Coordinator, Mary Beth Lewis, find resources for the Pain Connection monthly themes. I order U.S. Pain Foundation materials and INvisible Project magazines to distribute in my community and give to my doctors. 

Can you tell us about your efforts to raise awareness during Pain Awareness Month?

For Pain Awareness Month, I requested both a State of Oklahoma and City of Norman proclamation, spoke at the Norman City Council meeting, asked the City of Oklahoma City to light up the Skydance Bridge in blue (pictured below), partnered with the Pioneer Library System to highlight on social media some of my favorite chronic pain/illness resources from our collection, taught “Talking with Your Doctor” to a pain support group in California, spoke to medical students at the University of Colorado and answered their questions about chronic pain. 

The Skydance Bridge in Oklahoma City lit up blue for Pain Awareness Month.
The Skydance Bridge in Oklahoma City lit up blue for Pain Awareness Month.

For those looking at your education and awareness activities who are interested in doing the same but are unsure how to get started, what would you tell them?

Think about your formal and informal education, career/job experience, gifts, and remaining abilities. Then, look at the ways to volunteer. Next, sign up to become a volunteer and begin giving to others. 

Do you have a fun fact about you you’d like to share with the community? 

I volunteer to teach a National Institutes of Health (NIH) presentation, “Talking with Your Doctor: Taking an Active Role in Your Health Care” to organizations and support groups.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know? 

I cope with chronic pain, fatigue, and illness by practicing mindfulness, gratitude, loving-kindness meditation, minimalism, gentle movement, and walking in nature. I love to read and recommend the following resources:  

  • Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief by Jon Kabat-Zinn  
  • You Are Not Your Pain by Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman 
  • Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver
  • Room to Breathe by Sharon Salzberg 
  • More Beautiful Than Before: How Suffering Transforms Us by Steve Leder 

I’d also like to share one of my favorite quotes:

“When you are visited by pain, let that pain bring new perspective and new priorities, new respect and more time for your body and your soul. Survive, heal, and grow when your heart or body aches. What was beautiful when whole is beautiful when broken too. The soaring bird amazes, but the wounded sparrow evokes an intimate, deeper, more resonant tone within our souls. Make music with what remains of your suffering. Dance and sing to a melody gentler, wiser, and more beautiful than before.”  – Steve Leder