In honor of beloved ambassador and support group leader, Sue Ann Stelfox, who passed away on June 30 after a long battle with cancer, U.S. Pain Foundation is establishing the Sue Ann Stelfox Pain Connection Training Scholarship. The scholarship will cover up to $500 in travel costs associated with attending U.S. Pain’s Pain Connection training weekends for chronic pain support group leaders.
“Sue Ann was an incredible advocate for people with pain and, quite simply, a wonderful person,” says Nicole Hemmenway, U.S. Pain CEO. “We were heartbroken at the news of her illness and passing. I can think of no better way to honor her passion for helping others than through this scholarship, which gives people with pain the training and tools they need to establish support groups in their area.”
About Sue Ann
Sue Ann, who lived with chronic migraine disease and neck pain, joined the U.S. Pain Foundation as a volunteer in 2018 and quickly became an integral part of the organization, distributing materials, assisting with information tables, and more.
A board-certified health coach, Sue Ann had long dedicated herself to helping others with chronic pain. (Her chronic pain program is available for free here.) As part of that work, and soon after joining the organization, she aimed to start a U.S. Pain support group in her hometown of Oceanport, NJ.
She was accepted to attend the organization’s Pain Connection support group training program, which was held in San Francisco, CA, in March 2019. There, she was instantly admired by her fellow leaders for her positivity, kindness, and deep knowledge of the skills needed to cope with chronic pain.
Later that year, the same training was held in Newark, NJ, for a new set of leaders. Sue Ann was so excited that this training was near her hometown, she decided to attend again. This time, she was a speaker, presenting to trainees about aromatherapy.
In the fall of last year, Sue Ann also took part in U.S. Pain’s Advocacy Summit in Dallas, TX. Once more, she made a lasting impression on her fellow advocates as a powerful and positive force for the pain community.
About the scholarship
A program of U.S. Pain, Pain Connection is a national network of support groups led by Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW. All chronic pain support group leaders attend a comprehensive, weekend-long training run by Herman, a licensed social worker, book author, and long-time patient advocate. Trainings are usually held one to two times a year (though they are currently on hold due to COVID-19).
U.S. Pain typically covers a portion of travel costs for some attendees who live with chronic pain and are signed up as volunteers with the organization. Going forward, this funding will be known as the Sue Ann Stelfox Pain Connection Training Scholarship, and will provide up to $500 in reimbursement toward airfare, taxi fare, meals, and other costs associated with attending the training.
“Our two-day support group training is open to people with chronic pain, significant others and/or health care professionals, that want to learn how to lead a successful support group that provides education, resources, support and compassion,” says Herman. “Sue Ann had all those characteristics and more. Despite her medical conditions, she was a true pain warrior helping others. There is no better way to honor Sue Ann than to enable other pain warriors to follow in her footsteps under the Sue Ann Stelfox Pain Connection Training Scholarship.”
Sue Ann is survived by her husband, Richard Plock, and son, Mason Stelfox. She often spoke of how supportive and loving they were to her.
To learn more about U.S. Pain’s support groups, visit the Pain Connection website.