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City & state: Ashland, OR

Age: 52 years old

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2017

Health conditions: Complex regional pain syndrome and early-onset degenerative disc disease

Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “Check your expectations. Think in moments versus days or hours (“This is a tough moment” versus: “This is a hard day”). Be empowered by choice, even in the bleakest most painful moments…choose how you are going to respond.”

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Name: LaSheila Yates

Location: Cedar Rapids, IA

Age: 38

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2019

Health conditions: ulcerative colitis, pelvic floor dysfunction, neuropathic pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), pouchitis, cuffitis, and uveitis

Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Be kind to yourself and own your narrative. I’d spent years being angry at my body for failing me at such a young age. I had ambitions, career goals, and felt like it was taken way from me, bit by bit. I still have my rough days, but I give myself grace when times are rough. The mantras I’ve now adopted are ‘I’m owning my story and I’m owning my narrative.’ Both are sweet reminders that everything I’ve endured are part of my life’s journey. I’m Owning It!”

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Heater at the California State Capitol Tour in Sacramento, CA.

City & state: Fremont, California

Age: 41

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2018

What type of health conditions you live with: Chronic migraine disease, adrenal insufficiency, hypothyroidism, growth hormone deficiency (caused Cushing’s disease), trigeminal neuralgia, IBS, and IBD.

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “I cope by advocating. Talking about my experiences and connecting with others that have just begun navigating some of the hurdles I’ve overcome helps me feel like I’m giving back.”

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Hometown: Oceanport, NJ

Age: 61 years old

Pain warrior role: Pain advocate since 2018

What type of health conditions do you live with? Daily chronic migraines and chronic neck pain.

Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Calm down. And I mean that literally. I spent years trying to be the person ‘I used to be’ before chronic migraines. I would barrel through the day on pain medications and sacrifice my body in the process. I wasn’t until I was diagnosed with severe inflammation in my brain that I started to understand the consequences of not calming your nervous system. Essential oils such as lavender and frankincense, soothing music, and relaxation techniques really helped me to heal my chronic pain. Self-care is definitely not selfish!”

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City & State: Albany, CA

Age: 45

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2018

What type of health conditions you live with: chronic migraine disease, IBS, anxiety

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Be proactive. Being proactive about my treatment has given me back a sense of control. It has been helpful for me to learn about my conditions and to find ways that my actions and thinking can influence their severity. Chronic pain is not something that I have been able to deal with on my own. I’ve had to reach out and get support from my family and friends, therapists, healthcare providers, and an understanding community of other people with chronic pain conditions. I’ve had to learn new skills, develop new relationships, and embrace healthy habits in order to live each day with as little pain and as much joy as possible.”

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City & state: Saco, ME

Age: 55

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2014

What type of health conditions you live with: Chronic back pain, narcolepsy, migraines

Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: Each person living with a chronic condition has a hidden talent; find it, and you can build your self-worth back and become part of your community again. Our new families are the people that support us on good days and bad.

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U.S. Pain Foundation is pleased to announce its 2018 Joselynn Badmann Ambassador of the Year is Dawn Stancliff. Stancliff has been an ambassador and advocate for the U.S. Pain Foundation since 2014 and has lived with chronic pain her entire adult life. In 2018 alone, Stancliff connected with thousands of patients through events she hosted and attended as a U.S. Pain ambassador and advocate.

“This year has been the most rewarding year yet for me with the US Pain Foundation,” says Stancliff. “I feel that everything I speak about to pain patients align with U.S. Pain, as my core values align with those of U.S. Pain. The mission of the U.S. Pain Foundation is truly my life’s mission.”

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Full name: Nancy Harris Bonk

City & state: Buffalo, NY

Age: 56

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2014

Type of health conditions: Migraine disease, intracranial hypertension, fibromyalgia to name a few!

Favorite tip for others with chronic pain:  Living with migraine, a neurological brain disease, can be overwhelming and frustrating but, accepting our diagnosis is important and doing so enables us to become educated and empowered patients!

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Location: North Royalton, OH

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain ambassador since 2013

Pain conditions: Full body reflex sympathetic dystrophy, migraine, trigeminal neuralgia, fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, dystonia, gastroparesis, diabetes, narcolepsy, myoclonic jerks, deep vein thombosis, and neurovascular dystrophy.

Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “I start off my support group with some advice to our newbies. I tell them and remind ourselves that we need to grieve for the old you. Most of us, especially those with debilitating injury or illness, those of us whose lives changed dramatically find it very difficult to accept these changes. To ask for help. To NEED help daily and to those who are extremely independent. LET IT GO! The quicker you do, you will have enough energy to find the NEW and IMPROVED YOU!”

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City & state: Allentown, PA

Age: 42 years old

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2017

What type of health conditions you live with: Fibromyalgia, Tourette’s syndrome, small fiber neuropathy, migraine disease, trigeminal neuralgia, occipital neuralgia, chronic back pain, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “I want everyone to know that neither you or your diagnoses are invisible. There are people out there who understand what you are going through. If you are still undiagnosed, I urge you to not give up. There is a ton of information and resources out there that can help you and the doctors you are working with to assist you get answers.”

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