City & state: Warwick, Rhode Island
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since year 2012
What type of health conditions you live with: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Chiari malformation, tethered cord syndrome, and arthritis
Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Get up and get out! Whatever it takes for me to get out of the house, wheelchair, walker, cane, or bracing, I know I do better when I stay active, even if ‘active’ means I’m encased in blankets in my wheelchair, at least I am out living life.”
City & State: Petaluma, California
Age: 36 years old
Pain Warrior Role: Volunteer since 2016, ambassador since 2017
Condition: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Stay connected! Living with chronic pain has a profound impact on one’s life and can be completely isolating. It’s imperative to cultivate relationships with others who can relate to the unique experience of living with pain. Connecting online with the chronic pain community, attending face-to face support groups, and volunteer or advocacy work are great ways to link up with others who understand what you’re going through — first hand. Guidance from the chronic pain community can also help provide the support needed to not only live, but also thrive while living with pain. You’re not alone!”
- Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
- Age: 30
- Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since 2012
- Pain conditions: Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “Eat/drink more fruits and vegetables/herbs! Surround yourself with loved ones who encourage and empower you. Hot springs and aqua therapy help minimize pain and depression.”
- Fun fact about you: “I love SCIENCE!”
Humble and reserved, Tim Addo is an individual who rather work behind the scenes. Yet for the past few years, he has been an avid supporter of U.S. Pain Foundation, and a huge contributor to the organization’s Pain Awareness Month campaigns. In 2017, he was instrumental in facilitating the approval of lighting the iconic Vegas sign blue in honor of those living with chronic pain. He also continues to advocate for issues he feels strongly for within the medical community, most notably legalizing medical cannabis. We are thankful for the dedication Tim displays daily to help the pain community, and that is why he is being recognized as Pain Warrior of the Month.
City & State: Meriden, CT
Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain Senior State Advocate
Conditions: Parkinson’s disease, unknown neuromuscular disorder, bilateral restrictive lung disease, effects of stroke, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, asthma, primary immune deficiency, and vestibular dysfunction.
Favorite Tip: “Just because you have chronic pain doesn’t mean you have to be defined by it. Remember everyone has their own story, so never feel that anyone is more deserving of care that you. Your story belongs to you, you get to decide how you face each new day. Speak up for yourself. Finding something to distract yourself from the pain and anxiety of daily life is extremely helpful, adapt it to your needs; for example, I can no longer hold a book, so I use an e-reader to read!”
Ages: 4-17 years old
Location: All over the country
Pain warrior role: Third Annual Pediatric Pain Camp attendees
Pain conditions: Attendees have a wide range of conditions that cause chronic pain, from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, to migraine disease, to gastroparesis, to postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome.
Favorite tips for living with chronic pain: “I distract myself during the worst times, using my tablet, TV or doing an art project,” – Sawyer Horcher; “Just being around other kids my age that know the feeling of this situation that we’re all in,” – Dennis Alden. “During those times when the pain gets so bad I drown myself in my music,” – Jordan Johnston.
Age: 47 years old
Location: San Jose, CA
Pain warrior role: California ambassador since 2015
Pain conditions: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue, temporal mandibular disease, myofascial pain syndrome, migraine disorder, depression, anxiety, chronic labyrinthitis, and corneal erosion
Favorite pain tip: “Find a support system. It can be family, friends, or a support group that either meets in-person, online, or via the phone. Living with chronic illnesses and pain is like riding a rollercoaster; so it is important to know who you can count on during the low times. Personally, I find it extremely rewarding when I can offer support to someone else during their moment of need. Secondly, allow yourself the time to grieve the losses that come with living with chronic illnesses and pain. It takes awhile to find new hopes and dreams and pastimes you feel passionate about.”
Location: Jackson, New Jersey
Age: 40 years old
Pain Warrior Role: Ambassador since 2013
Conditions: I live with Chronic Migraine, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which has caused many co-morbidities including arthritis, TMJ, colonic dysmotility, POTS, spinal stenosis, joint instability, myofascial pain, multiple tendon tears etc.
Fun Fact: My nickname is Corky.
Tip for Pain Warriors: “Find anything thing that will make you smile. This is painful and difficult journey, find anything thing that will give you some joy, in spite of the pain.”
Location: Baltimore, MD
Age: 37 years old
Pain Warrior Role: Advocate and ambassador since 2014
Conditions: Melker-Rosenthal Syndrome, Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome, lymphadnopothy, fibromyalgia, Non-Specific Brain T-2 flair lesions, degenerative disc disease, retinal inflammatory lesions, neuropathy, and demyelination of the facial nerve
Fun Fact: When feeling up to it, Stancliff uses what she learned at The School of Fine Arts & Photography to be creative. She enjoys playing with art of all kinds, including professional photography, sewing, and painting.
Location: Cumberland, MD
Pain warrior role: Ambassador since 2014
Pain conditions: Psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, pustular psoriasis disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and migraines
Fun fact: She is an avid music lover and loves statistical analysis; put the two together, and she is in her element.
Favorite tip: “Pink Floyd sang ‘Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day.’ This reminds me to sit for a few moments each day for myself, because time is all we have and yet never enough.”
Favorite tip: “For other parents: 1. Always trust your child and trust your gut. 2. Keep it light… lots of humor! Laughter is medicine!”
Many members of the U.S. Pain community know the incredible Melanie Dickens, the young woman behind the Crazy Sock Walk & Day fundraisers. But they may not know her equally amazing parents, Laurie and Shawn, who take an active role in advocating on behalf of Melanie and all people living with pain. Laurie and Shawn help Melanie coordinate the Crazy Sock events each year and are always ready to step up to help when U.S. Pain puts out a call-to-action.