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Age: 60 years old

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain advocate since the inaugural meeting of US Pain in CT

What type of health conditions you live with: Complex regional pain syndrome, spinal column injury, traumatic brain injury

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “I would tell the young boy scouts I used to lead up and down mountains who complained so much about the pain they were in “Pain Builds Character” (PBC). To this day, every time I hurt I would try to quote my own mantra to myself. I have now added the mantras ‘Such Is Life’ and ‘Life Is Good’. Therefore, at the grand old age of 58, I learned perhaps the most important lesson of my life and that is: SIL-PBC-LIG or in longhand, Such Is Life, Pain Builds Character, Life Is Good.”

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City & state: Green Bay, WI

Age: 40

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

What type of health conditions you live with: Vestibular migraine, cluster headaches, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “It’s important for me to show my children that living with chronic illnesses and pain does not mean you can’t lead a good life. Every morning I wake up believing it’s going to be a productive and great day. Even if my body limits me from doing certain activities, I’m proud of the fact that I tried my best despite whatever obstacles I faced.”

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City & state: Modesto, CA

Age: 38 years old

Pain warrior role: U.S. Pain Ambassador since 2016

What type of health conditions you live with: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome, chronic back pain, migraines, depression, and anxiety

What is your favorite tip for others with chronic pain: “The most important lesson I have learned about pain is to not let my pain define me. You have to get to know your pain: give it a name, learn to understand it, and become familiar with what increases or decreases it. Mourn who you were before the pain so that you can fully embrace the newly transformed version of yourself. Life doesn’t end with the start of pain. Find an amazing support group to lean on and learn to accept help. You may not be able to do all the things you once could, but with help you may find new ways to do old activities or find new activities you never would have imagine before. You are stronger than you realize so define your pain, but don’t let it define you!”

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U.S. Pain is proud to announce Michele Rice as 2017’s recipient of the Joselynn Badman Ambassador of the Year. This prestigious annual award honors a U.S. Pain volunteer who has gone above and beyond for the pain community. After an open nomination period, one awardee is is selected by a committee comprised of U.S. Pain staff members.

Rice has been a California ambassador since 2014 and was an INvisible Project participant in 2015, when she shared about her struggles with reflex sympathetic disorder. Since becoming an ambassador, she has continuously kept U.S. Pain information and educational materials at her doctor’s office and regularly hosts awareness tables during important campaigns like Pain Awareness Month and Rare Disease Day.

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City & state: Warwick, Rhode Island

Age: 39

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.”

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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!”

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From left, Addo, U.S. Pain Vice President Nicole Hemmenway, and County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak
  • 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.

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City & State: Meriden, CT

Age: 59

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!”

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Camp attendees with their certificates.

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.

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Rice hosting a table on Rare Diseases Day

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.”

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