Written by Angelica Heidi Brehm
Advocacy is an essential part of my migraine treatment tool kit. It’s as
effective as managing my diet, daily exercise, meditation and mindfulness,
taking supplements, and healthy sleep habits. It is more powerful than any
of the preventative prescription treatments I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many).
That’s why I’m so happy that at this year’s Headache on the Hill (HOH) I
got a big, wonderful dose of Advocacy.
Advocacy isn’t able to make my symptoms disappear but it is extremely
powerful because it gives me:
Hope – From the moment that I applied to HOH, I began to anticipate a
trip to Washington D.C. HOH also gives me hope for the future. It is
encouraging to know that a group of patients, doctors, and researchers
are working to convince Congress to support migraine and headache
research and treatments.
Purpose – I was able to link my life to a cause bigger than myself. This
year at HOH we had meetings at 201 Congressional offices to ask for co-
sponsorship of the Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act of 2017 (S.2260,
H.R.4733) which, among other things, will allocate funding to discover and
develop new migraine and headache therapies.
Empowerment- HOH helps me transform my view of myself as a victim
into the image of a warrior fighting for the care I deserve.
Community – 148 advocates from 39 different states gathered for HOH
2018. Chronic migraine can be so isolating. It was wonderful to be
reminded that I’m part of a large, intelligent, and powerful team.
Value– Advocacy let’s me know that others care about me, they empathize
with my suffering and frustration, and they are willing to fight with me. In
the last few weeks, my friends and family have sent letters to their
Senators and Representative supporting the bill I went to Washington D.
C. to get co-sponsored and passed. The legislative aides, with whom I met
during HOH, showed concern for our plight and expressed their
willingness to help us. They conveyed that my life, and the lives of others
in pain, have worth.
Want a two minute dose of advocacy? Send a letter supporting the
Opioids and STOP Pain Initiative Act of 2017 to your Members of
Congress using this link.
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