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Migraine research donation

$8 Million Donation for Migraine Research!

Yep, you read that right. Eight. Million. Dollars. If this news makes you cry, you’re not alone! (Full disclosure: I didn’t just tear up, I was full-on crying. For quite a while.)

The details: Philanthropists Wendy and Leonard Goldberg have donated $10 million to UCLA Health Services, $8 million of which will go to migraine research through the UCLA Goldberg Migraine Program. Although the research will be based at UCLA, everyone with migraine will benefit, no matter where they live. It is the largest donation individuals have ever given to support migraine research.1

Seeing friends and family struggling with migraine prompted the donation, according to Mrs. Goldberg. “Leonard and I have seen firsthand in friends and family members how debilitating migraines can be. We are eager to help find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure,” she said.

Although UCLA hasn’t announced specific research projects, the work will be multidisciplinary. Researchers will investigate the biological and genetic underpinnings of migraine, as well as treatment options.

“Migraine is generally under-recognized as a major medical problem, in part because it is not fatal. But it is not hyperbole to say that it can ruin lives,” said Andrew Charles, M.D., a neurologist and headache specialist who will be leading the program. Dr. Charles has published interesting work in recent years about neurobiological and neurochemical aspects of migraine, including cortical spreading depression.

In addition to fueling research and finding treatments, I believe this gift will also help decrease the stigma of migraine, establishing it as a biological disease, not a measly headache. Even UCLA’s press release is a good start. It doesn’t talk about “migraine headaches” and it even points out how dismissive the phrase “just a headache” is. The press release also includes great stats about migraine, including that more than 90% of people are unable to work during an attack.

The positive signs about the future of migraine research continue to add up. Between the launch of the American Registry for Migraine Research and this gift to UCLA, my holiday season is already joyous. Tears and all.

I wrote about how life-changing this donation could be in a thank you note to the Goldbergs, which I published on The Daily Headache. And if you’d like to say thanks, leave a comment. I’ll pass them along.

Correction: This article originally reported that the Goldbergs donated $10 million to migraine research. It has been corrected to show that they donated $10 million to UCLA Health Services, $8 million of which will go to migraine research.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

1. Irwin, K. (2015, Dec. 8). $10 million gift to UCLA from Wendy and Leonard Goldberg is largest ever to support migraine research. UCLA Press Release. Retrieved from


  • Brenna
    4 years ago

    Been suffering chronic migraines since 1994, bed ridden most days, can’t work, depressed and feeling hopeless as I’ve already tried every treatment and medication there is. Thank you so much for this generous donation. You both are a God send. You have given me hope this Christmas season that one day I could be set free of the chains these migraines bind me with. Bless you both and Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!

  • Denise
    4 years ago

    It would be so wonderful to have more and better treatments beside pills. My hope is that at least migraine disease will now be noticed as a dibilitating condition as we that suffer from it already know. Thank you to the Goldbergs for their recognition of this disease and their generous contribution.

  • Nonster
    4 years ago

    Thank you Kerrie for sharing such wonderful news with us! And bless the Goldberg family for their incredible donation to our illness which has Always been underfunded. Just think of the possibilities for all of us because of their generosity. Merry Christmas to all!

  • Panda2015
    4 years ago

    This is wonderful to hear! And I love your thank you letter to the Goldbergs – it echoed my very thoughts.

    Thank you for sharing this great news, Kerrie!

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    4 years ago

    Is there an emoji for doing cartwheels with rainbows and unicorns in the background? Because that’s how amazing this is!

  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    4 years ago

    I love it! That’s totally going in my thank you article. <3

  • Marsha
    4 years ago

    That it HUGE news! Thanks for letting us know.

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