Miles for Migraine Expands in 2016: Why You Need to Care

For many of us, walking to the mailbox and back seems daunting. You know what else can seem like an uphill battle? Raising awareness for Migraines. Educating people on our silent illness. Getting more funding for Migraine research. One way you can help, is to participate in one of the four Miles for Migraine races this year.

Started in San Francisco in 2008 by Eileen Jones, a registered nurse, founding member of the American Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA) and herself a Migraineur. While attending Headache on the Hill through AHDA, the message she heard overwhelmingly from aides of members of Congress was that more awareness was needed in order to justify an increase in the NIH budget for Migraine research. Eileen heard the message loud and clear and Miles for Migraine was born.

The original race was held in San Francisco. After hearing about the fundraising effort, Shirley Kessel partnered with Eileen to hold another race in Philadelphia. In 2016 the race is expanding to Chicago as well as an online virtual race.

From the San Francisco races alone in the past eight years, Miles for Migraine has donated $70,000. All net proceeds from every race go toward Migraine related causes. Beneficiaries of these funds have been the University of California San Francisco Headache Center, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Jefferson Research, University of Pennsylvania, the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. They plan to donate funds to over 30 Fellowship programs around the country because headache specialists are in short supply.

Barriers to Entry Erased

If you’re reading this, you may have episodic migraines, Chronic Migraines or even Cluster Headaches. For a lot of us, exercise can bring on a Migraine, therefore participating in a race can be difficult. Miles for Migraine offers different running/ walking lengths: 5K, 10K run and 2-Mile walk. Still don’t think you can handle those distances? Ask a friend or family member to run in your honor. Help spread the word by sharing this info on social media. #milesformigraine.

For the first time, Miles for Migraine is also offering a “virtual race.” Wherever you live, whatever your physical ability, you can ask loved ones to sponsor you and run or walk in your own area. According to Board Chair Shirley Kessel, “You can walk, use the treadmill, run outside or participate in another race. You can fundraise first by collecting donations for yourself or your team. You’ll receive a T-shirt and goody bag.”

Or ask people to donate even though you can’t participate. They could also use sponsors if you know of a company willing to participate. Maybe you can make it a goal to participate next year. There’s no excuse not to be involved!

Why You Should Care:

The Board of Miles for Migraine is also passionate about changing the stigma of Migraine. Here is a bold call to action from the Board and the reason why you should care about participating in Miles for Migraine:

History demonstrates that diseases that are stigmatized, like HIV, breast cancer, and autism, can only change in the public’s mind when the patients and their families come together in community action asking for recognition.  Diseases in which the patients do not stand up for themselves remain badly stigmatized and patients do not receive the research or therapies needed to effectively treat their condition.  This is true even if doctors speak up for the disease; patients and their families must take over the effort.

Patients with migraine often do not have the chance to stand up for their disease, and thus themselves.  They desperately need an opportunity to do something positive about their condition.  It is basic psychology that by collaborating positively with a group, you will feel better about yourself.  Patients also need a way to encourage their families and friends to participate for migraine; doing something for someone else’s disease transforms attitudes and provides them an opportunity to learn about the scope of migraine.

Future Goals

They are always looking for volunteers to help launch races in new cities. Miles for Migraine also wants to expand through “implementing new programs such as a day camp for adolescents suffering from chronic migraines, and an adult seminar series.”

Below are the details for each race including the “virtual race” can be found on their website

Please share and get involved!!

San Francisco

Time: Sunday, July 31, 2016
7:45 am
Location: The San Francisco Marathon
Mission Street and The Embarcadero
Distance: 5K Walk/Run, HALF/FULL Marathon


Time: Monday, September 5, (Labor Day) 2016
8:45 am
Location: Naperville Last Fling
440 W. Aurora Avenue, Naperville, IL
Distance: 1 Mile Walk / 5K Run


Time: Saturday, October 8, 2016
8:30 am Start for all events
Location: Valley Green/Fairmount Park
120 W. North Western Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Distance: 2 Mile Walk / 5K Run / 10k Run

Virtual Race

Go to to find out how to participate and raise funds from home.

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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.

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