National Headache Foundation Chicago Meeting
The last weekend of June found me in Chicago, Illinois. Over the last few months, I seem to have developed a habit of traveling toward the end of every month, often with a migraine-related agenda (and with few migraine episodes, thank goodness).
When I attended a regional meeting of the National Headache Foundation in March, I never expected to tap into the group so quickly. I had the chance to talk to Bob Dalton, Executive Director of the NHF, and I expressed to him my desire to be more involved with this patient-centered nonprofit. (And on that note, if you haven’t looked into the NHF for yourself, please do yourself a favor and do so now. They are planning a round of regional conferences for 2012 and have a couple in the works for the rest of 2011, so chances are you’ll be able to attend one of their inspiring educational meetings in the near future!)
I’m so grateful to have had the fortune of meeting Bob and am so happy with my decision to become a patient advocate for the National Headache Foundation.
Pictured: NHF Executive Director Bob Dalton & NHF Spokesperson Serene Branson
What has struck me the most about the NHF meeting sessions is the strong need people have to tell their stories. Those of us who connect via the internet are lucky to have one another, but if there’s any way you can talk with other sufferers in person, I think there’s no substitute for that. Many of the post-session question and answer periods turned into an opportunity for people to share their personal testimonials. Over and over someone would raise a hand to ask a question and ultimately begin to tell a little bit about his or her personal struggle. People are hungry for connection and conversation, and, if I perceived the situation correctly, I can say that being able to communicate directly and meaningfully with others who really know where they were coming from was an extremely valuable experience.
There are many resources out there. I used to rely solely on the people I “met” online in the migraine blogosphere, but the more I was able to talk about my personal The Migraine Girl blog, the more people I met in “real” life who deal with this debilitating syndrome. Be the brave one. Step out and tell your story. It should make your life better and will probably help those around you, too.
Check out the National Headache Foundation here, and consider signing up for a one-year membership. The nominal fee is very low, and with your membership you’ll get a subscription to their brand-new magazine, Headwise, which is expertly done.
(Speaking of Headwise, I found out recently that I'll be featured in an upcoming issue! Exciting. For now I encourage you to check out the blog of the woman who's featured in this quarter's issue: Allison in Migraine Land).
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