Woman in Idaho Starts Worldwide Migraine Fundraiser Event to be Held in April
Katie Janquart knows firsthand how migraines can affect someone. She remembers having headaches her whole life, but when she was a teen they turned into a daily event. She finally was diagnosed with migraine. Her doctor prescribed a treatment that made her feel sicker, so she opted out of treatment for years. Living in a small town in Idaho, she felt like she was the only one going through this. “I kind of just played that I was OK for quite awhile.”
In college Janquart again sought medical care for her migraines, and though she suffered side effects from her treatment, was able to function relatively normally for a while. “I still had a daily headache but it was lower and I didn’t get a migraine very often, so I was doing pretty good.” Eventually, though, she stopped her treatment when the side effects outweighed the gains.
She coasted again for awhile without treatment. “I went for about a year where it was not too bad, but again they started getting really bad.”
Janquart saw several other doctors in her journey, and currently sees the only headache specialist in a three state radius who has been knowledgeable and helpful. She still has a daily headache, which her specialist thinks is a form of migraine, along with full blown migraine attacks, but is working on getting better. “We’ve tried a couple different preventatives over the last year and a half.” She is also in a clinical trial for a new CGRP antibody, and whether or not it helps her, she’s happy to give to the migraine community by participating. “I’m really passionate that research is how we’re going to find… better treatment options for people.”
Migraines have affected Janquart’s work life as well. She had to stop her profession in landscaping. “All day long I was out in the sun bent over in the heat. I loved it though. I went to school for horticulture and I love plants… but I started getting to a point where I was missing one day a week of work.”
She transitioned to working in an office, and though her dream was landscaping, she does enjoy her new job as a project analyst. “I figured if I had a migraine I could at least push through it and work still. I ended up in the administrative field... and have been in an office since.”
The change in careers also led Janquart back to school to finish her Bachelor’s degree. In addition to bettering her own life, she’s been wanting to be more active in the migraine community. “I’ve been wanting for years to do some sort of awareness fundraising event.” In 2015, as part of a class project, she was tasked with coming up with a community fundraiser event. “I was like, aha, here’s my chance.” Two men in the group were hesitant at first. “They didn’t really understand about migraines, and plus, they thought that … this was going to be way too much work.” It took some convincing, but she got her group to go along with the idea.
The first annual “Haturday for Heads” was born. The premise was simple: the group held an event at a local restaurant, BBQ4Life in Boise, Idaho, with a silent auction, info booth and prize for the silliest hat, and the restaurant donated twenty percent of their sales during the event hours to the cause.
The day was a success in many ways. Janquart raised almost two hundred dollars, donated mostly to the Migraine Research Foundation and also a small amount to Chronic Migraine Awareness. But the success wasn’t all just in the funds raised. She connected with others in her local community who also suffer migraines, among them a few classmates, a coworker, and the co-owner of BBQ4Life, Brad. For once she no longer felt alone in her struggle.
Janquart had also been connecting with other sufferers online, and many said they would like to be involved. “I want Haturday for Heads to be a means of building and supporting a stronger migraine community across the nation, a means for connecting and belonging.” That’s when she realized that the event could be world-wide. She opened up an art contest to design a hat, and you can see the winning entry here. (Cool side note, the winning design was submitted by Sean Maher, who is coincidentally the brother of migraine.com contributor Katie Golden). Anyone will be able to buy a hat and, even if they are “migraining in their bed,” can post a picture wearing the hat on April 23. Locals can head over to BBQ4Life between 2-4pm, wear their hats, learn about migraines, and participate in the raffle that will be held this year. All the money raised from the hats, raffle, and restaurant will go to the Migraine Research Foundation.
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