You Can Help with Headache on the Hill 2021!
HOH is an event where people with migraine, doctors, and caregivers meet with members of Congress in Washington, DC, to advocate for headache and migraine diseases. Each year advocates present a unique "ask" to Congress. I've been hearing about Headache on the Hill (HOH) for years but never participated.
Participating in Headache on the Hill for the first time
Headache on the Hill started in 2007 before I was even diagnosed! It's a yearly event, but I've been unable to join until this year when it became more accessible as it was held virtually. It felt great to be able to show up in front of the dedicated staffers who work for our government officials and tell them my story of living with migraine disease. I spoke about my time living with chronic migraine. I mentioned my pregnancy, in which I dealt with frequent migraine attacks and a lack of safe treatment options, and how a new medication postpartum restored my health much quicker than treatments in the past. Other advocates in my group mentioned their own chronic migraine experience, headache from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, and a mother and physician mentioned their son's experience with cluster headache.
What we are asking for this year
I was one of 217 advocates in 47 states, attending 272 meetings. This year, we asked for more support for veterans dealing with headache diseases and more research for migraine and headache. In the HOH training, I learned that many soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are exposed to toxic burn pits, which can lead to health problems, among them headache. I also learned that migraine is underfunded by the NIH in comparison with its' disease burden. These are some of the reasons why our "asks" are so important. In our recent HOH debrief, they reported that some members of Congress have already signed onto our asks!
We need your help
But our work is not done, as we need more members of Congress to sign on. This is where you can help. Maybe you didn't get a chance to participate and tell your story, but you can still send a letter to your local representative about these issues.
Headache on the Hill has two letters you can sign and send:
Sign by April 9
Though there were a record number of advocates at HOH this year, I hope this article can blow that participation out of the water even more. The more people who participate, the louder our voices. If you plan to participate, you must participate by April 9, so act quickly! Please sign, share, and share again!
Other ways to help
Perhaps you want to help in more ways than one, or you are reading this after the April 9th deadline. You can always check the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy (AHDA) page on Headache on the Hill, to see if there are other ways to get involved or donate on their website. You can also run, walk, or just relax for the Miles for Migraine June 2021 virtual race to benefit HOH! I plan on running, so maybe I'll see you on social media!
Have you checked out the new Community Hub yet?