Raising Awareness for Cluster Headache in a Pandemic—Virtual 5ks

Being an advocate for Headache and Migraine Awareness Month (MHAM) is especially challenging this year because social distancing measures are still critical across the world. Most in-person events have been canceled for the summer, leaving many of us wondering how to celebrate and raise awareness during June. A virtual 5k event is one way you can stay safe while also pushing for change in research and treatment for headache disorders.

Clusterbusters virtual 5k

Clusterbusters, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit, hosts an annual event every June called the #CureforCluster 5k. The run/walk started in 2016 in Denver, Colorado, but became entirely virtual last year, so cluster headache patients and other advocates around the world could participate. This year, Clusterbusters has offered a discount code "PandemicTake5," and the event t-shirt mentions the unprecedented times we're all living through. Participating or sponsoring a participant for the #CureforCluster virtual 5k on June 20, 2020, is an excellent way to get involved in Migraine and Headache Awareness Month without putting yourself and your loved ones at an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Staying active during the 2020 pandemic

While many states are reopening, those of us living with chronic health conditions such as cluster headaches, migraine disease, and various comorbidities are wary of rejoining society as parks, beaches, and businesses reopen. However, being active is an essential part of self-care and your overall health. Signing up for the virtual 5k offers a great incentive to get moving, be it jogging on your home treadmill or walking around your neighborhood.

Raise awareness for cluster headaches and funding for research

Cluster headache is a lesser-known primary headache disorder that is often left out of the discussion for research and new treatment options. That makes it difficult for the one in a thousand people who live with the debilitating disorder to make their voices and needs heard. The virtual 5k event is designed specifically for that purpose—100% of proceeds go to research for cluster headaches. The money raised in 2018 and 2019 helped fund the statistical analysis of the largest survey ever conducted with cluster headache patients, the results of which have been published several times regarding high-flow oxygen, disease burden, and pain severity. Clusterbusters has been at the forefront of cluster headache research since its inception, with psilocybin mushrooms and LSD studied at Harvard in the early 2000s and now at Yale.

You still get the "perks" of an in-person event with race swag bags

One of the benefits of the #CureforCluster virtual 5k is that each participant is sent a t-shirt to wear on race day and a swag bag filled with goodies to help you raise awareness while also staying safe during the 3.1-mile run or walk. International signups are cut off after June 1 to allow for shipping outside of the United States, but for those in the U.S., you have until June 12 to register. The Race Director will ship your package the week before the event, so you're 5k ready on June 20, 2020.

How to participate or donate to the #CureforCluster Virtual 5k on June 20, 2020

Registering for the #CureforCluster virtual 5k is easy on the Race website. Your friends, family, and coworkers can also donate on your behalf to sponsor your run. Participants are encouraged to take photos in their #CureforCluster t-shirt and post on social media using the hashtag to raise awareness of the harsh realities of living with "Suicide Headaches." You should receive your swag bag and t-shirt a few days before June 20. At 6 pm EST on Friday, June 19, the race director goes live on the Clusterbusters Facebook page to discuss event details and go over cluster headaches as most people are unaware of the neurological condition. Another Facebook live kicks off the start of the race at 10 am EST on Saturday, June 20, but participants can complete the 5k at whatever time is most convenient for their location.

The 2020 Pandemic has come with significant loss, increased anxiety and mental illness, and isolation. Participating in a virtual event such as Clusterbusters' #CureforCluster Virtual 5k is an excellent way to stay connected to fellow advocates and stay physically active during Migraine and Headache Awareness Month.

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