The Benefits of a Virtual Event for Cluster Headache Awareness

The pandemic led to a rise in virtual events, highlighting the convenience of these types of fundraising. The #CureforCluster 5k by Clusterbusters started as an in-person run or walk in Denver. By 2017, I was getting requests for virtual participation. In 2018, we went entirely virtual. It's been highly successful at raising awareness and more funding than it would have been if we stayed in Denver.

We're not the only event that's gone virtual. Miles for Migraine (Executive Director Shirley Kessel was my mentor when I started the #CureforCluster), and the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy organizations also have events you can participate in at home and around your neighborhood or park.

Aside from the coronavirus event limitations, there are several reasons why headache disorder fundraisers do well when participants can join worldwide.

Cluster headaches affect one in a thousand

Unlike migraine disease, which is the third most common disease (behind tension-type headache and dental caries), cluster headaches affect around one in every thousand people.1 That makes it harder for patients to get together for fundraisers. A virtual event such as our #CureforCluster 5k enables anyone with cluster headaches or supporters of patients to join in around the globe. Expanding the event like this helped us grow from just 27 participants in 2016 in Denver to 132 people in 2020 in 8 countries and 33 U.S. states.

Disabling conditions make events difficult

Another benefit to a virtual event is there is no pressure to complete the 3.1-mile run or walk within a specific time frame. There's no need to worry about being the last person to cross the finish line or missing the start because of an attack. We've had "clusterheads" walk with their oxygen tanks and take their time to enjoy the scenery or stop to talk with strangers about what they're doing and why. It's a fun way to spread awareness about cluster headaches.

It's convenient to walk any time

What's nice about a virtual event is that you can participate at your leisure. While some people like to walk simultaneously, others choose to do it later in the day. Have plans in the morning? You can do the 5k in the afternoon or evening. It's the perfect opportunity to take your dog for that long walk you've promised them or an outing to the local park with your family.

Spark a conversation

My favorite part about the #CureforCluster is seeing so many familiar and new faces pop up with the hashtag on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. It helps us share our stories and find validation in the similarities. You can explain what cluster headaches are and what treatments work for you with your family, friends, or coworkers who otherwise don't know much about cluster headaches yet.

You can sign up by June 16th

It's not too late to join us for the 2021 #CureforCluster 5k run/walk on June 26th! You can sign up or donate directly to the event on the race website.

100% of proceeds go directly to research on cluster headaches, and our past events have funded vital research into the demographics, treatment efficacy, suicidality, and overall burden of this neurological condition.

Pain-free wishes!

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