Did you know that September is National Pain Awareness Month?
Pain Awareness Month is a time when various organizations work to raise public awareness of issues in the area of pain and pain management.
The first Pain Awareness Month was in 2001, when the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) led a coalition of groups to establish September as Pain Awareness Month. ACPA established Partners for Understanding Pain and 80 organizations, both health care professionals and consumer groups, including the NAACP supported the effort.
As Founder/Executive Director of 540WMain, Inc. chronic pain and chronic pain awareness is a subject that is very close to my heart. In 2009 chronic pain took over my body and quite literally changed the course of my life. After one year of unexplained sickness, fatigue, pain, and a variety of other symptoms I was diagnosed with and chronic fatigue syndrome in fall 2010. In 2012 I created www.theglutenfreechefblog.com to document my journey living with chronic illness. Since then I have joined the 100 million Americans that live with a chronic pain condition.
In addition to moving into a career and life of creative & social entrepreneurship I join those millions of pain warriors as a pain advocate with the U.S Pain Foundation and am happy to use 540WMain, Inc. platform to inform and educate my local and global community about chronic pain.
The key to raising awareness is to get involved. There are many things that you can do to help promote Pain Awareness Month.
Starting this year each September 540WMain, Inc. will devote social media space to featuring the stories and photos of four Rochester chronic pain survivors and spotlight how they live, cope, and thrive despite living with a chronic pain or related condition. Throughout the month each week we will feature an aspect of the warrior’s life living with chronic pain on the 540WMain, Inc. instagram, facebook, and here on the blog. In addition to this 540Gallery (inside our HQ space) will highlight the work of a Rochester artist living with chronic pain as our Featured Artist of the Month.
In honor of transparency I must admit that launching this year’s campaign did not go as planned. Working with others who live with chronic pain means means unexpected delays, flare ups, and other hiccups that have delayed how fast we were able to gather information, photos, and interview the pain warriors that we had selected. In addition to this, my attempts to secure the featured artist was not successful after many attempts. Admittedly, I was frustrated that things did not go as planned and was almost ready to call the whole campaign off. However, after a reset and meditation I decided that a late launch was better than no launch. Additionally, sharing these challenges is an act of awareness in itself because it highlights that those of us living with chronic pain and invisible illness often have to roll with the punches of our illness’s interruption of our personal and professional lives in small and very large ways. Living with chronic pain means that things rarely go as planned and instead of giving into the frustration of a life drastically changed we have to embrace the pain and soldier ahead.
This year’s roster of Pain Warriors include four amazing women that demonstrate that life with chronic pain is very challenging and unimaginable but not impossible. The women we will be highlighting this year include:
I look forward to sharing more of their stores on 540WMain, Inc.’s social media outlets.