Every June during National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month, Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc. (CMA, Inc.) works hard to spread awareness and education for the four million people living with chronic migraine. Chronic migraine disease is not just a headache, it’s not all in our heads, it affects every aspect of our lives. It means having 15 or more migraine and/or headache days a month. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, lost productivity and healthcare costs due to migraine are estimated at $36 billion dollars each year in the United States. To bring awareness to this debilitating disease, advocate for ourselves and those who don’t understand, it is imperative that June 29 is set aside as Chronic Migraine Awareness Day or CMA Day.
In the movie, “Lawrence of Arabia” the quote, “great things have small beginnings” truly resonates with Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc. On June 29, 2012, we held the first-ever Chronic Migraine Awareness Day. A small group went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with a few shirts that said, “Chronic Migraine Awareness” and a large purple and red striped awareness ribbon on it. We also printed information on bookmarks to hand out when people stopped by and asked what was going on. And just like that, it was Chronic Migraine Awareness Day!
The idea was simple; bringing awareness visually with our shirts, which was a great way to start a dialog – chronic migraine is real! During the conversation, we passed out the bookmarks. Many people shared their mother, sister, and/or other family members also have migraine disease, some experiencing pain every day. Knowing we weren’t alone, the conversations enabled us to exchange our stories to an empathic and understanding audience.
Chronic Migraine Awareness Inc. has grown into a nonprofit organization with over 45,000 members, reaching 80 countries across the globe. We are reminded every day that chronic migraine awareness and support is vital. Without continued research, we’ll never have competent informed medical care. Chronic migraine is debilitating and can bring anyone to their knees. We still manage to share a graphic, wear a shirt, give out some cards with migraine facts. The point is we keep fighting, rallying. CMA Day was created to raise awareness is a day now to celebrate the warriors and incredible volunteers too.
Over the years CMA Day has been held in Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York, New York City, and San Francisco. We encourage people to show their support for CMA Day, wherever they are, by sharing our CMA Day initiative – #RallyAgainstChronicMigraine #CMADay2020 on their social media platforms. You can find more information on all our month-long NMHAM initiatives here https://chronicmigraineawareness.org/mham.
by Catherine Charrett-Dykes
Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc.
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