As I have been thinking about today's prompt, several ideas have been going through my mind. I'd love to have tea with a fellow migraineur's parents so that I might help them understand what their daughter is experiencing, or I might have tea with a member of my own family who seems not to really understand the impact migraines has on my life. However, as I continued to think about it, I decided I wanted to invite someone who could really make a difference in the life of migraineurs in general if they were to become passionate about the issues involved.
I decided that a philanthropist was who I would like to have home for tea. This took a bit of research (as I don't just have a list of philanthropists on my contact list). As I was reading about different philanthropists, a quote caught my eye. This philanthropist was quoted as saying that his primary purpose in determining whether to fund something was if it was something no one else was doing. This was perfect! I decided to invite Eli and Edythe Broad (pronounced like road) to have tea with me.
(The Broads developed the Broad Foundation whose mission is to serve the public good through education, science and the arts.)
After debating about whether or not, they should see my house has it "really" is - kind of messy and very dark, I decided I would call in a maid service and wear sunglasses so my guests would be comfortable. Over a bit of tea and a piece of Sugaree cake, I'd share some migraine statistics with them that I gathered from the Migraine Research Foundation. I'd be sure to include these facts:
- Migraine ranks in the top twenty of the world's most disabling illnesses.
- 37 million people suffer from Migraine disease, and 14 million experience chronic daily headache.
- Migraine causes more lost years of healthy life in the US annually than MS, epilepsy, ovarian cancer, and tuberculosis combined and has been identified by the World Health Organization has having the capacity to be as disabling as quadriplegia.
- American employers lose more than $13 billion each year as a result of 113 million lost work days due to migraine.
- Migraine sufferers, like those who suffer from other chronic illnesses, face the consequences of high costs of medical services, too little support, and limited access to quality care.
- At present, NIH funding for migraine research is $15 million - less than 0.03% of the annual NIH research budget.
After having tea and having done my best to have appealed to the Broad's sense of business and desire to be involved with something that no one else is doing, I would then share with them how Migraine disease has impacted my life. I'd be sure that they understood that Migraine is more than a headache and that it is a neurological disease which has dramatically changed my life in regards to my career, finances, quality of life, social involvement, community involvement, and family involvement. I'd have a friend with me who would be able to tell them the 180 degree change in my life since my migraines have become chronic. In addition to how migraine has impacted my life, I would tell them stories of friends who have lost their will to live because of dealing with chronic pain and being unsuccessful in finding treatment.
Then because I know any good business person wants to know why they are being asked to be involved, I'd lay out my plan.
- I'd like for them to establish a scholarship fund for individuals who cannot afford treatment or who cannot afford the expenses associated with going to a migraine specialist (travel and housing, as well as comprehensive treatment).
- I'd like for them to establish an annual scholarship fund in a major medical school of each of the fifty states which would support a medical student from first year through residency and specialized training in migraines since there are only 290 certified headache specialists in the United States.
- I'd ask them to develop a state of the art Migraine facility in each of the four time zones so that everyone has specialized medial facility within at least a days driving distance. Each of these state of the art facilities should have both in-patient and out-patient services which focus on the whole person and should have Migraine friendly living arrangements nearby, as well as provide transportation since many migraineurs are unable to drive. They should also have branches which are specifically dedicated to pediatric Migraine disease, Veterans with headache disorders, and to the unique needs of hard to treat chronic Migraineurs.
- I'd ask them to develop medical continuing education that focuses on Migraine disease from both a medical and psychosocial point of view.
- I'd ask that they support research towards developing specialized Migraine medications (since there is no medication that has been developed specifically for Migraines) and ask that they have a research effort to specifically look at Migraine treatment for chronic Migraineurs who are difficult to treat with standard protocols.
- Last, I would ask that they sit with their scholarship review committee which is comprised of business men, scientists, and politicians to develop a systematic approach for raising awareness about Migraine disease.
I'd then like to arrange a dinner with them and other migraineurs and leaders in the Migraine community, as well as some of the best Migraine doctors in the United States, to answer any further questions that they have. My desire would be that they would catch the vision of what needs to be done for Migraine disease and be inspired to work to make millions of people's dreams come true and help them once again become active, productive, involved citizens who can pay forward all that they have gained through the work and vision of the Broads.
One can dream, can't they?!
National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.