Written By Catherine Charrett-Dykes
Originally seen on MigraineHeadacheAwarenessMonth.org
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 is not just a headache, it’s not all in our heads, and 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 are estimated at $36 billion dollars each year in the United States. To bring awareness to this debilitating disease, advocating for ourselves and those who don’t understand it is imperative. 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 made up that said “Chronic Migraine Awareness” with a large purple and red striped ribbon on it. We also had 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 was real! During the conversation we passed out bookmarks that included facts. Many people shared their mother, sister, and/or other family members did indeed have migraine disease, some experiencing pain every day. Knowing we weren’t alone, this conversation enabled us to exchange our stories to an empathic and understanding audience.
Chronic Migraine Awareness Inc. has grown into a non profit organization with over 45,000 members, reaching 93 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 in Buffalo/Niagara Falls, New York, New York City, and San Francisco spreading the awareness. 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