Dear Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg,
As I learned of your generous gift to UCLA for migraine research, I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed that I couldn’t stop crying. The news is exciting for me personally, but the tears were not only for me. They were for all the amazing people who have endured enormous pain and sorrow because of this disease. In UCLA’s press release, Dr. Charles said, “Migraine is generally under-recognized as a major medical problem, in part because it is not fatal. But it is not hyperbole to say that it can ruin lives.” He is so right.
In December 2009, years of constant, ever-worsening pain, nausea, fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction nearly devoured my last glimmers of hope. I went to bed each night wondering if I would survive the next day. I later learned that my husband had the nearest in-patient psychiatric clinic programmed into his phone and came home for lunch to make sure I hadn’t attempted to take my life. His unwavering support, a team of great doctors, and amazing family and friends got me through those bleak, hopeless days.
I am extremely fortunate. So many people I hear from as a patient advocate are lacking social support, financial resources, and access to health care providers who understand migraine. The stories are heartbreaking—lost marriages, estranged children, opiate addiction, poverty, homelessness, suicide. Living with any chronic illness is difficult. When the disease is poorly understood and heavily stigmatized, as migraine is, it can render a person’s life, and even self, unrecognizable.
Upon hearing of your donation, I shed tears of joy for my own future, of course, but mostly I cried for the millions of people whose lives are in turmoil because of migraine. Your donation will fund research that could ultimately give millions of people relief and reduce the stigma of migraine. The magnitude of your generosity cannot be overstated, but you’ve also done something that, to me, is even more remarkable. You have given hope to people who struggle desperately to see beyond a life dominated by disabling migraine attacks. You have given us the invaluable gift of a glimpse of a better future.
Thank you. Thank you so very much.
Readers: Many of you have expressed a desire to thank Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg yourself. You may leave your comments below and I will pass them along. Also note the correction that the gift was $8 million for migraine research.