My First Migraine Fundraiser Race!

Miles for Migraine logoHart: “Is this what people normally do on weekends?”

Me: “Right? It feels like we’re on vacation.”

We were walking to get coffee on a Saturday morning. It’s a walk Hart’s taken many times in the six years we’ve lived here, but I’ve never been able to join him. Until a few weeks ago.

Spending time with friends and family, working, exercising, cooking, cleaning my house, eating whatever I want… After 14 years of disability during which I have lived and breathed migraine, being able to do the normal activities of life feels like I’m on constant vacation. The indescribable joy I feel is one reason I will be walking in the two-mile portion of the Miles for Migraine race in Phoenix this Saturday. This is the first walk I’ve been healthy enough to participate in, so I will be celebrating the pleasure of having a body that is now capable of walking a couple miles without keeling over.

I’m also walking for the millions of people whose lives have been rendered unrecognizable by migraine. Far too many of us have spent years buried under this illness. I would still be housebound and nearly bedridden without programs that fund migraine research.

If you’re in town and able to join me, I’d love to see you on Saturday, March 18 (here’s the registration form; March 16 is the last day to register). And if you’d like to donate migraine research—even $5 is a huge help—here’s my Miles for Migraine pledge page. If you work for a company and would like them to match your donation, you can donate through that link and then email shirley[at]milesformigraine[dot]org for details on the follow-up paperwork.

Thank you for being a part of my life. Even if we’ve never met (or even emailed), the support of The Daily Headache readers has been vital to me through these difficult years.You’ll be on my mind during the walk. I wish relief for every one of you and believe that through efforts of programs like Miles for Migraine, it’s possible we will all find a reprieve.
News & Research, Society

Miles for Migraine Raises Awareness, Research Funding

Miles for Migraine logoThrough Headache on the Hill, patients and healthcare providers lobby members of Congress each year to increase NIH funding for research into headache disorders. The first year, participants were told that they would have to raise “big noise” in their own communities to see a change. This is something people who advocate for more research funding hear often: lawmakers must believe that the people they represent care about migraine and other headache disorders. That is, we won’t get research funding until we raise awareness about the impact these illnesses on people’s lives.

Miles for Migraine Raises Awareness, Research Funding

In 2008, Eileen Jones decided to make big noise by founding Miles for Migraine. After attending the first Headache on the Hill in 2007, Eileen, a nurse who has migraine, founded Miles for Migraine to raise both funds for and awareness about migraine. Since the first race in San Francisco, Miles for Migraine has raised $79,000 for migraine research and advocacy. Their goal is to fund 30+ fellowships to train new doctors to become headache specialists. Prior funding recipients include:

Race Locations

That $79,000 is just the start. Last year, the race expanded to Philadelphia; this year, a race has been added in Chicago. Depending on the city, races range from one-mile walks to a full marathon. If you’re unable to participate in or attend a race, you can still get involved through Miles for Migraine’s virtual race.

Virtual Race

When Miles for Migraine comes up, people inevitably say that exercise is a migraine trigger, they’re too sick to exercise, or migraine makes their lives so unpredictable that they’re unlikely to be able to attend an organized event. I get this—all have been true for me at different times in my migraine life—and the people at Miles for Migraine get it, too. That’s where the virtual race comes in. You can recruit others to run for you, collect donations for a run/walk you do on your own (a short trip on the treadmill counts!), or you can fundraise without running at all. All those options raise both awareness of migraine’s impact on people’s lives and money for research and advocacy. Donations of at least $100 will get you a T-shirt and race goody bag. See Miles for Migraine’s virtual race on Crowdrise for more information.

2016 Miles for Migraine Races

  • San Francisco on Sunday, July 31: San Francisco Marathon (Mission Street & The Embarcadero); 5K Walk/Run, Half Marathon, Full Marathon
  • Chicago on Monday, September 5 (Labor Day): Naperville Last Fling (440 W. Aurora Avenue, Naperville, IL 60540); 1 Mile Run, 5K Run
  • Philadelphia on Saturday, October 8: Valley Green/Fairmount Park (120 W. North Western Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118); 2 Mile Walk, 5K Run, 10k Run
News & Research, Society

Miles for Migraine: Run/Walk to Raise Awareness (and Funds) for Migraine & Headache Disorders

“Why don’t we have our own walks and sassy tee-shirts?,” reader Juli recently asked. It’s a great question — there’s a plethora of fundraising runs and walks for every other condition or illness, so why not migraine? Miles for Migraine, an organization I recently learned about, is exactly that, a race dedicated to raising awareness of migraine and headache disorders.

Annual Bay Area Run
Next Saturday, September 14, Miles for Migraine will host the sixth annual San Francisco 5K/10K run and two-mile walk in Golden Gate Park. If you or your loved ones live in the Bay Area, please participate in this fundraising and awareness-raising event! Check the Miles for Migraine Facebook page today for a code that will save you 20% off the registration fee — hurry, though, the code expires tonight.

Nationwide: Miles for Migraine in Your Town
Don’t live in the Bay Area? Miles for Migraine has just launched Miles for Migraine in Your Town in a bid to spread the awareness nationwide. With this program, anyone anywhere in the US can use their participation in any scheduled race to raise awareness about migraine and headache disorders. Alternatively, they will work with volunteers who want to organize races specifically for raising awareness and money for migraine and headache disorders.

In addition to providing fundraising support, Miles for Migraine in Your Town will provide participants with virtual training resources and “cool swag,” including T-shirts to wear in the run. Money raised will be donated to a local headache clinic or, if there’s no local clinic, into expanding dedicated Miles for Migraine races across the country.

Learn about the program in Announcing Miles for Migraine in Your Town and their detailed FAQs.

The first Miles for Migraine in Your Town is underway for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 16th and 17th. Details are available at M4M in Your Town – Philadelphia.

I had the pleasure of learning about this exciting nonprofit in a call with the race director. It started with the bright idea of Eileen Jones, a migraineur and nurse, who joined the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy’s 2007 visit to Congress to request funding for migraine research. After legislative aides told AHDA representatives that they needed to raise awareness about migraine and drum up support from the general public before funding would increase, Eileen decided a race would be a good way to do just that.

The first Miles for Migraine race was held in San Francisco in 2008 with the goal of eventually expanding nationwide. With the launch of Miles for Migraine in Your Town, they’re in the process of spreading awareness throughout the country. Please support their tremendous effort, either by participating in a run yourself or encouraging your loved ones to do so. With increased awareness comes less stigma for migraine an all headache disorders.