Romy James is the new Chair of the American Migraine Foundation Fundraising Committee. In her volunteer role, she is working to build and grow the fundraising strategy for the American Migraine Foundation. James is a 2023 Emerging Advocate graduate with 15 years of volunteer fundraising experience for several nonprofits.

 She has been supporting the recent Emerging Advocates Program (EAP) Grassroots Fundraising Drive and looks forward to bringing new fundraising opportunities to the organization. James hopes to bring new events that center around social media and help people with migraine share their story. She would also like to develop annual fundraising events that could be repeated yearly and those that highlight the work of the American Migraine Foundation. 

 James is currently analyzing opportunities for the American Migraine Foundation to build its donor base by including individuals impacted by migraine and other large sponsors who share its values.

A desire to help others

Her migraine story began when she was nine years old, but it was not regular at first. 

“It was on and off. I had years where it would go away and I never had a migraine and then I had years where it was once a month,” she said.

After she had her daughter and stopped nursing James’ migraine attacks progressed. Her attacks lasted longer and were more intense. When her daughter was about 10, her migraines became chronic and she felt as if she couldn’t even function. She had an aura, balance issues, nausea and vomiting that kept her from driving. 

James began a journey to feel better that would last years. She tried nearly everything, including multiple medications, diet and lifestyle changes and alternative treatments. Finally, she found a combination of treatments that worked for her. 

“About a year ago, I woke up and was like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe it. I don’t have a headache. I don’t have a migraine, it was almost like an out-of-body experience,” she said. 

It was then she decided she wanted to help others facing migraine, so they didn’t have to go through what she did. Her daughter was diagnosed with migraine when she was nine, which cemented her desire to make a difference. 

“I want to be someplace where my voice can potentially help someone else. Now that my daughter is impacted by it it has become a life mission,” James said. “I always say it’s one thing to experience the pain yourself, but it’s another thing to see your child go through this being helpless.” 

James also wants to help reduce the stigma around migraine. She remembers feeling as if she was doing something wrong when refilling her medications. Pharmacists seem to assume she was a drug addict while downplaying migraine symptoms.

“I feel as if this is contributing to the overall challenge people face and I want to contribute to fixing that stigma,” she said.