Celebrating what we accomplished with the migraine community over the last year, and what’s to come

The American Migraine Foundation is continuing our commitment to raise migraine awareness and empower patients through our online community. In 2019, we made significant strides in creating public awareness of migraine as a serious, debilitating neurological disorder. We would not have been able to accomplish this without the involvement of our patient community and dedicated doctors.

Here’s a look at some of our collective wins in 2019:

Putting a Face on Migraine

An invisible illness, migraine often goes under the radar. Our social media campaign, “What Migraine Looks Like,” aimed to elevate the patient voice by inviting real people to share their migraine stories and pictures. People living with migraine responded with honest, courageous answers. The result? A collection of moving stories that our community could share to shine a light on how migraine affects those living with it.

The 4th Annual Migraine Moment Short Film Contest offered people the opportunity to share the migraine experience through a creative short film. This year’s winner was Shannon Rody. Her submission, “Mind Craft,” told the story of living with chronic migraine through the eyes of her young son, Rowan. As part of her prize, Rody also had a chance to spread this message to healthcare professionals at the American Headache Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting and to patients via a highly-engaging Facebook Live.

Helping to Start the Conversation

In our continuing mission to empower people living with migraine, we hosted a Facebook Live event and compiled an article about navigating migraine in the workplace. In this guide, Dr. Elizabeth Leroux of the University of Calgary shared techniques for negotiating reasonable workplace accommodations. We also published a guide—”Talking to Your Doctor about Migraine“—to help people start the conversation with their healthcare providers. This guide is intended to help people get the care they need.

Additionally, we hosted a Modeling Migraine Conversations Facebook Live event with Dr. Dawn Buse of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Buse shared specific examples of what to say when starting the conversation about migraine with loved ones.

Inspiring Advocacy During MHAM and Beyond

In June, AMF joined forces with our partners to expand the reach of advocacy efforts for this year’s Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Throughout the month, AMF hosted several Facebook Live events. These events featured some of our patient advocates sharing their stories and offering helpful tips on self-advocacy, building a support team, and more. We also shared advocacy tips and encouraged people to speak out for themselves and the community as a whole.

Joining the global Giving Tuesday movement, AMF partnered with our community members to share how migraine can keep people from experiencing some of life’s most important moments. By humanizing the disease, we hope to encourage donations in support of the important research needed to fight migraine.

Enlisting a Spokesperson

A vital part of our advocacy movement was naming Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, as AMF spokesperson. Mr. Cramer is one of the more than 37 million Americans living with migraine. His commitment to AMF’s mission will help increase awareness surrounding the impact of migraine.

“If I can help even one person find relief, then I know I will have made a big difference,” Mr. Cramer says. “No one living with this disease should have to suffer the pain that is migraine alone.”

Elevating Migraine to the Global Stage

As part of our ongoing Move Against Migraine campaign, we launched a migraine awareness series in New York’s Times Square. The series worked to bring migraine out of the shadows. It featured bold imagery, personal stories and real people living with migraine. Reaching an average of 380,000 pedestrians from all over the world every day, we were able to further spread awareness about this debilitating disease.

This year, World Brain Day focused on migraine, and AMF helped the World Federation of Neurology spread the word. We included World Brain Day in our Times Square billboard to generate awareness of the initiative. We also used our social reach to promote the World Brain Day webinar, online toolkit and social story sharing opportunity.

AMF also maintained a strong presence at the Global Patient Advocacy Summit II in Dublin. AMF Chairman Dr. David Dodick of Mayo Clinic moderated several of the discussion panels and introduced many of the panelists, including AMF Executive Director Nim Lalvani. Ms. Lalvani participated in a panel discussion about accelerating local advocacy movements, based on AMF’s successes.

With everything we’ve accomplished in 2019, we can’t wait to see what 2020 brings. We’re looking forward to another year of bringing migraine out of the shadows and further into the spotlight.

Together, we are as relentless as migraine.