Spotlight on our moderators’ excellent advocacy and education work
Part of the mission of the American Migraine Foundation is to empower those living with migraine. We launched an online-based community group to do that—and more! Our Move Against Migraine Facebook group, also known as MAM, is a platform for those living with migraine to become their own advocates, understand treatment options, discover resources for managing migraine symptoms and connect with others who live with the debilitating disease.
The cornerstone of our online community is our team of moderators. They are the teachers, guides, resource providers, advocates and leaders that have elevated the MAM group into a community. With over 20,000 group members, our 14 moderators help members to further understand this debilitating disease. Read on to learn more about 7 of our moderators!
Move Against Migraine Moderators
Eileen first experienced migraine at age 5. Her lifelong migraine journey has brought her to advocate for those living with migraine on many fronts, including the American Headache and Migraine Association (AHMA), Clusterbusters, Chronic Migraine Awareness, Inc., RetreatMigraine by CHAMP and moderating the MAM group.
Eileen became a moderator because she believes in AMF’s mission and wanted to help support it. She’s created many friendships because of MAM and enjoys the supportive environment of the group. “Occasionally someone will come to MAM in crisis, and we’re able to offer them support to get through hard times,” Eileen said. “This work is really important to me.”
Migraine first impacted David in his early teens, and now lives with it chronically. Despite his migraine, David still remains active with his family and his church. “Men are much less likely to suffer from migraine than women,” David said. “I seek to help all who suffer from migraine because everyone deserves a voice.”
In the MAM group, David found a community eager to learn and advocate. He became a moderator to help empower members, as moderators had once done for him. “We have a fantastic group of capable and supportive moderators who do a wonderful job of spreading awareness and giving migraine sufferers a place where they are understood,” said David. “I wanted to contribute in a way where I could help the community and connect with others who share this disease and struggle. I’ve seen many people at low points in their lives get buoyed up and supported by our incredible community.”
For over 20 years, Carly has not gone more than 10 days without a migraine. She joined the MAM group to find support as a mother with migraine. “There were so many times I felt like a failure of a mother because I could not be there when my son needed me,” Carly said. “As a moderator, I want to support others that feel the same way I did.”
One purpose of the MAM group is to help make migraine feel less isolating. Carly lives in a small town, and a local resident reached out to her after learning Carly was a moderator. “She let me know that her migraine had left her feeling alone and isolated,” Carly said. “Knowing that I lived near her, she said she did not feel so alone anymore.”
After a series of misdiagnoses, Rachel’s migraine developed from episodic to chronic. After over thirty years of migraine, she now advocates for those living with the condition. “I rarely shared my migraine disability out of fear of judgment and disbelief of the severity of my pain,” Rachel said. “It’s my goal to reduce migraine stigma and to be an example of perseverance for my children.”
Shortly after joining MAM as a group member, Rachel knew she wanted to do more to reduce stigma and guide the conversation toward education and awareness to help those struggling with migraine find the help they need. “MAM is the first community I found where I knew others understood me,” Rachel said. “Perhaps the most rewarding contributions I feel I have made is when a team of us moderators came together to act quickly when a member had expressed suicidal ideations. We made sure they sought help from a professional.”
Since starting at age 5, migraine has had a large impact on Sharron’s life. In her early 40s, her attacks increased in frequency, and she was diagnosed with chronic migraine and medication-overuse headache. While she had to leave the career she loved, a combination of biofeedback, meditation, preventative medication, acupuncture and healthy lifestyle changes have helped her manage her migraine, reducing its frequency to “episodic.”
When Sharron’s disease became chronic, education helped her turn her life around. Being a MAM moderator allows her to share her knowledge and continue learning about this debilitating disease. “Every time I post an article or a comment and receive a thank you note or someone says how much it helped them, I am overwhelmed and grateful for this opportunity,” Sharron said.
Tammy’s earliest memories include watching her dependable, hardworking father cope with migraine. Migraine has been a constant in Tammy’s life, affecting her as she completed her education, got married and raised her family. Chronic migraine and cluster headache forced Tammy to leave her career, so she began her advocacy work. Tammy writes for online health publications, volunteers for migraine advocacy groups and partnered with Teri Roberts to create MigraineDisease.com.
When MAM launched, Tammy knew she wanted to be involved. “I have a responsibility to tell my story, to share the knowledge others shared with me and to pay it forward for the next generation of migraine advocates,” Tammy said. One of her primary roles in MAM is crisis intervention. “Migraine takes a toll on all of us sooner or later,” said Tammy. “Whenever one of our members is struggling, our team reaches out to offer support and encouragement. Watching their hope return is the most rewarding part of my work.”
Chris first experienced migraine as a teen. Now 60, her migraine has evolved throughout her life: first, it was sporadic, then hormonal, then chronic and now hemiplegic. Chris joined the MAM group after she was diagnosed with hemiplegic migraine. With migraine misinformation common on the internet, Chris turned to the Move Against Migraine group, where she found AMF resources, a supportive community and more. “The page has been a literal lifeline for me,” Chris said.
Chris enjoys moderating because she sees the outpouring of support given to members in need. When a group member posted while in despair, and Chris and the other moderators worked together to keep her engaged. “We helped see her through her grief and pain until it was clear she had turned a corner,” Chris said. “She has since become a strong advocate for migraine sufferers.”
These moderators work with the rest of the team to lead those living with migraine to better lives. Other MAM moderators include Michelle Tracy, Teri Robert, Catherine Archibald, Amy Louise, Jamie Valendy, Renee Russell and Wendy Purtle Bohmfalk. We are so proud of the work you all do for the migraine community.
Our support group, Move Against Migraine, is a community for those living with migraine to access resources, connect with others, understand treatment options and more. Learn how to join the group here.