Katie M. Golden
Miles for Migraine WarriorAdvisory Board Member
In the early morning hours, the buzz begins as participants arrive. Many are decked out in purple, the official color of migraine awareness. Purple wigs, tutus, and makeup have become a way for participants to have a little fun as they raise money and awareness for a very serious and underserved disease.
Bonds form very quickly among strangers as people share their migraine journeys. Walking through the crowd, the words “I thought that was just me” or “I know exactly what you mean” can be heard often.
The 11-year-old non-profit designs each event around the needs of those living with migraine. People can participate by running a 10K or 5K, walking two miles, or just relaxing with others. Exercise can be triggering for some with migraine, so there isn’t any pressure to put on running shoes.
A “quiet tent” is onsite for anyone who may develop a migraine attack or needs a place to relax. The art booth isn’t just for kids, as so many with migraine use arts and crafts as a distraction from the pain. Patient advocates and local headache specialists rally the crowd, reminding them why showing up is a huge step in fighting the stigma surrounding migraine and other headache disorders.
Miles for Migraine was founded by Eileen Jones, a registered nurse who lives with migraine and was inspired to raise money for this underfunded disease. Executive director and Philadelphia native, Shirley Kessel has chronic migraine as do two of her daughters. She is determined to make a difference for future generations, even if that means wearing a purple tutu in order to make some noise about migraine.
“Attending a Miles for Migraine event isn’t just about fundraising. It’s about community. It’s about advocating for better care. It’s about changing public perception and creating change,” says Kessel.
Eighteen run/walk/relax events will be held across the nation this year. Through 2018, Miles for Migraine has donated $633,000 to headache disorders research, patient care, and public awareness.