People Living with Pain Find Resources & Support with the U.S. Pain Foundation
The mission of U.S. Pain Foundation is to educate, connect, inform and empower those living with pain while also advocating on behalf of the entire pain community. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions and their care providers, U.S. Pain Foundation helps individuals find resources and inspiration.
We are sharing their resources with you today as a benefit for Cure Nation readers as we know many of our followers experience chronic pain.
Living with pain can be really tough. It can take over people’s lives – causing ongoing distraction and frustration, and keep them from doing the things they love. If it is severe enough, pain can prevent people from working and accomplishing basic living activities, such as cooking, cleaning, sleeping, exercising or caring for children and pets.
It’s pretty common for people in the disability community to struggle with chronic pain.
Often, people don’t know where to get help, aside from a prescription to pain medication. The U.S. Pain Foundation was formed just for this reason; because one individual was in search of support, community and hope. So, in 2006, Paul Gileno created a local organization to support people living with pain – and it hasn’t stopped growing since.
U.S. Pain Founder Paul Gileno Wanted to Help Others Like Him
U.S. Pain Foundation shares their history on their website, “In 2003, Paul Gileno was 30 years old, and one of the top chefs and caterers in Connecticut and New York. He’d worked in the food business since he was 13, starting out as a dishwasher and eventually owning his own businesses: a gourmet food store, a catering company, and a small eat-in restaurant.
“He always identified himself as a cook — mostly of Italian and French food — and loved what he did. But one day at work, he was injured while lifting a very light box. Twisting his body as he lifted, his spine broke, and he severed the sciatic nerve.”
From that moment on, everything changed for Paul Gileno. He went from being a highly sought-after chef to a pain patient.
U.S. Pain went national in 2011, but had already been serving the local community for five years as the CT Pain Foundation. Today, the organization has a Facebook community of over 200,000 members and is the leading patient-advocacy organization ensuring that people with pain are heard and validated.
DID YOU KNOW?
• 1 in 3 people live with pain
• Chronic pain affects nearly 100 million Americans (from the Institute of Medicine of The National Academics)
• Pain costs the nation up to $635 billion each year in medical treatments, disability payments and lost productivity
U.S. Pain Foundation is a lifeline for many with pain – a resource that offers support and hope, community, and strength.
The INvisible Project: US Pain Foundation’s flagship program
As the flagship program of U.S. Pain, “the goal of the INvisible Project is to create pain awareness through the photographs and stories of real pain survivors. Chronic pain is an all-encompassing problem that knows no boundaries. It affects the poor and the rich, the young and the old, male and female. No race, class or age is spared from its debilitating hold.”
The INvisible Project validates suffering while highlighting personal strength, character and courage. For those who feel alone or ashamed, it offers hope and inspiration.
The ultimate purpose is to educate society about the toll pain has on an individual while also empowering those who live with pain and illness. It is to make sure those with pain obtain validation, receive proper care, become empowered and find a way to live a meaningful life.
In-person events feature INvisible Project Displays, which tell the stories of real-life people living with pain through photos and quotes. Meet the participants featured in the displays here. Attendees also have the opportunity to hear engaging speakers, connect with others enduring similar experiences and meet organizations dedicated to helping them obtain proper care and receive help.
Supporting Pain Patients Through Resources & Advocacy
Along with their awareness campaigns, U.S. Pain also offers educational and support programs for people living with chronic pain. On their website, patients can find valuable information and peer support – including programs designed to specifically serve pediatric patients and veterans living with pain.
U.S. Pain knows, too, that advocacy is an important component to improving the quality of life for pain patients, and they’re always looking for people who want to get involved. The U.S. Pain Advocacy Network is made up of volunteers who focus on influencing policy by sharing their pain warrior story and perspective.
Want to become an advocate for issues that impact you or your loved ones? See how tyler cashman did just that
By joining U.S. Pain’s Advocacy Network, you’ll be asked to participate in campaigns and initiatives both within your state and at the national level. You’ll also be eligible for special trainings, such as educational webinars and an advocacy summit, to hone your activism skills.
For example, most teenage boys want to spend their free time watching TV and playing video games. But not 14-year-old Tyler Cashman who is a U.S. Pain Foundation advocate. Since 2015, Tyler has worked tirelessly to raise $35,000 for children living with painful, chronic conditions through a unique fundraising and awareness program, Points for Pain. Tyler started the program in collaboration with the U.S. Pain Foundation, the leading nonprofit for both adults and children with chronic pain.
“Since I can’t take away their pain, I wanted to do the next best thing,” said Tyler. “And that is to raise awareness and make children feel included and understood.”
Several times a year, Tyler asks fans at sports games at local schools and colleges to pledge donations based on the number of points their team scores. He speaks to the crowd about chronic pain before the event and then answers questions and passes out materials. All proceeds benefit U.S. Pain’s Pediatric Pain Warriors Program, which offers scholarships for a week-long summer camp for kids with pain and their families in Kentucky; a magazine and gala highlighting the stories of these brave children, called the INvisible Project; and educational events.
Tyler started the program in honor of his mom, Casey, a single parent who lives with several chronic conditions, including a painful neurological disorder, a connective tissue disease and cardiovascular problems. Her health challenges are so significant that, some days, she can’t make it up the stairs of their two-story house.
After talking with Paul Gileno, U.S. Pain Foundation’s founder and president, school administrators, and his mom, Points for Pain was born.
In honor of his efforts, Tyler and Points for Pain were recognized earlier this year during the New York Yankees’ annual HOPE Week, which highlights the contributions of five nonprofits each year. Tyler was surprised by several players — Greg Bird, Chris Carter, Aaron Hicks, Matt Holliday, Bryan Mitchell, Austin Romine and Chasen Shreve — and spent the day at Central Park with them, taking out a rowboat, playing with remote control sailboats and then having a picnic. At the game against Oakland later that night, Tyler threw out the first pitch and was presented with a $10,000 check for Points for Pain.
“We are incredibly proud of Tyler,” said Gileno. “Trying to improve the lives of people with pain can feel like an uphill battle. There is a lot of stigma and misunderstanding—and a serious lack of treatment options and support resources—when it comes to both adults and children. Tyler is a reminder that anyone can make a difference if they put their mind to it.”
To learn more about becoming a US Pain Foundation Advocate, contact their advocacy team below.
About U.S. Pain Foundation
The mission of U.S. Pain Foundation is to educate, connect, inform and empower those living with pain while also advocating on behalf of the entire pain community. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions and their care providers, U.S. Pain Foundation helps individuals find resources and inspiration. For more information, visit www.uspainfoundation.org.
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