In describing her personal experience with migraines to the Today show, Cindy McCain compared it to having a vise or nail digging into her forehead. Her appearance on the show marks the beginning of her campaign to raise $36 million for migraine research.
Commenting on the urgent need to raise more money for migraines, which affect 12% of US citizens, she expresses, “It affects our economy. It affects our daily life. It affects our school children. Everything is involved in this.”
Migraines make it almost impossible to work or even care for your own needs, as persisting headache pain, nausea, and extreme fatigue offer virtually no respite from the suffering.
And migraine stigma carries its own brand of suffering, as close friends and family have no way to understand the amount of “indescribable pain” you’re experiencing, as she puts it.
“They want so much for you to feel well and they don’t understand it,” she said.
As spokesperson for the 36 Million Migraine Campaign, supported by the American Migraine Foundation (AMF), she hopes to raise one dollar for each of the 36 million people in the US who suffer from migraines.
But even that number won’t cut it, says the AMF. To effectively fund migraine research, the National Institutes of Health would require annual proceeds of $260 million, a windfall compared to the $16 million they currently receive in one year.
Ms. McCain has always been an avid advocate for migraine awareness. Since her early days of campaigning alongside her husband Senator John McCain in his bid for presidential election, she has been open about her constant struggles with excruciating migraine attacks that would often pop up at the worst moments, even taking her message to Capitol Hill.
In 2004 she suffered a stroke, a dreaded comorbid occurrence with migraine disorder. (Read Cindy McCain Gives Voice to Migraine Syndrome)
“If you saw me in pictures with sunglasses on, I wasn’t trying to be aloof,” she says. “I had a migraine.”
Her unwavering commitment to migraine research is commendable. Using her connections at Capitol Hill, she pledges to spend the next two years raising funds and awareness for the 36 Million Migraine Campaign, affirming, “Nothing is going to change unless we rattle the cages.”
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