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Jamie Valendy Advocacy Story

Jamie Valendy’s Advocacy Story

Jamie Valendy’s advocacy story is written and told by Jamie Valendy and edited by Miles for Migraine team.  Miles for Migraine’s Advocacy Stories highlights the many different ways that health advocacy shows up as individuals advocate for themselves and others. This project is not limited to migraine and other headache disorders, nor is it limited to individuals that personally experience a health condition. You can read more from Jamie at Chronic Migraine Warrior blog and social.

Jamie Valendy’s Advocacy Story

While flying home from a headache advocacy event, my seatmate began to engage in conversation with me.  He asked me what kind of work I did and I replied that I was unable to work due to health reasons.  An awkward pause followed and the conversation stalled. I felt unsettled, even a little gutted, something I have felt before.  It was a familiar feeling.  People often do not know how to respond to my answer to not being able to work, when I look perfectly healthy. But this time, I felt a push. I turned and told my seatmate that I did not like how the conversation was going. Then, I asked if could start over.

Jamie’s Story made a Difference

With pride, I told him that I am a patient advocate working to improve the lives of people living with headache disorders. I felt a huge weight had been lifted! The conversation continued, and I was able to share that I was on my way home from a Headache on the Hill event, where I joined with other advocates to meet with the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators. The other advocates and I were able to share our stories about the impact headache disease has had on our lives.  We advocate for awareness of and support for people having headache disease. We also ask for funding for research in the field of headache disorders.

By being able to revise my initial response to my seatmate’s question about my work, I felt better about myself and I believe he was able to see me as a person with an important job to do.  I am much more than somebody who is unable to work a typical job. I can and do still make a difference.

Advocacy Stories collage

Tell your Advocacy Story

Do you have an advocacy story to tell? What is one of the most memorable advocacy experiences in your headache disease journey/daily life? Try to recall a time when you practiced advocacy. Perhaps you shared your story, posted on social media, or attended an advocacy event such as Headache on the Hill or a Miles for Migraine event. Looking back on that experience, what did you notice? Did you experience a negative moment such as shame, stigma, or a positive moment such as joy, hope, or relief? If there was conflict, did you resolve it or was it a conflict that still affects you today? If the outcome was positive, how did that make you feel? Did the outcome cause you to advocate again for yourself? How has your most memorable story shaped you today? There is no right or wrong way to share your story.


Are you inspired by these advocacy stories and want to donate to  Miles for Migraine? All or part of your donation may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution. Please consult with your tax advisor. Funds raised help with our operational costs so that we can continue to produce races and youth camp events. Money raised through donations and race registrations goes directly to medical organizations researching migraine.

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