Jenn Heater Wears her Tshirt to Advocate
Jenn Heater’s advocacy story is written and told by Jenn 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.
Jenn Heater’s Advocacy Story
“Is that another migraine t-shirt?” she asked, laughing as I grabbed the package from the pile of mail that I had thumped down on the table.
There was good reason to suspect that. My migraine tee-shirt collection is as vast as it is comfy. I have them in a variety of colors, lots of different slogans and pictures but all share one thing—they help me in my advocacy journey.
When we talk about advocacy, people’s minds often go straight to the political, but there are so many different forms that advocacy can take. You can share a meme with your friends, do a support group, attend a Miles for Migraine Event online or register for a race, or you can wear a migraine tee-shirt.
When I wear a migraine shirt, I consider myself an ambassador for our community. I often get comments about my shirt in the form of: “Oh I have terrible migraine attacks” or my sister/aunt/cousin gets them.” Whenever that happens I say oh, we have a wonderful community, there are so many organizations that can help, here’s my card. I’ve had so many amazing conversations with people letting them know they are not alone and there are so many resources out there for individuals with migraine.
My career before I got sick was in Government Relations and Public Policy. I love that form of advocacy and I am glad I am able to engage in it again through programs like Headache on the Hill and through the work of the Headache and Migraine Policy Forum. But there truly is a place in advocacy for everyone, a way for you to engage and tell your story. So put on that tee-shirt. Let’s get to advocating.
Tell your Advocacy Story
Do you have an advocacy story to tell like Jenn Heater’s advocacy story? 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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