Katie Moran’s Advocacy Story
Katie Moran’s advocacy story is written and told by Katie Moran 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.
Katie Moran’s Advocacy Story
I first signed up to volunteer with Miles for Migraine in 2019. Since I was new to the organization and I would be helping run future events, I set out with Helen Flood, the Miles for Miles Event Coordinator, to attend my first Miles for Migraine Run/Walk/Relax Event. Decked out in my all purple attire, the color that represents migraine and headache disease—purple Miles for Migraine t-shirt, purple leggings, and of course my purple tutu—I met Helen bright and early to head to the event.
But Helen had some bad news— the patient advocate for the event had to cancel because of a severe migraine. I was shocked when she asked if I would stand in as the patient advocate for the event and give a speech to the 200+ participants. I answered of course, but inside I had doubts. Never had I attended an event and I didn’t even know what patient advocates even speak about! After a short car ride to the event, I planned what I was going to say about my migraine journey. I wondered how I could make something so personal appeal to such a large audience.
Katie’s Story Made a Difference
At the event, it felt like a big family, with so many friends and families talking to each other, smiling and laughing and enjoying themselves. But my reverie was cut short by Helen’s announcement that the event was starting. My stomach churned as I headed to the stage, and Helen assured me to just be myself. I channeled my inner strength and desire to make Helen and Miles for Migraine proud. I spoke from the heart and told my migraine story—a story that I had practiced many times in my head, but never thought I would tell to complete strangers.
Not wanting to tell them of my struggles—depression, sadness, being on disability, leaving my job—but that was my story. I spoke with honesty and conviction, sharing my journey, and speaking about the importance of advocating for migraine disease. Everyone I told, started their own advocacy journey that day just by participating in the event. I was taking my advocacy journey one step further by telling my story out loud.
How Advocacy Made Katie Feel
After I finished, I was blown away by how many people sought me out to tell me that my story had started a fire within them – that they were going to practice their story and bravely start to share it too. So many people shared that they wanted to continue to advocate as well. It was powerful to connect to a community of people with so many shared experiences and challenges, yet be reminded that many of us continue to feel isolated and alone because of the invisibility and stigma around migraine disease. Even though I was nervous to share my migraine story initially, I left the event feeling so empowered in my migraine journey and full of gratitude for the opportunity to connect to and inspire so many in the migraine community.
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.
What is the Advocacy Stories project? The Miles for Migraine Advocacy Stories project highlights your everyday advocacy moments, interactions, and experiences. There are many different ways that health advocacy shows up as individuals advocate for themselves and others in everyday encounters. We want to share and amplify these stories. What is advocacy? Advocacy is an…
This Giving Tuesday, see your donation in action. Miles for Migraine empowers people living with migraine to live full and productive lives by reducing stigma and advancing research, education, and treatment. This year, we have partnered with 24 headache centers across the country to fund and steward fellows training for a specialty in migraine disease.…