Warrior Advisory Board
Our migraine warrior advisory board members are people from our community who are making a difference in the lives of others who live with migraine, cluster and other headache disorders. We meet monthly to discuss topics and projects that Miles for Migraine is working on to continue bringing the community programming which fosters reduced stigma and isolation, and empowers all to understand why advocacy is a vital facet in the treatment of migraine and headache.
Sara was diagnosed with migraine disease 28 years ago, the year she graduated from college. She was also diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases in her twenties, making identifying symptoms, triggers, and treatments increasingly elusive in the early years. Her migraines became more frequent, and she began noticing the stigma associated with migraine, especially in the workplace. Shortly after ending up in the ER during a business trip, she was laid off from a non-profit position working in marketing for an animal rescue organization. She always wondered if it had something to do with her migraines but was thankful for the experience and longed to continue working in nonprofit management. In her early thirties, thanks to very supportive professors at the University of San Francisco, she graduated with an MBA - in the top 20% of her class. While in school, she was able to participate in Vince’s Ride, a 1,000 mile journey by bicycle across the United Kingdom, from Lands End to John O’Groats, to raise money for cystic fibrosis. Then her migraines became daily, and she lost her job and was denied private and federal disability payments. Five years ago she was diagnosed with celiac disease, then lost another job, and was denied private disability payments again.
But when things seemed at their worst, she connected with other patients and advocates via the internet. This vast network of smart, caring people became “online migraine buddies” - people who still offer constant support and friendship. She launched herself into migraine advocacy and started raising money for and attending Miles for Migraine in 2013 and Headache on the Hill in 2015. She also has two blogs - a migraine related blog called Painfully Positive and a celiac disease blog called Gluten Free Beer Babe. It’s a day-to-day struggle, but Sara is still working thanks to a friend who has helped with multiple accommodations for her health. Currently, she is the Controller for an architecture firm in Northern California, volunteers on the Supervisory Committee for a local credit union, and lives with her ten-year old rescue dog Bella. It’s an honor and a delight to now volunteer on Miles for Migraine’s Warrior Board.
Katie M. Golden is a professional patient, writer, and advocate for those living with migraine, headache and cluster diseases. When she turned 30 her episodic migraine attacks became a chronic, everyday occurrence. This debilitating disease ended her career in finance. She found purpose in writing honestly about the challenges of living a fulfilled life with chronic pain and quickly pivoted to become a leading patient opinion leader.
As well as serving on the Miles for Migraine Warrior Advisory Board, Katie also serves as the Director of Patient Relations for CHAMP (Coalition For Headache And Migraine Patients), staff writer for Migriane.com, consulting editor for the INvisible Project and Migraine Advocacy Liaison for the U.S. Pain Foundation. She also writes on her own blog - GoldenGraine.com, where she lives by the manta, "Never Let Your Pain Go To Waste".
"It's so important to me to attend as many Miles for Migraine events as I can. It's special to see the connections that are formed and the realization that you are not alone - all while raising awareness and money to a great cause."
I, Katie Moran, have had Chronic Migraine for twelve years, going on thirteen years, serving on the Warrior Advisory Board has given me more power to get things done. As a group, we collaborate with each other and we work together to find ways to get message out that migraine is a disease. We educate others, we teach them how to advocate for themselves and for migraine. We are starting to break down the stigma behind migraine and we are all dedicated to continuing until migraine gets the recognition that it deserves. I serve on this board to help other learn about migraine, to support those that have migraine, as well as to represent different communities at events such as walks/runs as well as Education Days. I do this because we want to reach out to these communities and change their perception of migraine, if we can reach one hundred or seven hundred people, reaching any amount of participants is important. As we do this, our migraine community groups will grow, and that is how a movement is created.
Sarah Rathsack is a patient, writer and creator of the blog My Migraine Life. She has lived with migraine since age 5 and became chronic in her 20s. Sarah retired from being an intervention specialist for children with severe needs to be a stay at home mom. During this time, she started her blog to explain all the challenges that migraine brings to herself and family. Her advocacy has grown each year and her impact has reached well beyond her blog.
Now, as a preschool teacher and migraine advocate, Sarah helps many in many ways. She serves on the Miles for Migraine Warrior Advisory Board and has fundraised thousands of dollars for Miles for Migraine. She was the top fundraiser, largest team and received an award for being a warrior advocate participating and speaking in Cincinnati and Cleveland while walking in Phoenix. She has more trips planned to support Miles for Migraine throughout the country and wants to focus on bringing communities together while raising funds for important migraine research and grants.
This year, Sarah was featured in a video highlighting her work with Miles for Migraine and beyond named “Meet Me at the Races.” She is also an American Migraine Foundation partner and you will find her writing on various advocacy websites.
Michelle L. Tracy is a preschool teacher turned Patient Advocate whose mission is to empathize, educate, and empower the millions of people living with migraine disease. Diagnosed with chronic migraine disease at 19, Michelle began writing as a way to process her pain. She created The Migraine Warrior Blog and its companion Facebook page where she has curated a valuable resource full of personal stories, cutting-edge research, advocacy opportunities, and more.
Drawing on her English degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst as well as her studies of psychology and mindfulness, Michelle is a blogger, freelance writer, and speaker. In addition to serving as a member of the Miles for Migraine Warrior Advisory Board, she sits on the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Leadership Council, and partners with The American Migraine Foundation as a Moderator for their Move Against Migraine Facebook support group. She also collaborates with The Association of Migraine Disorders, Shades For Migraine, The Alliance for Headace Disorders Advocacy, The Coalition for Headache and Migraine Patients (CHAMP), The U.S. Pain Foundation, My Chronic Brain, and Chronic Migraine Awareness Inc.
"As a member of the Miles for Migraine Warrior Advisory Board, I have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most brilliant people in the Migraine and Headache Disorders Community. The flow of ideas, creativity, and enthusiasm during board meetings paired with the lived experience, wisdom, and leadership skills of each member provides me with a sense of gratitude, community, and hope. My goal is to carry this feeling with me to Miles for Migraine events. It is such a privilege to witness the creation and strengthening of connections as people look around the conference room or the race course and see that they’re not alone."
Jamie Valendy is a writer and patient advocate who lives with chronic migraine and persistent post-traumatic headache. She serves as a board member on the Miles for Migraine Patient Advisory Board, as a moderator on the Move Against Migraine Facebook page, and as a participant at Headache on the Hill.
She shares her journey on her blog, Chronic Migraine Warrior, and has had the opportunity to speak at RetreatMigraine. Jamie believes that there is power in sharing our stories, making connections, and coming together as one voice to reduce stigma, increase education and research, and improve the quality of life for all those living with migraine and other headache disorders.
Michele is an Aromatherapist who is an active member in several aromatherapy associations. She teaches internationally on essential oil uses and safety as well as how to eliminate toxic products from one’s life.
She openly shares her personal struggle with chronic migraine and has become well known in the headache community. She is a Patient Advisory board member of MFM and Patient Leadership Council of the National Headache Foundation and was a former board member of American Headache and Migraine Association. For several years, she has participated in speaking to her legislators during the Headache on the Hill event in Washington DC.
Alicia was diagnosed with chronic Vestibular Migraine in 2016 after seeing multiple doctors that misdiagnosed her symptoms for months. Eventually losing her career to VM, she created The Dizzy Cook as a way to help others who were struggling to follow a strict migraine diet, and develops delicious head-friendly recipes while sharing her personal journey to recovery. Alicia’s focus is on presenting evidence-based natural treatments, along with finding relief through the joy of cooking. Her cookbook The Dizzy Cook: Managing Migraine with More Than 90 Recipes and Lifestyle Tips was released last April on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target.
Alicia is heavily involved in the migraine community as she currently writes for “Migraine Again” and “Migraine Strong.” She also is the food editor for “My Chronic Brain” and plans local Dallas events for the migraine community through the national non-profit, Miles for Migraine. She is also a member of their patient advisory board. As an Ambassador for the Vestibular Disorder Association, Alicia continues to spread awareness about Vestibular Migraine by working with patients and advocates.