Long Island resident Cat Charrett-Dykes has been a long-afflicted migraine sufferer. Chronic migraines can feel like a prison, she says, because when her migraines hit, sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s forced to remain in the dark room of her house, unable to work or interact with friends or family.
After years of suffering from the disease in what felt like total isolation, Cat formed a Chronic Migraine Awareness group on Facebook, after feeling like she could not identify with people in groups for occasional migraine sufferers. Her group now has thousands of members and 15 subgroups all aimed at addressing the issues of chronic migraine sufferers, covering everything from every day hassles to creating access to life-saving treatment options to preventing suicide.
One example: Cat was able to connect one group member with a doctor in Texas who ultimately cured her after she had a stroke-like migraine which had paralyzed half of her face.
Another heart-warming example of the good these groups can do: One of the subgroups, called the Bomb Squad, focuses on targeting one group member at a time while they are ill. Group members send the sick friends well-wishes in the form of wall posts, messages, gifts and cards. The group hopes that by visibly supporting members who are suffering from migraines, the friends and family of the person suffering will understand that migraines are more than just headaches and need to be treated as a true illness.
And yet another subgroup provides social media materials such as memes and links in order to equip members with the information and tools necessary to spread awareness and educate others on the disease.
These Facebook groups gained so much attention from various migraine organizations across the country that Cat started a non-profit, which she currently runs as founder and president along with her executive board. The group will travel to D.C. this April to speak in front of Congress.
If you or a loved one suffers from chronic migraines, check out CatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s group here.