Why I'm Running for Migraine Research Foundation

I briefly mentioned in my last blog that I'm going to run the 2016 NYC Marathon for a charity called the Migraine Research Foundation. I was rejected by the NYC Marathon lottery five years in a row. Scot was selected this year, so the only way I could join him is to run for charity. It's been a while since I raised any significant amount of money to run for charity. I did this for the 2005 Mardi Gras Marathon, the 2005 Dublin Marathon, and the 2006 Marine Corps Marathon. Since then, I've always just entered races as a regular participant, registering before the deadline, or being lucky enough to be selected in the race's lottery. But now I had to select a charity if I wanted to run NYC Marathon this year.

Yay - I'm coming for you in November, NYC Marathon!

After receiving my lottery rejection email, I looked through the listing of NYC Marathon charity partners. There are so many! Some are big, well-known organizations, and some are smaller charities. And they have differing fundraising commitments, though the minimum seems to be $2,500. I looked at all of them, and finally found a smaller charity that clicked for me. The Migraine Research Foundation is based in NY and provides grants to researchers who are looking for treatments and cures for migraine headaches. Suffering from these headaches myself, it was a cause I could truly feel good about supporting.

Fundraising Link Here

When I signed up for the charity program a couple weeks ago, I was in the process of getting a new series of acupuncture treatments for my headaches. I had started getting them more frequently, and they were really interfering with my job and my other responsibilities. No one likes pain, and I won't minimize anyone else's experience with pain, but I think that it can be much harder to work around pain if it's your head that is affected. It's difficult to concentrate, so that makes reading, listening and talking to people challenging. It's difficult to move, even if the rest of your body is functioning as normal. And lately, my migraines seem to be more than just the pain. I'm now getting some nausea and vertigo. But two weeks after the acupuncture treatments, and things were going well...until last weekend.

On Thursday morning I woke up with a headache, but it wasn't the worst on the severity scale, so I went in to work. I wasn't feeling great, but I could function. Until I couldn't. For some reason, after lunch I was overtaken by a wave of very bad nausea and dizziness, unlike anything I'd ever had. I went home and spent the rest of the day laying on my back, unable to get up and move around, unable to eat, with no ability to read something to keep my mind occupied, and no tolerance for the television either. I was not sleepy, so I stayed awake, bored out of my mind and in great pain and discomfort. I took a new prescription medication that my doctor had just given me. It did nothing at all, and I was afraid to take another drug too soon.

How I feel with a migraine

In the midst of this horrible migraine evening, I had to cancel my trip planned for the following morning. I was going to meet Abbi to run the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon in Illinois. I had been looking forward to seeing my friend, visiting a new city, and running this race. And I had to cancel it, because there was no way I was capable of traveling by 6:00 AM.

Friday morning as I said goodbye to my weekend plans, I did take the other drug. And I did feel a little better. The nausea and vertigo went away, and the pain lessened, but never went away 100%. I didn't feel like going out anywhere, didn't feel like running, cooking, doing any of the chores that I needed to do. I sat around all weekend doing nothing of value, feeling cabin fever, missing my friend and the race I wanted to run. Now it's Monday and I'm back at work, but still only feeling about 80%.

And that's how it is with chronic migraines. Some drugs help, sometimes, but most don't help me at all. Treatments like acupuncture can help over time, but they're not guaranteed. I don't want to sit on my butt doing nothing, but I also can't move, for fear of making it worse. I don't want to miss work when I don't need to. I don't want to feel like it hurts too much to get up and open a can of tuna for the cats, so they only get dry food that night.

And this is why I know that I chose the right charity in my quest to run the NYC Marathon. And now that you've read my very recent, very painful story of my personal experience with this awful condition, I will ask if you would please consider donating to my fundraiser for Migraine Research Foundation. I'll keep trying to take care of myself, and together we can help the foundation raise funds to help others. No amount is too small. Why not a symbolic $26.20 to signify the number of miles I'll run in NYC this November?

And of course, many thanks to my dear friends (and even a couple folks I don't know very well) for donating so far. Last week I surpassed a major hurdle, and together we have raised over $1,000. I appreciate you for understanding why this cause means something to me, and for supporting my dream of running the NYC Marathon this year. Thank you!


  1. Migraines suck. I've had them since I was 9 years old. I've run with them, missed races, work and other fun adventures due to them, but life goes on... I can't wait to get together and catch up. Take care! Abbi.

    1. And I'll be so close to you in a few weeks. I'll be in Columbus for the Capital City Half the day before Flying Pig.


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