Tomorrow is International Day of Charity, an opportunity to support and promote the charities that further research and treatment for chronic pain. Here are some of our favorite charities that are making a difference in chronic pain.
The American Chronic Pain Association has a two-pronged mission:
- To facilitate peer support and education for individuals with chronic pain and their families so that these individuals may live more fully in spite of their pain.
- To raise awareness among the health care community, policy makers, and the public at large about issues of living with chronic pain.
To accomplish this, they provide resource guides for chronic pain treatment and management, offer a “coping calendar” with gentle reminders and encouragements, and direct chronic pain patients to local healthcare providers.
ACPA also organizes and promotes chronic pain awareness events throughout the year and works hard to reach not only those in pain but also those in power who can make a difference in research focus and funding.
This UK-based charity was formed in 1998 and is run entirely by volunteers. Their mission is to support chronic pain patients and their families with counsel and practical tips and advice. They are independent and apolitical but lobby their lawmakers for funding and research directed towards chronic pain.
The Arthritis Foundation is the only non-profit arthritis organization in the U.S. Promoting awareness and support for the over 100 types of arthritis, the Foundation is an active advocate for arthritis sufferers. They have engaged in 133 bills in 46 states for things like formulary transparency, prior authorization limits, and other bills that deal with long-term care for this chronic condition.
The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America isn’t messing around. Their mission is to cure Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis while improving the daily lives of anyone with these conditions. The Foundation itself funds research studies, provides financial assistance for researchers in their early careers, and focuses their research grants on understudied areas of these diseases. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation also publishes a scientific journal for medical professionals to keep abreast of the latest developments in research and treatments.
The Endometriosis Association is a worldwide network in 66 countries focused on educating doctors, patients, and families about this painful disease while funding research efforts for a cure. Information and resources are offered in 28 different languages. Some of their accomplishments in education and awareness are informational mailings to every gynecologist, hospital, and college health service in the U.S. and Canada and the publication of three books on endometriosis. They have recently partnered with Vanderbilt University School of Medicine to create a research facility dedicated to finding a cure for this disease.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian organization that delivers healthcare to some of the most dangerous places on earth. They are often called to active war zones where each side is ill-defined, performing complicated surgeries and saving lives while surrounded by gunfire. Their mission is to deliver emergency medical aid wherever it is needed, whether that is in a war zone, natural disaster area, or in the middle of an epidemic or outbreak of disease. Doctors Without Borders is sometimes in areas that the Red Cross will not enter, including most recently in international waters to rescue migrants from a sinking ship in the Mediterranean.
The Lupus Foundation of America is the only foundation in the U.S. specifically focused on finding a cure for this disease while raising awareness and increasing quality of life for lupus sufferers and their families.
Their fundraising efforts are specifically directed to programs that help in three areas:
- Decreasing the time it takes to get a diagnosis
- Increasing access to a wide variety of education and treatment options for patients
- Expanding direct services and increasing access to treatments for all patients
Lupus is an invisible illness, and it is important to raise awareness of this disease. The three-pronged approach of education, research, and advocacy is working to help find a cure.
Another invisible illness – fibromyalgia – has a strong advocate in the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA). The NFA withdrew from the spotlight in the years between 2010 and 2013 but has relaunched with a new dedication to providing more resources and support for those living with fibromyalgia. Their new website offers one-on-one support and more comprehensive treatment options. They are very active on social media to help build a community of support among fibro patients and their families, and they continue to sponsor the annual Fibromyalgia Awareness Day.
When choosing a charity to support for the International Day of Charity, figuring out what cause to support is the easy part. Finding a reputable charity that utilizes donations to further the mission (and not line the executives’ pockets) is key to make sure your donated dollars do the most good. For charities in the U.S., we like to use Charity Navigator to find non-profits that are reputable and upstanding. For charities all over the globe, Guidestar is our go-to for information on a foundation’s use of funds. All the best intentions and donated dollars won’t make much difference if the organizations aren’t using your money ethically. Take a moment to search for them on one of the links above for peace of mind.
Which organization will you support on the International Day of Charity?