A little while ago I wrote about how I entered and won a writing contest held by the Canadian Pain Coalition. The prize was 250$ and to have your article published on the CPC’s website. Little did I know that wasn’t even the half of it.
About two weeks ago I got an email telling me that I had been personally invited to the first ever Canadian Pain Summit being held in Ottawa. My first thought was that’s awesome but I could never afford to get there let alone pay for room and board. But, that’s the pretty amazing part; they are going to cover all of the expenses. Not only are they going to fly me out, pay for my ground transportation, food and hotel, they are also going to do the the same for my mom. They’re doing this for each of the contest’s winners (one for every province).
I’m not too sure what’s expected of me, so far I think it’s just showing up and supporting the movement for people living in chronic pain. The main goal of the summit is to invoke a National Pain Strategy for Canada similar to one that was passed in Australia in 2009. This would direct more funds to chronic pain education, awareness and treatment along with better access for those in pain to the help that we need. They list one of their core values as being that access to the treatment of pain without discrimination is a fundamental human right. Amen to that.
I’m unbelievably grateful for the opportunity to travel cross-country to Ottawa and participate in the summit. I’m especially thankful that my mom – who has suffered from chronic pain for 12 years – will also get to see and learn from the speakers and presentations featured during the summit. I also can’t wait to come back and share everything I’ve learned with all of you.
Here are some startling facts about chronic pain from the Canadian Pain Coalition’s fact-sheet:
• The cost of pain in Canada is estimated to be about $60 billion dollars; more than the cost of diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
• Chronic pain is associated with the worst quality of life compared with other chronic diseases such as chronic lung or heart disease.
• Veterinarians get 5 times more training in dealing with pain than people doctors and 3 times more than nurses. This is insane. No wonder it’s so hard to get good treatment for pain.