By Gracie Bagosy-Young
Editor’s Note- Saturday August 13, the Midwest Pain Treatment Education Expo was held near Chicago. It started three years ago as an idea by chronic pain activist Gracie Bagosy-Young. Here’s how she summarized this year’s event.
This annual event was conceived from my irritation with the fact that there were no pain patient events in the Midwest. Did I complain? Nope! Instead, I created a survey on Survey Monkey and sent it out to the pain patients in the Midwest and asked them what they would like to see in a conference. What do they like about other conferences? What do they hate? I used that info and combined it with my knowledge from the corporate world to take action. I hate that pain patients feel victim to their insurance companies. There are so many treatment options available to us that insurance doesn’t cover, and we are not always being informed of those options. I aim to house as many different treatment options under one roof at this conference.
When I first started on this mission, MANY told me no. The roadblocks were huge. I was a single mother of two beautiful daughters living in a tiny apartment in Iowa. I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (RSD/CRPS) and Lyme Disease. My personal challenges are big without this! Those that told me no only made me want it more! I run quite a few virtual support groups and I know that the need for more information exists. I actually cried as I drove from hotel to hotel that first year, rejection after rejection, one gigantic price tag after another, until I finally found one that would work for us. My determination has never dwindled.
Here we are, 4 years later. We have just completed our 3rd annual Expo. This year, we partnered with the U.S. Pain Foundation. For the third year in a row, this event has exceeded expectations. We had 227 people come out to join us and we streamed it online to 2,123 people around the world. Our attendees had an awesome problem this year: they couldn’t decide if our speakers or our exhibitors were better! We had an extremely diverse group of exhibitors, with AVACEN, Team HOPE doTERRA Advocates, InterX Therapy, TELA Medical, and Lights & Health Wellness offering FREE treatments right on the spot! Our speakers were some of the most well-respected in the Midwest!
I am so proud! I am proud of the pain patients that braved their way to the Expo despite their pain. I am proud of the “rockstar” caretakers that stand by their side to get them there! I am proud of our amazing speakers! I am proud of the 21 diverse exhibitors that we drew in! I am proud of the unbelievable number of donors and financial sponsors! I am proud of the army of volunteers that I have helping me! I am proud of the number of doctors and nurses that our patient education event is attracting-wow!! I am proud of the number of viewers streaming the event from home!
Our 4th Annual Midwest Pain Treatment Expo will be on August 12th, 2017 at the Hilton Hotel in Northbrook, IL. (Sponsors-you can contact me now!)
Never doubt that you have power, disabled or not. You can still make big dreams come to life!