Dear pain warrior,

2020 was a year of tragedy and heartbreak.

We saw our community struggle in new and unprecedented ways—on top of dealing with daily pain. People suddenly couldn’t access routine care. They became more isolated than ever before. They and family members faced job losses and financial hardship.

As an organization, we had to cancel or postpone our usual in-person programs and events. Several of our staff and volunteers navigated close calls with COVID-19 or the disease itself. Our families faced added strain, whether dealing with virtual school or safety concerns for loved ones in nursing homes.

It’s a year we are all happy to see come to an end.

But as a person with pain, I am always compelled to find silver linings. Even in the darkest of times.

In 2020, we experienced loss, but we also saw progress. We made strides in accessibility, as the health care system finally embraced telehealth and more companies allowed remote work. We witnessed the power of science and innovation with the development of promising treatments and vaccines. We saw neighbors and communities come together to support one another in their time of need.

At U.S. Pain, we found ways to reinvent in-person programs and services, pivoting our pediatric retreat, advocacy training series, INvisible Project state house tour, and local support groups to be available online--and reaching more people as a result.

In fact, we launched more new programs and initiatives in 2020 than ever before, including:

Earlier this week, we announced three new support groups for special populations, and we are nearing completion of a new INvisible Project focused on health care disparities.

Why were we able to do so much, despite such a difficult year? Because people with chronic pain—our community, our volunteers, our staff, and the donors who stand behind us—are resilient.

I don’t know what 2021 will bring; I'm hoping for the best. But I do know that together, we can face anything.

Thank you for your support, and happy new year.
Nicole Hemmenway
U.S. Pain Foundation

What 2020 program was most meaningful to you?
Pain Connection support groups and events
Federal & state advocacy efforts
Pediatric Pain Warrior events
Pain Awareness Month
The INvisible Project
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