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A child’s life of chronic pain

A child’s life of chronic pain

Rowan Rody, a 10-year-old from Halfmoon Bay, has trouble remembering what life felt like before the pain. He’s spent the last two years of his life battling the chronic migraine he contracted as a consequence of Lyme disease, with his family and community at his side.
Rowan and his family are one of the 10 individuals and families featured in the newest “INvisible Project”, a magazine and traveling display that highlights the experiences of real people living with chronic pain conditions. The stories are shared with other patients to offer hope and education. They’re also shared with the general public, health care providers, and even policymakers as a way to create awareness about struggles of life with chronic illness, which so often occur behind closed doors.
The latest edition of the “INvisible Project”, released in June, focuses on 10 unique individuals, including Rowan. All participants candidly share their personal struggles and triumphs in their quest to manage their neurological disease, for which there is no cure – yet. According to the World Health Organization, migraine disorders are considered to be the second-most debilitating condition worldwide.

Being so young adds complications to a disease that’s already not well understood: less research is done on pediatric patients, and it can be difficult for Rowan to put into words what he’s experiencing. But his parents are steadfast in their drive to find answers and support him in the things he can still do, like extensive LEGO builds and art, which helps him communicate what he’s going through when words are difficult. When he feels up to it, he also loves hiking, biking, and swimming in the ocean.
“This kind of chronic pain is difficult for even an adult to deal with,” says Nicole Hemmenway, CEO of U.S. Pain Foundation. “Rowan’s story illustrates how pain impacts the entire family, and the unique challenges faced by young pain warriors – and the special courage they hone as they learn to live their best life despite chronic illness.”
To read the latest issue and order a free copy, visit
(The mission of the non-profit U.S. Pain Foundation is to empower, educate, connect, and advocate for individuals living with chronic illness that causes pain.)

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