Inaugural Participants

Karin has been living with a multitude of chronic pain conditions for over thirty years. She has fibromyalgia, diabetes and severe back pain daily and overcame cancer twice. Just last November, she was fortunate enough to receive her service dog, Lucky from NEADS: (Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans)... Read More >

Karin Boyce
Karin Boyce

For thirteen years, Stephen Brilliant has had RSDS, a neurological and chronic pain disorder that affects his left foot. Refusing to let his condition control his life, Stephen continues to run his own business, is a part-time adjunct professor, and coordinates a RSD support group called, Living with RSDS... Read More >

Stephen Brilliant
Stephen Brilliant

Denise Coleman has lived with chronic pain for over forty years. Despite various back surgeries and a multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1997, she was motivated to obtain a Bachelor and Master’s Degree. As her physical limitations increased, she retired from a career in higher education. Denise now commits her time to fighting chronic pain through education and outreach... Read More >

Denise Coleman
Denise Coleman

With the vague classification of progressive neuromuscular disorder, Wendy Foster has been living with an undiagnosed pain condition for over eighteen years. It has been a challenge to control her pain since doctors have to treat symptomatically. Before receiving her service dog Alli, she did not feel fully validated or understood by the medical community... Read More >

Wendy Foster
Wendy Foster

Bianca Henriquez was nineteen when diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disease, in 2008. Taking a proactive approach, Bianca first researched information at the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation before deciding upon a treatment plan. She made sure she listened to her body... Read More >

Bianca Henriquez
Bianca Henriquez

In 2006, after two years of constant pain, Edania Maldonado was diagnosed with widespread reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Now eighteen, she is still coping with the burning and stabbing pains, decreased limb mobility, and other various symptoms. Determined not to let RSD control her dreams, Edania will be attending college this fall... Read More >

Edania Maldonado
Edania Maldonado

For twenty-eight years, Kelly Rouba has lived with juvenile arthritis (JA), an autoimmune disease that causes swelling, stiffness and joint inflammation. Besides stunting her growth and significantly limiting her mobility, JA causes her chronic pain. Kelly is the national spokesperson for the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). She supports Creaky Joints, an online arthritis support community, and has written a book entitled, Juvenile Arthritis: The Ultimate Teen Guide... Read More >

Kelly Rouba
Kelly Rouba

Ellen Smith was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) in 2004. Since then, she has undergone eighteen surgeries to help her severe case of joint hypermobility, skin extensibility and tissue fragility. As the slightest touch can easily cause her joints to dislodge, she has learned, among many things, to be cautious in public. Taking positive steps to living her best life, Ellen has not let EDS slow her down... Read More >

Ellen Smith
Ellen Smith

Marsha Tyszler is twenty-nine years old. Due to a 2003 accident, Marsha developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy, which subsequently led to fibromyalgia, and a traumatic brain injury. Though young, she refuses to give up or lose hope. She tutors college students and volunteers... Read More >

Marsha Tyszler
Marsha Tyszler

Heriberto Vidro is a father, husband, United States hero and a chronic pain person. Following injuries sustained in an Iraqi ambush in March 2003, Heriberto suffered nerve problems and muscle spasms. His kidneys were affected and he had two herniated discs on his neck and two on his back. He also has post-traumatic stress disorder, which makes it difficult for him to sleep at night... Read More >

Heriberto Vidro
Heriberto Vidro