These People Are Giving Back Despite Their Illnesses - Meet The Bakken Invitation 2015 Honorees! | Jenngem

There are many blog posts about my living with chronic pain. That's no secret to you guys. I live in pain everyday, and it makes it hard to do almost anything, even be a mother. But I don't let it stop me. I move on and press on through my day, knowing that tomorrow may be better. I ended up starting my other blog, Positivity In Pain years ago. It's my way of giving back to the chronic pain community. Recently, though, I was introduced to a company called the Medtronic Foundation, which hosts the annual Bakken Invitation, which you can read a little bit more about below.

"The Bakken Invitation is a global program that Medtronic Philanthropy launched in 2013 to connect and celebrate people who, with the help of medical technology, have overcome health challenges and are now selflessly giving back to their communities. The Bakken Invitation award is annually given to patients from the Bakken Invitation Community recognizing extraordinary accomplishment. The program is named after Medtronic co-founder, Earl Bakken. 

At Medtronic, we believe that everyone should be able to receive quality, affordable healthcare. As part of this effort, Medtronic is sharing patient success stories through programs like the Bakken Invitation to help educate and inspire other patients to manage their health condition. The Bakken Invitation promotes access to healthcare and inspires others to give back. The program was designed to highlight how when people have access to quality healthcare, they not only can successfully manage their own health condition, they can use their “extra life” to help others."  

"We know medical technology can dramatically improve the life of one person. The Bakken Invitation Award Honorees demonstrate that it can have social impact that reaches beyond just that person."

This brings me to the 2015 Honorees! Each and every one of their stories is incredibly inspiring. Despite the challenges that they face medically, they are still finding ways to give back to their community, advocate on behalf of their illness, and more. They are truly heroes. Some of their stories had me in tears. The Bakken Invitation chooses their honorees, and they will receive a $20,000 grant to the foundation of their choice! How amazing is that? But anyway, onto the honoree that I chose to write about. 

Twinkle Vanfleet

I absolutely love her motto. It's given me a way to look at my chronic illness in a different light, that is for sure and for certain. But I chose her because I can relate to her, so so much. She suffers from RSD/CRPS (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). She lives with a spinal cord stimulator for pain relief. But I'll let Twinkle tell you more about her story below. 

"I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (CRPS/RSD) in 2003, following a mid-metatarsal separation of the right foot in 2001. CRPS/RSD is a painful, debilitating and often progressive central nervous system disorder. In my case, it caused skin discoloration; changes in nails, hair and blood vessels; swelling; muscle pain; bone deterioration; secondary internal organ involvement; and atrophy in my right calf.

“In 2003, I was already advocating, providing information and support for others with this condition through my website and blog. I had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in December 2006 after a successful trial. As a result of my spinal cord stimulation, by 2011 I was able to get out of my home to advocate in person.

“I've represented the Power of Pain Foundation through advocacy, awareness and legislative efforts as advocacy director and executive board member. I am a State Pain Policy Advocacy Network (SPPAN) leader and have been a member of the Prescribing Task Force with the California Medical Board since it was formed in 2013.

“When the Power of Pain Foundation found me, I began as its California ambassador. I assist others with questions about spinal cord stimulation and explain the importance of paying close attention to their trial implants and how to get the most out of their permanent placement. The Power of Pain Foundation strives to make a difference in policy, patient awareness and many other aspects of chronic pain through initiatives such as the RSD Quilt Program, Youth in Pain, the Honoring Our Vets program and much more. One of the foundation’s sayings is, ‘With motivation for a cure, we're turning pain to power.’ And it really is.”

I truly love that she chose the Power of Pain foundation as her foundation recipient. It is one of my go to resources for information and updates on chronic pain and the medical community. I know Barby Ingle, president of the POP Foundation from our conversations online about chronic pain, and we both run websites to help other's with chronic pain. It's just this whole thing warms my heart like nothing else. 

My way to give back is from home, well, you know why. This is why I run Positivity In Pain. I started it modestly as a Facebook page in 2007 because I wanted to connect with others like me. Since then, we have grown to over 40,000 fans, and we continue to grow! 
Do you live with medical technology? Share your story! 

Remember to visit the Bakken Community Page!
Who inspired you the most? Comment and you could win!

Okay, here's a cool part! You can win a $100 Visa® Gift Card. Just enter below! 
Which honoree inspires YOU?

So, here's to you Twinkle! You're awesome. 

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