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 Race Against

 

Nerve Pain 5K 

 

By Jamie Paplaczyk 

I'll truly never understand why bad things happen to such good people.  While organizing this event over the last year, I met some of the nicest and best people who are suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia.  My goal through creating this event was to raise money to donate to research but also to show people they aren't alone.  Sadly, others too are suffering and my hope was for TN patients to network with one another because nobody understands the pain like a fellow TN warrior.  

I am still overwhelmed with the support and success we received for our inaugural Race Against Nerve Pain 5k!  I chose to organize this because I have a loved one who has suffered from TN for 11 years now and it's heartbreaking to see.  Grandma Sue is one of the kindest and most genuine people you'd ever meet. She recently lost a friend to suicide who had been suffering from TN.  While I felt helpless listening to her, I wanted to do something.  I started searching for events in the area to bring TN people together and other than Laugh Your Face Off, I couldn't find other local events for us to participate in, so I contacted the Facial Pain Research Foundation and started brainstorming.   

When the 5k idea was decided I started by contacting the village of Bartlett, found a venue, mapped a 5k course and pulled permits.  I had so many people who reached out wanting to help so I formed a team of volunteers, scheduled monthly meetings, came up with a name for the race, designed a logo, built a website and made a flyer.  With the help of many we found a vendor for our shirts and designed what we wanted them to look like, reached out to local restaurants/grocery stores for food & drink donations, found a chip timing company to time the race and started to promote it.  We sent the flyer to different social media groups and pages, knocked on every business door possible in town, collected donations and raffle items and sent countless emails getting sponsorships.  

We decided we wanted it to be an event, not just a 5k run, so we expanded a little further.  We also offered a 1k walk and a kids 50 yard dash race.  We got a tent to put up to give TN patients a place to socialize and get out of the wind.  We had a booth for a chiropractor to stretch people out before and after the race and a table for NAMI, a mental health organization for people to contact them if they wanted to use their services.  We had a kids area with toys and activities, archery set up with trained professionals teaching people and a train we brought in for kids to ride on. We hired a DJ to play music throughout the day and announce the runners as they finished and had a silent auction table and raffle prizes that were a huge success and raised a lot of money.     

I initially thought we would map out a 5k course, pull permits and we'd all show up to run - boy was I wrong.  A lot more went into it than I expected but every minute spent planning was so worth it when race day arrived.  Seeing people lean on each other and pull strength from one another was truly something special to see.  We raised over $37,000, had 234 people register who ran/walked and another 30-50 people who came out to show their support.  Our team of volunteers was key and made race day run very smoothly.  Tasks were broken down before race day and all volunteers were given an assignment before the race so they knew exactly what they were responsible for and what they were in charge of.  

The Facial Pain Research Foundation is a big reason this event was as successful as it was.  Every trustee and volunteer I spoke to and worked with was so appreciative of what we were doing.  They went above and beyond to help navigate handling finances, creating an online program for race day and overall just checking in to see what they could help with.  The foundation has been extremely thankful for every donation received, big or small and it makes you work even harder knowing how appreciative a group of people truly are.  

I've learned over the past year that many people with TN don't talk about it.  They feel like they are alone in this fight.  My hope is that people saw there are others fighting along side them.  If my team and I were able to put this together, anyone is able to.  I'm happy to share all I've learned and to help anyone who would like to organize something similar.  Thank you to all who helped make this such a huge success.  We hope our efforts can one day help people live pain free lives but until that day, nobody is fighting this battle alone - Together let's find a cure! 

Save the date for next year!

 

10/4/20