‘My name is Dr. Dan Henry and I started the Danielle Byron Henry Migraine Foundation in honor of my daughter, Danielle. When she was very young…about five years old, she started having migraines. She got very sick and they kept getting worse and it really exploded when she was about eleven. She ended up in the hospital for about a week. Over the next few years, we saw pretty much every neurologist and headache specialist in the region. We traveled to different doctors and no one really had any answers as she got older. At seventeen, Danielle was a gifted athlete. She lettered in two sports during her freshman year and then she had a stroke and ended her own life to end her suffering during her senior year.
I was a general family practitioner and my practice had been full but, after Danielle passed away, I started transferring a lot of my patients to my other partners so I could devote more of my time to headache patients. I started spending hours and hours of my own time researching migraine disease even though I wasn’t planning on becoming a headache expert but the head of the New England Headache Institute and I had visited and he told me I had become a headache expert.
Over the years, I’ve worked exclusively with headache patients. I’ve come to realize that, at some point, not far down the road, someone is going to need to take my place so we started this foundation. We are raising awareness about the sixth leading cause of disability in the country with it affecting thirty-eight million Americans. Fourteen million Americans have chronic migraine and headache pain every day but the research done on it is miniscule compared to other conditions. The National Institute of Health gave over $24 million to headache research, over $200 million to asthma research, and over $1.1 billion to diabetes research and yet, there are more headache patients in the country than there are diabetics and asthmatics combined.
Migraine disease is a severe neurological condition that involves everything from photophobia to phonophobia, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, vertigo and the list goes on and on. It’s a disease of a highly sensitive brain. So, I decided we need to raise awareness and to get people’s attention. We’re starting on a community level and we hope to see it spread from there. When I help a patient to know I understand their pain and can make it personal because of my experience with my daughter, it means I’m doing Danielle’s work. I’m just a vessel but I see my daughter in so many of these young people whose lives are being so diminished by their pain. It breaks my heart but I’m here to do something about it.’