2015 Nomination’s Open for the McDowell Advocacy Award | Power of Pain Foundation

The Power of Pain Foundation presents the Melanie McDowell Pain Awareness and Advocacy Award annually. The recipient is a pain patient or provider who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to assisting and advocating for people with neuropathy pain conditions.  Nominations are solicited in the pain community for people who are making a significant contribution within the field of research, education, awareness, or patient assistance.

Nominations accepted between April 1 and June 30, 2015

More information and to make your nomination’s

visit McDowell Advocacy Award | Power of Pain Foundation.

Past Recipients

2014 – Dominick Spatafora

Mr. Dominick Spatafora is the 2014 recipient of The Power of Pain Foundation’s Melanie McDowell Pain Awareness and Advocacy Award. This is in recognition of his outstanding work and advocacy for people in pain. Mr. Spatafora’s awareness contributions to the neuropathy and chronic pain communities are outstanding. Mr. Spatafora is the president of the Neuropathy Action Foundation (NAF). Dominick founded the Neuropathy Action Foundation because of his commitment to educate the public on what neuropathy is and most importantly to help other neuropathy patients obtain and maintain appropriate individualized care. Dominick is a healthcare consultant and an expert in healthcare administration. He used this knowledge to create advocacy. The NAF which he founded in 2006 which focuses on awareness, education and empowerment. He brings together advocates and patients in legislative days, educational conferences, and news conferences to raise the awareness of the challenges of getting proper care including infusion therapy.

2013 – Paula Abdul

Ms. Paula Abdul is the 2013 recipient of The Power of Pain Foundation’s Melanie McDowell Pain Awareness and Advocacy Award. This is in recognition of her outstanding work and advocacy for people in pain. Ms Abdul’s awareness contributions to the reflex sympathetic dystrophy, lupus, neuro-muscular dystrophy, and chronic pain communities are outstanding. Ms Abdul has participated in television and print interviews sharing her personal story of living with reflex sympathetic dystrophy. She is actively engaged in social media helping to shine a spotlight on improving the quality of life, offer a chance for rehabilitation, decrease the sense of isolation and alienation, and increase the hope our pain population experiences.

2012 – Trudy Thomas

The 2011 McDowell Chronic Pain Advocacy Award is being presented to Trudy Thomas, host of Living with Hope. Trudy demonstrates all of the qualities we are looking for in awarding this honor. Thank you to Trudy for all she does for the RSD and Pain Community.

2011 – Barby Ingle

Barby has been battling a Neurological condition for over 11 years now. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is a progress Neuro-Autoimmune condition that affects multiple system in the body and needs to be treated early so that disability does not take over. I know firsthand how hard it is to continue looking for relief, perfect answers, and then coming up against healthcare professionals who blow you off or do not believe what you are saying could actually be what you’re experiencing. As I search for a cure, I have become my own best advocate and work sharing the information so that you can be yours. Even after seeing over 100 healthcare professionals, having major surgeries I didn’t need, complications such as internal bleeding, medication interactions, kidney stones, tumors, and so much more – I did not give up or give in! I was tested to my limits and realized they are past the boundaries I placed on myself. I had to become the Chief of Staff of my Own Medical Team. If I can do it, anyone can.

2010 – Mary French, RN

Mary French, RN, MSW, LCSW-C is the 2009 recipient of The Power of Pain Foundation’s 2009 McDowell Pain Advocacy Award in recognition of her outstanding work and advocacy for pain patients. The award was presented to Mary on September 12th at the 3rd Annual Comic Pain Relief held at George Mason University Center for the Arts in Fairfax, Virginia. Barby Ingle, Executive Director, said, “The motivation and drive you offer pain patients helps to keep others on track with goals and positivity as they deal with chronic pain issues.”

2009 – Mackenzie Bearup

Ms. Bearup is a 16 year old Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) patient who used her experience and love of reading to help others in pain. She started a book collection at Murphy-Harpst Children’s Center in Cedartown, NJ for their new library. Mackenzie knew that she was helped through her pain by reading books and thought that she could help other children who are going through unbearable pain of their own. She set out to collect 300 books for this local children’s center and in 2009 turned this project into a non-profit charity, Sheltering Books. Since she began just a few years ago she has collected 38,000 books.

2008 – Dale Lehn

“If you have chronic pain, after talking to clinical people all the time, the issues seem to go on and on…you feel you are always explaining yourself. But if you talk to someone else with chronic pain there’s an immediate recognition, a correlation, a knowing that you’re talking at a level you both understand. For people who have chronic pain every day of their lives, like I do, it’s really freeing to speak with someone you don’t have to explain everything to—someone who already knows exactly where you’re coming from. The people I work with also become honest with others about their pain. In dealing with pain, like dealing with alcoholism, shame often plays a big part of who you are because you are not happy, joyous, and free. Many times, people in pain will not be honest with their doctors and loved-ones. But when I work with people, sometimes they’ll say, ‘I’m doing fine.’ When I ask them, ‘Is that really how you feel,’ they usually laugh and say, ‘No, this is what’s going on….’ I encourage them to be that open and forthcoming with others.” – Dale Lehn, Founder of Chronic Pain Anonymous in 2004.

2007 -In memory of Melanie McDowell

Melanie McDowell

Melanie was an RSD patient and advocate from 1994 to 2006 when she passed away. Her biggest hope was that other patients would get timely and proper care. She was involved in many RSD awareness projects to promote better care for those with RSD and other chronic pain conditions. In her Memory POPF carries on the work that she was so passionate about.


Power of Pain Foundation recognizes the value of every person who makes up the pain community. We are guided by our commitment to excellence, leadership and patient empowerment. We demonstrate this by:

* Providing educational resources for physical and emotional care

* Advancing excellence in awareness of the over 150 conditions involving chronic nerve pain and what patients are faced with on a daily basis

* Strengthening our relationships with hospitals, pain clinics, pharmaceuticals, support groups and our pain community

* Demonstrating social responsibility through the use of our resources. The commitment of volunteers, physicians, community partners and friends to our mission, permits us to maintain a quality presence and tradition of caring, which are the hallmarks of the Power of Pain Foundation.


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