So, what are these Crazy Socks all about?!?!
And who is this Melanie Dickens anyways???
Crazy Sock Day for Melanie was created in 2011 as a day of distraction and celebration for then eleven year old Melanie Dickens. Melanie had been living with CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also known as RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, for one year on January 24, 2011. Instead of dwelling on the continued daily pain, onset of additional symptoms of chronic illness, multiple failed treatments, and the daunting acceptance of a life-changing diagnosis, Melanie’s family set out to bring happiness to Melanie through support and celebration of her strength.
Melanie has become wise beyond her years, in this fight since 2010. When the pain “monster” and symptoms run wild, she stays positive by keeping busy and moving. She’s assembled a “bag of tricks” to distract herself through her pain and illness. Connecting with others has helped her feel supported. She is active with awareness and advocacy through her Crazy Sock Day platform, US Pain Foundation events such as INvisible Project and an Advocacy Summit with other amazing pain warriors, blogging through Sweet Lemon Pies with another teen associated it TCAPP (The Coalition Against Pediatric Pain), as well staying connected to RSDSA. Each of these efforts have made her feel important and heard. They have validated her struggles and each organization continues to fight for her care and visibility as a person with Invisible Illnesses. Her wish is for society to focus more attention on lesser-known diseases. With so many people suffering in silence, she believes, people in pain, and living with Invisible Illnesses need more options.
Melanie’s dream was to have Crazy Sock Day become a physical event that could make a difference in the lives of pain warriors like her. On January 24, 2015, Crazy Sock Walk was born. The goal of Crazy Sock Day will always be, first and foremost, awareness. Initially the focus was solely on RSD/CRPS awareness, but over time, she’s expanded the scope to include additional diagnoses she’s received to explain her pain and illness. Crazy Sock Walk has secondary goals of education about chronic pain and invisible illness and fundraising for worthy non-profit organizations. Crazy Sock Walk will directly help fund US Pain Foundation’s INvisible Project (Melanie has been a participant in this awesome offshoot) and TCAPP’s summer retreat for kids and families in similar situations to Melanie’s (US Pain and RSDSA both sponsor this camp).
The INvisible Project summed it up best:
Melanie is a fighter. She is authentic, creative and optimistic. While she acknowledges that a cure may not be found, she believes better pain relief options will be discovered. Especially now that Melanie is a pain warrior: her smile is her battle mask, her good humor is her sword and her determination is her body armor.
“My life has been filled with many unfortunate circumstances, but it has made who I am today,” she says. “I live life for today—life is how it is. Thankfully, I like me. I am pretty awesome, and I have a lot ahead of me to live for.”