"Making a Better World for Women Challenged by Chronic Pain"
— Team For Grace

For Grace’s 2019 Holiday Appeal Letter

Our Board of Governors

Kristina Breen – Senior Director, Visa International, Inc. / Dr. Beth Darnall – Pain Psychologist, Stanford University School of Pain Medicine / Gary Erickson – President, The Erickson Group /  State Senator Liz Figueroa / John Garrett – Director, For Grace / Jane Goodall, Ph.D., CBE – Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute / Jennifer Hughes – Marketing Strategist / Dr. Susan Nyanzi – Professor, Walden University & Public Health Practitioner / Dr. Steven Richeimer – Director, USC Pain Management Center / Jessica St. John – Senior Policy Analyst, Los Angeles County Office of Women’s Health (Retired) / Cynthia Toussaint – Founder, For Grace


November 12, 2019

“You saw and valued me in a very dark time, and let me do what I could without pressure. You made my life feel worth living again. The work that I was able to do at For Grace gave me something to look forward to with life purpose. My gratitude runs deep!”
~ Katie Gardner, For Grace Volunteer

Dear Friend of For Grace,

Another stellar year at For Grace as we provided aid, comfort and empowerment to women in pain and the chronic pain community at large. Thanks to your generous, on-going financial support we continue to excel!

This year we greatly amped our partnership with The Mighty, the world’s leading online site for chronic illness advocacy and networking. Our founder, Cynthia Toussaint, hosted a monthly Facebook Live stream called Miracle Makers that featured inspiring women who, despite the odds, are making the world a better place for women in pain. Her guests included doctors, authors, celebrities and philanthropists. This was a successful pilot for the PBS show we’ve had greenlit – a concept created by Cynthia, myself and our partner, TV producer Alan Shafer, that we hope to launch in 2020 with Summer Productions.

“Thank you to the For Grace organization for steadfastly raising the discussion about debilitating chronic pain. People don’t understand this disease unless they’ve experienced it. Sometimes you just want to end it all because the suffering doesn’t give any sense of hope.”
~ Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, California State Senator

We’re proud that this year our work inspired Healthy Women, the nation’s leading health information source for women, to host a chronic pain summit in Maryland. For Grace assisted in planning this ground-breaking event, and in July Cynthia and I presented about being advocates for women in pain and their caregivers as well as For Grace’s efforts to launch a California pain strategy. More great news this year came in the form of For Grace’s 17-year Pain Awareness Month resolution becoming a California Women’s Caucus priority. This year’s author was Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, the first in a long line of women legislators who will lead the charge.

We ask you to please make a tax-deductible 2019 financial contribution so we can continue our good work to bring new hope and understanding to millions of women in the United States whose lives are challenged daily by persistent pain. Please make a convenient, online donation by linking HERE.

“Thank you, For Grace, for organizing this powerful effort and for your dedication to this critical movement. Cynthia and John, you are amazng and inspiring.”
~ Dr. Fasih Hameed, Associate Medical Director, Petaluma Health Center

The highlight of our year was hosting an August Legislative Briefing at the Sacramento Capitol where a panel of world-class pain experts educated those in the room about high-impact persistent pain, barriers to care and possible solutions. Attendees included representatives from the Governor’s office, legislative staffers and health agency leaders. These dignitaries were highly receptive to our recommendation to implement a comprehensive California Pain Center operated and funded by the state’s Health and Human Services agency. Prior to the briefing, our team crafted a white paper that presented a strong case for California to lead the charge for better pain care, and we’re currently working with legislators on a 2020 bill that will achieve this goal.

“Cynthia, your words and experiences are always profoundly wise and encouraging. To so publically live your life, all the good and all the bad, is incredibly brave.”
~ Dena C., Comment left on the National Pain Report

At For Grace, we’re always seeking tools to improve doctor/patient communication. This year we were thrilled to partner with the Germany-based pharmaceutical company, Grunenthal, and other U.S. pain advocacy groups to craft an improved pain scale that includes functionality along with visual pain descriptors for people with CRPS. We’re excited that both efforts will roll out shortly. Cynthia continues to share her considerable living-with-chronic-pain insights as a frequent blogger for the National Pain Report and now The Mighty as well. She also continues to contribute to books that focus on pain, chronic illness, women’s healthcare and, of course, hope.

Please continue to support our on-going education and awareness efforts to create a better world for women in pain. Many, many thanks – and the happiest of holiday wishes to you and yours…

John Garrett
Director, For Grace

“I am so very, very sorry to hear this news. I will surely send prayers and thoughts of strength and courage. You, of all people, do not deserve this.”
~ Jane Goodall, Ph.D, DBE, Founder – the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace

PS – In a year of so much good work, there was personal heartbreak. Cynthia was recently diagnosed with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer and will begin her battle in November. Doctors agree that 37 years of CRPS and inflammation likely caused her cancer, and due to the complexity of her pain disorder, treatment will deviate from standard of care. Accordingly,

Cynthia is educating breast cancer medical teams about CRPS, and the pain world about the connection between these two tragic diseases. This work will remain a For Grace priority moving forward.

Cheers to Better Days Ahead for All Women In Pain!