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

For Grace’s 2023 Holiday Appeal Letter

Our Board of Governors
Kristina Breen – Vice President, Visa International / Henry Contreras – Public Policy Director, California Foundation for Independent Living (Retired) / Gary Erickson – President, The Erickson Group / State Senator Liz Figueroa / Jane Goodall, Ph.D., CBE – Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute / Heather Grace – Social Worker, Mendocino County Family and Children’s Services / Diane Hoffmann – Law Professor, University of Maryland / 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

December 1, 2023

“Cynthia – got your fabulous news today. It is truly amazing that you have survived so much, and I am so very happy for both you and John. Fantastic, wonderful, exciting – and SO WELL DESEREVED!”
~ Jane Goodall, PhD., CBE – Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute

Dear Friends of For Grace,

At For Grace, it’s been another year of balancing health challenges with the good work. We’re happy to report Cynthia’s 2023 scans were whistle clean, but treatment complications have left her ill and in pain throughout the year. Despite this, Team For Grace prevailed, turning in another productive, eventful year in support of women challenged by chronic pain and trauma near and far.

Media outreach has always been one of For Grace’s main efforts to raise awareness of the plight of women in pain, and this was another stellar year. Highlights included Cynthia being featured in a January HealthyWomen article that, for the first time, focused on the role trauma plays in the development of chronic pain. Later in the year, a Women In Pain survey that For Grace collaborated on with National Pain Report helped make the case for an LA Times article about discriminated pain patient populations. Cynthia also made major contributions to two books that featured innovative pain treatment options: Chronic Pain Reset by University of Michigan’s Dr. Afton Hassett, and the forthcoming Healing Cancer by Integrative Medicine expert Dr. Wayne Jonas. Along with guesting on podcasts throughout the year, Cynthia continues her columns with Pain News Network, including one about the headline-grabbing Take Care of Maya medical abuse case.

“Thank you for inviting me to be in this sacred space with your For Grace community. Women with pain have been harmed so by people tasked with helping, so it is truly an honor that you trust me to speak with your audience.”
Mary Driscoll, Ph.D., Chronic Pain Researcher, Yale University and VA Connecticut

For Grace leaders again enjoyed hosting a monthly live stream show in collaboration with The Mighty, the world’s largest online health community. Trauma Talk spotlighted world-renowned experts and courageous survivors who explored the trauma-pain connection as well as the all-important Post-Traumatic Growth process that is a catalyst for transformative recovery. Generating up to 20K viewers per show, we clearly struck a nerve as questions and comments flowed in from around the globe while the show became an interactive force for healing.

We ask you to please make a tax-deductible 2023 financial contribution by going online at forgrace.org, so we can continue our good work to bring new hope and understanding to millions of women worldwide whose lives are challenged daily by persistent pain.

“Fantastic work! It takes an incredible amount of energy and time to create conferences like these. Amazing job and thank you to everyone who participated. Group hugs!!”
~ Support Fibromyalgia Network, a National Nonprofit

Two years in the making, For Grace’s 11th Annual Women In Pain Conference was hands down our best ever. On the forefront of an emerging topic, our trailblazing day was chock full of respected keynoters, panelists and breakout leaders who knitted together trauma and chronic pain as the final piece of the pain puzzle. The day was broken into three parts: trauma leading to pain, trauma release methods and strategies and Post-Traumatic Growth. Elevated by two unique elements woven into the day, the conference featured video vignettes of “real-lifers” who bravely shared how they recovered and thrived despite significant trauma and pain – as well as Native American themes, in the form of photography, music and words, depicting the disproportionate impact of generational trauma on their communities. We’re especially proud that this event has jumpstarted a conversation about what is core to chronic pain healing.

“For Grace has been a passionate voice for women in pain for over two decades. When I completed my most recent article, ‘The Woman Who Cried Pain’, one of the first people I asked to review it was Cynthia. Her feedback was invaluable!”
~ Diane Hoffmann, Professor of Health Law, University of Maryland Carey School of Law

Per usual, For Grace remained active on the legislative and policy fronts in California and beyond. Ringing the bell for the 20th year, we proudly sponsored a resolution that proclaimed September as Pain Awareness Month and September 1st as Women In Pain Awareness Day here in the Golden State. Also at the Capitol we made strides in forwarding our bill proposal to expand Medi-Cal coverage of alternative pain therapies as part of the solution to the opioid crisis – and we’re working aggressively to get an author in 2024. Additionally, it was a thrill to be a key advisor for the groundbreaking report, “The Woman Who Cried Pain”, a follow-up to the seminal 2001 report that brought to light the gender bias toward women in the treatment of their pain.

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: Women In Pain

PS – Excitement abounds as Cynthia will be writing in the New Year for Maria Shriver’s The Sunday Paper. Her premier article, that will explore the wisdom of changing one’s relationship with illness for the better, promises to start a robust conversation with Shriver’s wellness-seeking readers.

PSS – Building on our efforts at The Mighty, we’re actively seeking a bigger platform to tell the world about the connection between trauma and chronic illness. As such, we’re working with an LA-based videographer to craft an eye-catching “sizzle reel” that will be shown to potential under-writers and producers. Fingers crossed for this game-changing streaming or network show!