The British Columbia Association of Broadcasters (BCAB) has presented its 2015 Humanitarian Award to Pain BC, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with chronic pain.
“There are many organizations doing amazing things in our communities throughout this province,” says incoming BCAB President Kevin Gemmell. “As active members in our communities, it’s important that broadcasters continue to shine a light on what those organizations are doing. The Humanitarian Award is one way for us to really focus that attention on one particular organization and we’re proud to be able to do that for Pain BC this year.”
Gemmell says the collaborative way the non-profit organization approaches its mission really made their nomination package stand out. “They’ve created a unique partnership of patients, caregivers, health care providers, education and business leaders and policy makers working together to make a positive difference in the health care system in this province and we are happy to be added now to that list of partners.”
Pain BC Executive Director Maria Hudspith says her organization has been working to “change pain and change minds” – both improving lives of those living in pain and increasing public awareness of the effects of chronic pain. “One in five British Columbians live with chronic pain, yet it is under recognized and under treated,” says Hudspith. “Of all chronic diseases, pain has the greatest impact on people's quality of life. It affects people's ability to work, to care for their children and loved ones, to participate in their communities.”
She says that people in pain are often misunderstood and disbelieved by their health care providers, employers, families and friends. She adds that people living with chronic pain have much greater chance of living with depression and anxiety and are two times as likely to commit suicide as the general public. “Pain is a silent epidemic,” says Hudspith. “All British Columbians will benefit when pain comes out of the shadows, is recognized and adequately treated.”
Hudspith says they were elated when they found out they had won the award. “Broadcasters have a huge role to play in changing attitudes, in raising awareness and in mobilizing communities around social issues,” says Hudspith. “We see huge potential for this campaign and are very, very grateful for the BCAB's support.”
On July 1st, virtually every private TV and radio station in the province will begin airing a campaign for Pain BC. “We want people to know that chronic pain is real and to let them know there is hope,” says Hudspith. “For too long, people in pain have been told that the pain is in their heads and that there is nothing that can be done about it. Our campaign aims to dispel these myths.”
Gemmell says that year-long commitment from broadcasters translates to over one million dollars of free airtime. “That kind of exposure will ensure British Columbians will develop a much higher awareness of the health system change work of Pain BC, and should also reduce the stigma around chronic pain and those who suffer from it.”