The Liverpool charity having a global impact in the fight for pain relief
2 months ago
Around 28million people in the UK suffer with some kind of chronic pain and a charity in Liverpool is helping to change their lives.
The Pain Relief Foundation, which is based at Aintree University Hospital, raises around £300,000 each year to support research into chronic pain.
That could be anything from fibromyalgia to migraine, diabetic pain, back pain or sciatica – and the number of people affected has risen hugely due to Covid and the increase in working from home.
The charity is respected around the world for its work in funding not just researchers at the hospital, but PhD students and pain consultants across the country who are studying various chronic pain conditions to try and find new treatments and improve the quality of life for patients.
Jo Stephens, fundraiser at the Pain Relief Foundation, says chronic pain can be a ‘silent’ condition for the millions living with every day.
The charity, too, is relatively unknown despite its global impact.
“Health professionals worldwide know of us but people on the streets have probably never heard of us. But if they do suffer, or they’re likely to suffer from chronic pain, then they could benefit directly through what we do,” she explains.
“Most workforces have someone who is suffering from chronic pain and it’s likely to affect every aspect of their lives – their home life, work life, and their day-to-day wellbeing. It can be very frustrating, and we know patients will often struggle and have bad days when they don’t feel like getting out of bed, but it is still very much an invisible thing.
“A lot of people in chronic pain don’t get the right diagnosis so they try to just live with it.”
The Pain Relief Foundation charity was set up in 1979 and received the Freedom of the City in 2010, the highest honour Liverpool can give, in recognition of its dedication to finding new ways to end the suffering of millions of adults and children.
The charity’s fundraising supports studies to find out how certain chronic pain starts, where it comes from, how it can best be treated, and how the pain can be lessened to make patients more comfortable.
“It’s about improving quality of life for now and for people ahead of us,” says Jo.
The foundation also brings patients and their partners together socially so they can talk to others going through a similar thing to help reduce the feeling of isolation.
Like most charities, it’s seen its fundraising hit by the cost-of-living crisis.
“Because we are a relatively small charity, just one fundraising event is massive for us so we really appreciate all the support we get from members of the public and businesses,” adds Jo. “We don’t get any other funding from the Government or NHS so we’re totally reliant on what we can raise through donations and grants we can apply for.
“Breakthroughs in research into cause and treatment affect so many lives and the charity helping to make them happen is based here in Liverpool. We’re leading the way so it’s something the city can be really proud of.”