Making the invisible visible

The evolution of the INvisible Project.

In 2010, Nicole Hemmenway was relatively new to patient advocacy. She had just written a book describing her journey living with chronic pain and was searching for more ways to become involved with the pain community. Nicole felt certain others would benefit if they had an avenue to share their stories, too.

While attending a conference, Nicole connected with a small organization that would later evolve to become the U.S. Pain Foundation. Nicole decided to join forces with U.S. Pain to help amplify the voices and stories of people with pain. That first year, nine people were featured in a magazine-style publication, with profiles written by Nicole and photos taken on a day in the life of each person.

A Decade later

Today, the INvisible Project has published a total of 19 issues (including this edition) and distributed an estimated 100,000 copies to patients, caregivers, and health care providers alike.

Over 200 patients and their loved ones have been featured through the years. In addition to individual stories, each issue includes roughly a dozen educational articles from experts on topics that matter most to patients with pain.

“We continue to believe in the power of a printed publication, even though we also have an online version,” says Nicole. “A magazine is an easy way to make sure people can access the project, return to it frequently for information and inspiration, and share it with others.”

INvisible Project on the road

Beyond print and online editions, the INvisible Project is also available as a traveling display. The photo displays are lightweight and easy to set up, but they have a huge impact at pain awareness events, disability expos, health fairs, medical conferences, and other public events.

U.S. Pain Foundation has even taken the displays to state legislatures, using the opportunity to educate lawmakers as they consider legislation that affects the pain community.

Want to participate?

Do you want to share your story to educate and inspire others? To put a face to the invisible challenges you face as a chronic pain patient? We welcome your ideas, and we’re looking for candidates for the next edition of the INvisible Project magazine.