Brittany Dawn Brannon, current Miss Arizona USA, also suffers from pain because of her RSD. As a child, she was a natural on the dance floor, and ballet was her passion. She had big dreams of New York and the American Ballet Theater. Soon after she was accepted to her dream school she suffered an injury in her dance class and needed immediate surgery on her foot. During surgery her nerve cords were damaged, causing her excruciating pain. Brannon was told she could never dance again. Although depression and anger kept the Miss USA contestant down for the first part of her recovery, she soon found her drive to start a new life and work with her pain to better understand it. Brannon found pageants to be her outlet and won Miss Arizona Teen America in her very first pageant.
Ayala is a wonderful, resilient young lady living near Ottawa. During the first minute of a floor hockey game at school when she was 10 years old, she was hit with a slapshot of the puck to her knee, which was the trigger to her RSD. Ayala and her family has had a roller coaster ride, like many other children and adults, with finally getting the proper diagnosis, searching for the best available treatment, and in receiving understanding from her peers and relatives.
Aya is rising above her pain, and has dedicated herself to creating a web site with a positive outlook that leaves visitors to her site with a sense of hope and inspiration. Her site, has brought attention to and created a greater awareness of RSD through interviews in major Canadian and local newspapers and CBC Radio.
Ayala plans to update her site and is the midst of compiling and writing a book of poetry and songs (as well as a novel in the works!) and intends on using its proceeds toward RSD research.
UPDATE April 2002: Ayala Ravek will be receiving the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Award in April from the Lt. Governor of Ontario .Congratulations Aya!!! We are very proud of you!
UPDATE June 2004: Canadian Living Magazine features "HEARTBEATS" with a photo and article about Ayala and her fight against CRPS.
Toronto Star June 3, 2004 Section G: features Ayala and her story on CRPS. You may be able to find it online at www.thestar.com and search by subject.
As Aya likes to quote, "Positive thinkers feel the intangible, see the invisible, and achieve the impossible."
For many years, Eric has been a well known crusader for RSD/CRPS. Based in Massachusetts, Eric has sent out information, contacted, and arranged for medical assistance for countless people around the globe. At the International RSD Foundation, he quietly works behind the scenes to help those with RSD get the help they need.
His tireless efforts have resulted in three excellent RSD conferences in 1995, 1997 and 2000. He coordinated the Winter Medical Conference (Nov.30-Dec.2,2000) in Orlando, Florida. A year and a half in preparation, the conference was well attended by 160 patients and 68 professionals. It was well organized, informative and of great benefit to both doctors and patients. Eric is also assistant to Dr Hooshmand, a well known neurologist who treats RSD/CRPS patients. Dr Hooshmand has since retired but Eric continues to help patients.Canada has P.A.R.C. - Promoting Awareness of RSD/CRPS in Canada. In 2008, PARC sponsored Dr. Shulman's (a Toronto area pain specialist) RIDE TO CONQUER CRPS, a cycling marathon from Toronto to St. John's to promote public awareness of RSD.
We wish to acknowledge Eric's many years of hard work to promote awareness, educate the medical community, assist patients and promote research even though he has longstanding RSD. Eric is proof that having RSD means one can still accomplish great things. He continues to be an inspiration to us all.
Eric is walking again after a long road of rehabilitation. Your dream came true, Eric!
I got RSD in July of 1992
and was diagnosed a
year later. I’m 42, and by the grace of God I am still working. I
use arm crutches to get around when I am outside of my home
or at work so I don’t fall. I used to hate them, but now they are
my buddies, my friends. I’ve come to look at getting RSD as a
blessing in many ways. This may sound nuts to some of you,
but there is a very good reason. I have made some of the best
friends that I will ever have in my life since having RSD and I
have met the most wonderful people since having RSD. People
that I truly learned from and who changed my life.
February 17, 1992 started
out like any other
day. I got up and got ready for work, got my daughter ready
for school and then drove my 30-mile trip to work. The
assembly area where I worked was totally automatic and had
robots. This particular morning, I had some small parts that
were sticking in the track and I had to go to the back of the
machine to fix it. As I was coming up to a standing position,
I struck my left knee on a metal bracket that was located on a
support leg of the conveyor belt and I saw black for the first
few seconds. As I got myself together, I took a step and the
pain was so great that it felt like I was going to be sick of my
stomach. So began my journey with RSD.
I was fortunate that I didn't have to go to many doctors before
I was diagnosed. It wasn't long after that my doctor suggested
I attend the RSD Support Group. I was afraid to go at first,
because I was a little afraid of what was happening to my own
body. Going to the support group was one of the best decisions
I’ve ever made. It was good to be around others who knew
where I was coming from.
It seems like from the beginning, my RSD was a magnet
for others who had RSD. I started meeting people who had
RSD just about everywhere I went. I would invite them to the
support group meetings. My time working was also coming to
an end, and I started using the skills I formerly used at work in
the support group.
In November 1993, I became the new director of the Greenville
RSD Support Group. It was just what I needed to work on living
with RSD. I had viewed RSD as ruining my life, because I
couldn't do the things that I use to before. When I did things on
a fairly good day, I would over do it and pay for it for weeks. It
finally dawned on me that this was what my RSD liked. It also
liked when I was down. This discovery was an important part of
acceptance for me. It taught me that it's okay to make changes if
it allows me to do what I want in life. I started setting priorities
in my life. I realized that it wasn't how I accomplished my goal
that mattered, but that I accomplished it.
RSD also brought out my
fighting spirit. Everyone
I met would say, “I have
never heard of that.” I
wanted that to change,
so we ended up forming
the South Carolina RSD
Association (SCRSDA ).
We made our mission to
help educate everyone we
could about RSD. Our
first conference was held
in September 1994, and
has been held annually since. Running the support group and
SCRSDA have been like therapy for me. I have a strong support
system of folks that help to keep me going. I will never give up
working on myself or my RSD. So that is why I say, "I have
RSD, but it Doesn't Have Me".
Find an inspiration.Don’t isolate yourself.Volunteer. Reach out to otherFinally, believe in yourself