Kelowna teen suffering from 3.5-year-long migraine headache

Teen's endless migraines

The community is fundraising for a Kelowna teen who has suffered with daily migraine headaches for more than three years. 

Greta Friesen, 17, began getting migraines four years ago. Within a couple months, they intensified until she “got a migraine that never stopped,” according to a GoFundMe set up to send her to a pain clinic in the United States. 

“She went from being a vibrant, creative, outgoing girl that loved school, being involved in extracurricular activities, playing volleyball and volunteering in the community to being in non-stop pain, having no energy and lying in bed 22-24 hours a day,” said Robyn Springer, adding Greta can currently attend just one class a day at Kelowna Secondary. 

Doctors, specialists and a wide array of health practitioners have been unable to find a medication, treatment or diet that will bring her pain level down. 

Springer says there have been times where Greta was constrained to her bed for 10 straight days. Lights are too bright, noises are too loud and days are “excruciatingly long.”

“She even has migraines in her dreams, so she never gets a break," Springer said. "There are many days that Greta is holding on by a thread."

Days of reprieve are rare for Greta, but they do exist, giving the family some hope. 

As a last resort, the Friesen family reached an inpatient clinic in the U.S., a three-week pain rehab program at Cleveland Children’s Hospital.

The program is designed to help children and families cope with chronic pain after all other avenues have been exhausted. The GoFundMe says the program has helped many children like Greta, but is very expensive at about $60,000.

“That is why they have always put it off as a last resort,” the GoFundMe says. “It is a lot of money. But if it helps Greta to learn how to manage chronic pain, be more functional and participate in life it will be so worth it.”

Springer says Greta has a confirmed program start date of April 21, 2020, but fundraising is needed to get her there. The GoFundMe, which has set a goal or $40,000, has already raised $13,000.

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