Calgary Health Foundation

A Little Relief for Chronic Pain

A Little Relief for Chronic PainWhat do you do when you've been handed a diagnosis for a disease that has no known cure? It is a problem that millions of Canadians who suffer from chronic pain ask themselves daily.

Chronic pain can be a life altering experience and it is estimated that one in five Canadians are living with chronic pain of some kind. The pain can sometimes be attributed to trauma, surgery or illness but sometimes it occurs for no reason at all. 

Stephen Pilch, of GLJ Petroleum Consultants, is someone who knows firsthand the difficulties in managing chronic pain.

"I was diagnosed with Intersitial Cystitis (IC) back in early 2011, and was basically told there were not a lot of treatment options for someone with my condition."

Feeling lucky just to know what the cause of his pain was he was left to figure things out on his own. "After a lot of internet research and speaking with other organizations in the United States I found there were treatment options but no one in Calgary could seem to make that happen"

Stephen found help at the Chronic Pain Clinic through his physiotherapist. Working with the Pelvic Pain group he was able to learn techniques to manage his IC. But his difficulty finding help at the beginning of his journey inspired him to give back.

Working with his employer, GLJ Petroleum Consultants, Stephen was able to arrange a $30,000 donation to the clinic to improve the information available to individuals diagnosed with IC.

"Part of this initiative is to create something lasting within the Chronic Pain Clinic, so that through the Pelvic Pain group they can create resources for people like me who are looking for options or even someone to talk to."

For GLJ President and CEO Keith Braaten this is just part of the organization's community giving strategy.

"One of our mandates is that we target charities that do local work," said Keith "Mostly we work with organization that focus on health care, children and the underprivileged in Calgary"

The company gives a percentage of the profits to go back into the community where they work. This means more than 50 local charities, including Calgary Health Trust, are on the receiving end of their generosity.

To engage staff the company decided that each employee could pick something that is important to them and GLJ donates $500 on behalf of the employee. "There are a group of guys that get together and do Movember, the Ride to Conquer Cancer, even the Gorilla Run," said Keith,  "It really got people more engaged in where our corporate donations were going."

On top of the individual giving the company's community giving committee reviews project that are submitted by staff, which is how Stephen's request to fund the Pelvic Pain clinic was approved.

For Dr Magali Robert the donation is a step in the right direction for patients with Interstitial Cystitis., "Donations like the one from GLJ Petroleum Consultants make it possible to provide the resources that help our patients," said Dr Magali Robert "We are very excited that we now have this opportunity in Calgary."