Senior advocates for migraine awareness and legislation

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Photo by Ellie Pazol

Senior Ayla Kaufman

Mady Zirlin, Staff Writer

When senior Ayla Kaufman began to get symptoms of strokes and seizures caused by her extreme headaches in seventh grade, she had to miss school for weeks at a time. She could not be treated for her migraines for two years after the first showing of symptoms since doctors were still unsure of the causes. She had to cycle through many treatments to find the ones that worked for her.

Kaufman said she had to change her learning style because her migraines often impaired her vision and motor functions. She faced the challenge of learning how to teach herself many subjects due to missing so much school.

After looking up her condition, Kaufman said she found no teenage blogs on migraines. In eighth grade, she decided to write a blog and form a GoFundMe page to help spread awareness for youth with migraines. Kaufman has raised over $3,000 for research on migraines on behalf of the National Headache Foundation. 

According to Kaufman, receiving a thank-you call from a teenager in New York about her blog was really exciting. It was the first moment when she realized she might actually be impacting people and not just writing a blog that only her parents follow.

Kaufman traveled to Washington, D.C. through a lobbying conference sponsored by the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy. She urged Congress to pass a bill helping people that suffer from migraines and asked Congress to allocate a certain amount of money toward research into migraines.

“When I’m in D.C. talking to members of Congress, asking them to sign a bill, and then I see the bill is [progressing], it’s a lot more satisfying [than raising money for research,]” Kaufman said.