Patient Stories

Angel’s Story: Walking the Extra Miles for Peripheral Neuropathy

Angel is an inspiration for so many reasons, none more so than her upcoming ‘Walk the Extra Mile for Peripheral Neuropathy’ Campaign at the Lifetime Half Marathon/5K in Chicago on September 29, 2019.

Life has not always been easy for Angel Mason. A diabetic since the age of 5, on her own since the age of 13, Angel, sadly, had to rely on herself for what she needed from a very early age. Despite, or perhaps because of, her early childhood traumas and experience with homelessness, Angel now works diligently to help others face their challenges with strength, perseverance and not a small dose of humor.

Angel is a trained peer support specialist, ordained minister, and mindful meditation teacher. She currently runs Chicago’s only pain support group (and is working with FPN to start another group specifically for peripheral neuropathy patients). She runs chronic pain/wellness groups for homeless women through women’s support organizations and provides counseling/support to a number of people experiencing pain and hardship.

Angel is also Blind NLP (no light perception), physically disabled, with leg braces to allow her to use her partially paralyzed legs and suffers from peripheral neuropathy with pain that hovers ‘around 7’ on her good days.

And yet, Angel says, it is not our limits or our pain that defines us. “It does not define who you are, we have a choice, we can become our pain as it consumes every part of who we are, or we can choose to simply be a person who lives with pain.”

We can’t do it alone

One of life’s lessons that Angel has learned is that we can’t ‘do it alone.’ She encourages patients to join support groups, and encourages family members to join also, recognizing that it is not only the patient that is living with the pain of chronic conditions but all who love them as well. While Angel is providing comfort and support for so many, she has found that helping others provides immeasurable help for herself as well. Helping others, she says, gives her a reason for being. Hearing from others that she inspires them, and being able to share with those around her, strengthens her resolve to keep going and keep helping.

Finding Inspiration

Angel also lives by what she calls the Bugs Bunny theory. She recalls a cartoon from her childhood during which Bugs and Elmer Fudd run off a cliff – and hover in the air until Elmer remembers the theory of gravity – and he falls. According to Angel, ‘’generally, the only thing that stops us is when we tell ourselves we can’t do it.”

And Angel is living this theory. Told by doctors that she would never be able to walk due to her health conditions and related injuries, Angel is leading a group to walk in the Lifetime Chicago 5K on September 29, 2019, in support of the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy.

“Today’s your chance to make tomorrow better than yesterday. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do and stop telling yourself no. Stop saying you can’t do something because everyone is capable of great things. Everyone is capable of helping others no matter how sick you are, how rich or poor. Don’t let doctors dictate what you can or cannot do because if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way.”

Go Angel, you inspire us!

You can contribute to Angel’s 5K Walk for Peripheral Neuropathy by donating here. All proceeds go to the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy.

#LifetimeChicagoHalfMarathon5K

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