BC Place will be changing its colour to teal tonight to raise awareness about Trigeminal neuralgia, a little known disorder characterized by episodes of intense facial pain.
Toni Saunders was diagnosed with the disease in 2010, and has since rallied to bring Trigeminal neuralgia to the attention of people around the world. So a year ago, she founded Trigeminal Neuralgia and Me.
Tonight, BC Place will be one of 17 landmarks around the world to go teal as part of the first international Trigeminal neuralgia awareness day, an event put together by Saunders’ organization. Teal is the official colour of Trigeminal Neuralgia and Me.
The disease, also known as The Suicide Disease, often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Many patients resort to medication and surgery to reduce the pain.
“There is no cure for this. We just try to manage the pain,” says Saunders.
An estimated four to eight million people around the world suffer from this condition.
Saunders says the disease makes it difficult for patients to keep working and maintain high quality of life.. Many are having trouble qualifying for disability because of the lack of awareness.
“Some people have this type of pain 24/7. It is heartbreaking,” says Saunders. “Can you imagine walking around feeling like an ice pick is stuck in your ear? You can be working, and all of a sudden you feel like you are being zapped by a bolt of lightning.”
Saunders says they want the World Health Organization to pay more attention to this disease to ensure sufficient research and data collection.
For more information about the disease, go here.