Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Barby Ingle, President of International Pain Foundation, located in Gold Canyon, AZ, USA.
What's your organization, and who are your members?
The International Pain Foundation (iPain) is devoted to advancing access and quality care to help people suffering from a variety of muscular-skeletal, inflammatory, neurological, emotional, degenerative, and often rare conditions that involve chronic pain through education, awareness, and access to care projects. iPain Foundation's objectives are reached through critical educational events, support, resources, and enhancement projects funded through private donations and grants. We demonstrate our commitment to the chronic pain community by promoting new knowledge on the cause and treatment of chronic pain conditions.
The ultimate goal is to provide tools and life skills to chronic pain patients, allowing them to perform their regular activities in the community and bolstering society’s ability to provide full opportunities and appropriate support. We contribute to the overall knowledge and treatment of chronic pain by supporting education for pain patients, family members, caregivers, and medical professionals. This allows our foundation to affect the lives of millions of people with chronic pain worldwide. Whether you have pain or are a caregiver, family member, or friend of someone diagnosed, we’ll help you face the challenges and life changes of chronic pain head-on.
Tell us about yourself
I advocate for all of us challenged with a chronic care condition involving chronic pain and their family, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and the public. One in three people (116 million) in the United States is affected by a condition that causes pain, which is bound to affect you or someone you know. But until you feel the pain, it is difficult to understand all the challenges it brings. Whether physical or mental, pain can and will consume you if you allow it to, and only the patient can begin the process of healing! I hope that my speaking engagements and books will inspire your eventual transformation filled with HOPE and motivation.
I was living my dream. I trained and performed cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics from age 4 through college. Straight out of college, I started my own cheer/dance training company. A year later, I was hired by Washington State University as the head spirit program coach. I have been battling chronic pain since 1997. First, with Endometriosis which resulted in a full hysterectomy and left oophorectomy. Then in 2002, I developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD); it is a progressive neuro-autoimmune condition that affects multiple systems in the body and needs to be treated early so that disability does not take over and TMJ. I lost my physical abilities and was bed bound for years. Using a wheelchair to get out of bed. It took three years to get a proper diagnosis and another four years to get the proper treatment.
I know firsthand how hard it is to continue looking for relief and perfect answers and coming up against healthcare professionals who blow you off or do not believe what you are saying could be what you’re experiencing. As I search for a cure, I have become my own best advocate and work sharing the information so that others do not have the same life struggles that I have. Even after seeing over 100 healthcare professionals, having major surgeries I didn’t need, complications such as internal bleeding, medication interactions, kidney stones, tumors, severe constipation, and so much more – I did not give up or give in! I was tested to my limits and realized they were past the boundaries I placed on myself. I had to become the Chief of Staff of my medical team. If I can do it, anyone can. We all just need support and HOPE!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am a best-selling author and have published nine books to date. I am also a reality personality living with multiple rare and chronic diseases. I most enjoy being a chronic pain educator, patient advocate, and president of the International Pain Foundation. I fulfill my life as a motivational speaker and best-selling author on pain topics. My blog, reality shows, and media appearances are used as a platform to help me provide access to individualized care for chronically ill patients globally. I present at healthcare conferences, speaking publicly, sharing my story, and educating and advocating for attendees. I have received more than 25 awards for my advocacy efforts. I am currently serving as Mrs. Southwest Petite USA.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The healthcare system is not always what we are led to believe. They call doctors who treat patients, practicing physicians. People look up to their doctors and put total faith in them. Through my experiences and volunteering with the International Pain Foundation, I have learned that I am responsible for myself, just as you are for yourself. It is important to remember that doctors study a particular practice of medicine. Because the provider is a neurologist doesn’t mean they can treat diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, Lyme, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Each doctor gets a small variety of a medical field and then finds a part of a specialty they love and work on with great ease, research, and education.
Unfortunately, so many other patients experience my story. I now share my knowledge of overcoming the challenges we face daily with our daily activities. I had to learn the hard way and now want to pass on my ability to give hope and answers to all patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals. I hope that speaking out about my journey stops it from happening to anyone else.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The first is to get the support of your family. It is tough to do if you are not supported at home. Secondly, I would suggest that it is a passion. Don't do it to make a million dollars. That thinking won't be enough to get you through the hard times. Finally, be sure you get all the licensing, bank account, and paperwork correct from the start and stay on top of it. It can be easy to start a business but hard if you don't do it correctly from the start. Getting a mentor already in the industry is another helpful tip to be sure to do it right.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Remember, there is an excellent reason for hope because there is help. All you have to do is reach out and seek it.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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