Dan Henry, MD
Humans of Salt Lake City
June 16, 2017
‘My name is Dr. Dan Henry and I started the Danielle Byron Henry Migraine Foundation in honor of my daughter, Danielle. When she was very young…about five years old, she started having migraines. She got very sick and they kept getting worse and it really exploded when she was about eleven. She ended up in the hospital for about a week. Over the next few years, we saw pretty much every neurologist and headache specialist in the region. We traveled to different doctors and no one really had any answers as she got older. At seventeen, Danielle was a gifted athlete. She lettered in two sports during her freshman year and then she had a stroke and ended her own life to end her suffering during her senior year.
I was a general family practitioner and my practice had been full but, after Danielle passed away, I started transferring a lot of my patients to my other partners so I could devote more of my time to headache patients. I started spending hours and hours of my own time researching migraine disease even though I wasn’t planning on becoming a headache expert but the head of the New England Headache Institute and I had visited and he told me I had become a headache expert.
Over the years, I’ve worked exclusively with headache patients. I’ve come to realize that, at some point, not far down the road, someone is going to need to take my place so we started this foundation. We are raising awareness about the sixth leading cause of disability in the country with it affecting thirty-eight million Americans. Fourteen million Americans have chronic migraine and headache pain every day but the research done on it is miniscule compared to other conditions. The National Institute of Health gave over $24 million to headache research, over $200 million to asthma research, and over $1.1 billion to diabetes research and yet, there are more headache patients in the country than there are diabetics and asthmatics combined.
Migraine disease is a severe neurological condition that involves everything from photophobia to phonophobia, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, vertigo and the list goes on and on. It’s a disease of a highly sensitive brain. So, I decided we need to raise awareness and to get people’s attention. We’re starting on a community level and we hope to see it spread from there. When I help a patient to know I understand their pain and can make it personal because of my experience with my daughter, it means I’m doing Danielle’s work. I’m just a vessel but I see my daughter in so many of these young people whose lives are being so diminished by their pain. It breaks my heart but I’m here to do something about it.’
Elizabeth Henry Weyher
Humans of Salt Lake City
June 18, 2017
‘Danielle was my sister. She was three years younger than me and we were very close growing up. We played a lot of sports and she was very talented athletically and academically. When she was eight, she started getting migraines and, as she got older, the disease progressed to the point where she couldn’t function or go to school or play sports. She just couldn’t live her life and experience her childhood normally.
I watched my parents do everything they could do to help Danielle. They developed a new normal and a new way to survive. They squared their shoulders, got to work, and did the best they could. Sometimes, there’d be a phone call and they’d need to go pick Danielle up because she had a bad migraine and couldn’t drive or something like that. They had to spend extra time with her, which was understandable. I was a child at the time and, in retrospect, I wish I had done more for her, too.
Immediately after Danielle’s death, we established a charitable foundation with the primary goal of benefiting children and animals through which we supported many charitable causes. However, as my father’s practice focused on migraine disease, we realized that we needed to do more in our community to support those living with migraine disease. We established the Danielle Byron Henry Migraine Foundation in 2016 to support treatment and healing of people living with migraine disease. The real power of the foundation is in the knowledge that my father, Dr. Henry, obtained after taking care of Danielle for so many years. He started seeing more and more headache patients and today, he has really focused on that branch of medicine.
People get tears in their eyes when they speak of my father, and so do I. He has helped so many people and he has changed their lives. He has given their lives back to them by helping them to become functional again. That’s a rarity in that he is so personally invested in his patients. He works night and day and spends time on the weekends researching issues for a particularly complicated patients. He does everything he can to take care of people and, in the eyes of his patients, which I have seen before, there’s a sweet gratitude for the difference he has made and continues to make and that’s what makes all this worthwhile.’
Humans of Salt Lake City
June 20, 2017
‘On January 7, 2012, I woke up with a migraine. I took some medicine, went back to bed and I woke up with that same migraine and I’ve had it ever since then, I’ve had a daily, consistent headache that has never gone away. A day in my life living with migraine disease usually involves waking up with a bad headache and then deciding if it’s worth getting out of bed. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Over the course of the past five years or so, I’ve been able to somehow live well in spite of my challenges. But the only way I learned that living life with a migraine all the time was possible was when I thought it wasn’t. I got really, really depressed and thought life wasn’t worth living. I ended up at the University of Utah emergency room where I found a new doctor.
A physician’s assistant asked us if we had ever heard of Dr. Henry and we hadn’t. So we made an appointment the next day. We got in rather quickly and, since then, he’s made a major difference in my life. I was at the bottom of the bottom when I met Dr. Henry. I was severely depressed, incredibly anxious, and even suicidal because of the constant migraine. I had no hope and no desire to live. He gave me a reason to live…his compassion, his understanding, and his caring are the marks of a good doctor.
Since meeting Dr. Henry, I’ve had a reason to get out of bed every day because I know that one day, we’ll find something that will help me…that one day, I won’t be in pain, that one day, I won’t have to swallow a bunch of pills every morning and every night and, that one day, I’ll be able to have a family. I’ll be able to devote my entire time to them and my headache won’t get in the way of that. I didn’t think that was possible, but I now know it is. I am so grateful for Dr. Henry and his family and especially for his daughter, Danielle, and for the sacrifices that she made so that I can live, so that I can have a family, and so that I can have hope. I know that life is worth living and that I can live with my pain. It took getting to that point for me to turn around and decide that I can live with it. I can do what I want to do in this life and my life is worth fighting for.’
Phone & Email
Danielle Byron Henry Migraine Foundation
PO Box 91051
Salt Lake City, UT 84109