Our Mission at Veterans In Pain is personal.
With Founder,Micaela Bensko’s, extensive lineage of Veterans back to the Civil War, the impetus for supporting those in need, is quite literally, in her blood.
However, it wasn’t until her position as Vice President of Rebuilding America’s Warriors (RAW) in 2006 - (Her family's foundation providing free reconstructive surgery for troops returning from war) - that Bensko became keenly aware of the ongoing issues plaguing wounded Veterans once discharged and declared mechanically functional, yet left devoid of guidance or access to therapeutic chronic pain solutions.
Empathy is one thing, true understanding is another.
After 5 years working closely with RAW Veterans, the tables turned. In 2011, Bensko suffered an accident in her driveway resulting in an inverted cervical spine and ruptured lumbar, over 20 spine surgeries & procedures, a wheelchair, and six years 80% bed-bound. Her diagnostic journey mirrored that of many suffering the enigma that is chronic pain, finally receiving the diagnoses of two of the most devastating chronic pain diseases known to our medical community, today - Arachnoiditis, which can be caused by just one injection within the dura of the spinal cord, resulting in an autoimmune response of plaque-buildup around the nerves within the dura .
Placing any pressure at all on her tailbone incited labor-type contractions within her cord every 10-15 minutes around the clock. A living hell with symptoms she discovered not uncommon in several of the Veterans she had come to know so well. This was then complicated by the diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her cervical spine.- CRPS/RSD is another rare neurologic disorder, both ranked among the most painful of all medical problems. Each nicknamed a 'suicide disease' because they are considered incurable, progressive in nature, and limited in response to treatments. Bensko was a wife with four beautiful children, but she was 'done'. How could one human being physically withstand levels of pain medically designated at 1,000 on the McGill Pain Scale of 1-10.
Then, a friend also suffering from Arachnoiditis mentioned stem cells as a possible solution, to which Bensko responded, "snake oil". "I could not fathom how anything so simple could even begin to touch the levels of pain I was experiencing and the enormity of the situation it had caused. Then I saw the incredible impact the procedure had on her life, and revisited the idea. I had no other choice. I'd exhausted all of our options."
Then came the pricetag, which floored Bensko at $24,000. With a generous donation by a family friend, Bensko underwent the systemic stem cell transplant on June 28, 2017. That was the beginning of, a new beginning.
"Within 24 hours, the contractions in my spine were gone. Completely gone. I was able to go back to Physical Therapy and learn to walk again. In the house at least. Without question, that one procedure, with a lot of hard work on my part, increased my quality of life by at least 75%. I couldn't help but think how incredible this was, but so expensive and inaccessible to the Veterans who sacrificed so much, even their own quality of life, in service to our country. How unfair it was."
By spring, 2018, Veterans In Pain V.I.P. was born. "I basically took what we did with RAW, except with nonsurgical pain solutions, and conducted a slow and steady grassroots recruitment of highly-specialized physicians in the field of OrthoBiologics and Alternative medicine, who wanted to give back by volunteering their services to Veterans in need"
As of November 2020, V.I.P. has facilitated approximately $1,000,000 in value-of- services via its all-volunteer V.I.P. Physician Network across the country and in Canada. However, volunteer does not necessarily mean free.
Our passionate all-volunteer team at V.I.P. works tirelessly to continuously acquire the much-needed funds to cover hard costs from OR fees, anesthesiology, bio-product, OrthoBiologic collection kits, necessary travel, accommodations, as well as our V.I.P. Research Division’s IRB-Certified Studies, Speakers Bureau, Veteran Support Retreats, Veteran and Physician Outreach Efforts, and to come - the development of the first information portal to exist geared specifically to Veterans in search of nonsurgical therapeutic education and resources.
We are not alone in baring the storm of drastically reduced Covid -related funding cuts. With this sensitivity in mind, pain continues throughout a pandemic, and without your support, these hard costs are bared by the Veteran, and often can delay treatment even further.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about V.I.P. and how we started, so together we might continue to pay forward, the quality of life our Veterans so greatly deserve.
Veterans In Pain V.I.P. - is a
• GuideStar Platinum-Rated Nonprofit
• Certified-Resource of Wounded Warrior Project
• Member of International Society of Stem Cell Research, ISSCR & Regenerative Medicine Foundation
• Endorsed by the Interventional OrthoBiologic Foundation IOF & American Academy/Assoc of Orthopedic Medicine AAOM
Watch V.I.P. Founder Micaela Bensko's guest interview on the Edge On Regenerative Podcast! Learn of the unique service-borne conditions plaguing our Veteran population today, the issues faced on their often exhaustive search for chronic pain solutions, and the science behind actual solutions existing, today.