Randy is an avid advocate for those living with pain, including himself. He began this work while volunteering with the American Pain Foundation (APF) where he met some fantastic people. Following its closure, he became a member of The Pain Community (TPC) where he currently participates as an active contributor to the online community.
Forster served nine years in the Marine Corps where his long road of pain began, starting with torn cartilage and ligaments in his right knee; he continues to live with this pain to this day. Following his tour of duty, he moved back to Wisconsin, where he worked for a factory that produced plastic sheeting for many different purposes. The requirement of going between three floors and climbing ladders on the machines didn’t help his body much. One evening while working on a machine that was producing “lettuce wrap ” (saran wrap type material), his operator failed to push the tails towards him; this resulted in a right shoulder injury in which something was torn causing ongoing pain which now he feels all the time. In 1997, Randy reconnected with a woman he met during his military service and less than a year later, he moved to Arkansas and married her. There Forster started a sharpening business that he successfully ran until 2008. Between the economy crash and the continued wear and tear on his body, he was forced to close the doors to that business. Randy is now on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) with an 80% rating; the Veteran’s Administration (VA) has him listed as unemployable. Besides helping others living with pain, Forster likes to read books on his Kindle, garden and play Dungeons & Dragons online.
Dionetta M Hudzinski RN, MN
With over 45 years of nursing experience in a variety of healthcare settings, Dionetta has expertise of more than thirty years in the field of pain management, including the use of integrative treatment options. She also has the personal experience of living with pain. In 2005, she began her own consulting business, Comfort Care Unlimited, to provide hope, advocacy, education and complementary interventions in western Washington State. Hudzinski taught Undergraduate Nursing for more than twelve years at WSU-College of Nursing on the Yakima Campus.
Dionetta advocates for respectful, compassionate care and justice for all those who live in pain. “My mission in life is to advocate for what is right and to empower others to access what is essential to achieve their optimum potential in every aspect of their lives.” She is past President of the Washington – Alaska Pain Initiative (WAKPI) and past coordinator for the WA Pain Forum. Hudzinski served on the steering committee for The Pain Community during the early years and is a regular blogger and content contributor to TPC’s online community.
Carolyn is an experienced IT professional with more than 30 years of experience. She is the founder/owner of CAN Connect Services established in 2012 and the webmaster for The Pain Community and others. She served as the webmaster for the American Pain Foundation managing more than 3,000 web pages and served nearly one million pageviews per year from 2003-2012. She coordinated the online support community PainAid, where she led forums, trained moderators, worked with experts who offered webinars and special chats and monitored the daily activities. Noel is a Marine Corps veteran who lives with chronic pain following an auto accident. She has volunteered with non-profit organizations offering her extensive experience in administration, social work, religious ministries, finance, and advocacy. Noel served on the steering committee for The Pain Community during the early years and is an active contributor to the online community.
Jim has over 32 years of experience in the vending industry and has worked for Crane Merchandising Systems, the world’s leading vending manufacturer, for over 20 years. He is a Senior Field Service Engineer with a territory that covers five East Coast States where he provides onsite client training on the ever changing computer electronics of today’s interactive vending merchandise, customer service, product set-up and remote trouble shooting. Stemple is a United States Navy veteran who served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and is honored to hold the title of plank owner.
Over the last 28 years, Jim has also been a caregiver for his wife who lives with pain. He has been there from the very beginning when the pain started and has first- hand knowledge of the toll persistent pain has taken on his life-long partner over the years. Jim has worked tirelessly as an advocate for people living with pain for many years. He served as a West Virginia State Advocate for the American Pain Foundation Action Network in the past. Now, he is an avid supporter of The Pain Community and has recently become a regular blogger for the online community where he shares the wisdom acquired over the years of being a caregiver. Stemple continues to reach out to other caregivers to let them know that they are a vital part of the life of a person living with pain and that it is ok to feel frustrated, emotional, and sad. “Being a caregiver is a rewarding job but it can also be the toughest job you will ever have.”
Brad is an avid advocate for those living with pain, including himself. He began this work while volunteering with the American Pain Foundation (APF) and later became a member of The Pain Community where he currently participates as an active contributor to the online community. Besides helping others living with pain in the online community, Washburn likes to read books, work on his boat when energy permits, grill for friends and be the devoted human companion of Ms. Kitty.
Brad spent over twenty-five years casting silver, gold, and platinum, producing lines for small designers around the country. He also raised his two sons as a single parent that included serving as an active volunteer to both of their schools and scout troops. He did all of this while battling constant pain which has since spread over his entire body.
About 10 years ago, Brad’s pain progressed to the point that he was forced to listen to medical advice and sell his house and jewelry casting shop, move with his nephew and apply for Social Security disability. That fight took three years but was ultimately successful. Later, he made the move south to get out of the cold northern winters as cold weather plays havoc on his pain. Since early 2015, he has simplified his life even more by relocating to the Gulf Coast; he now lives aboard a 33-foot sailboat which he always dreamed of owning. Washburn has no idea how long he will be able to stay aboard and live independently (he has given up his driver’s license), yet feels blessed and committed to enjoying each day to the best he can.