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Stop-It: Coffee for a Cause and the Facial Pain Research Foundation

Trigeminal Neuralgia. It’s a nerve disorder, and it afflicts about 400,000 people in the United States. People with trigeminal neuralgia experience episodes of shocking pain, sometimes triggered by sensation or stimulation. And trigeminal neuralgia is just one condition in a category of disorders that can cause neuropathic facial pain—often poorly understood and heavily under-researched. (Neuropathic means pain related to or stemming from the nervous
system, and it results from damage or disorder.)

Stewarts Coffee is committed to helping make a difference for people living with trigeminal neuralgia and other neuropathic pain conditions. Through our Project Donate, we’ve created Stop-It Coffee for a Cause to put hope into action. Every bag sold raises funds for the Facial Pain Research Foundation to help find relief for people living with TN and other conditions. Like all Project Donate coffees, Stop-It is the result of a partnership—and this one has a local Chicago angle, with Pat Tomasulo of the WGN Morning News (more on that in a moment). 

Coffee for a Cause and the Facial Pain Research Foundation (FPRF)

The Facial Pain Research Foundation (FPRF) was founded in 2011 with the mission to find a cure for Trigeminal Neuralgia and related neuropathic facial pain, while also developing therapies to permanently stop other nerve-generated facial pain and diseases. The FPRF is the only organization in the world dedicated solely to curing facial pain. With science hubs in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Israel, the FPRF funds nine different research projects focused on understanding the causes, therapies, and cures for the merciless pain people experience. The foundation is able to put $0.95 of every dollar raised toward research—an outstanding metric for any nonprofit. 

Progress toward treatment and a cure has been steady: the FPRF recently published an update on current research intended to map the brain centers activated when a person has a trigeminal neuralgia episode to identify what is effective at helping people living with the condition.  

The Chicago Connection: Pat & Amy Tomasulo

The Chicago connection for Stop-It is through WGN host and sports anchor Pat Tomasulo. Pat’s wife, Amy, has suffered from trigeminal neuralgia since 2001. Together, she and Pat created “Laugh Your Face Off,” an annual stand-up comedy event in Chicago that has raised over $2 million for the FPRF.  

Pat is on the FPRF Executive Committee, overseeing all aspects of the committee’s fundraising as well as serving as a spokesperson for the foundation. He’s well-known in the Chicago area, having been on the WGN Morning News since 2005. Prior to joining the WGN Morning News, Pat was executive producer and host of his own late-night comedy show, “Man of the People.” He has also reported for “LIVE! With Regis and Kelly,” hosted the ABC series “Shaq Vs” and has been a headlining stand-up comedian in the Chicago area as well as nationally.  

Make a Difference with Every Cup

Sometimes, it’s hard to know that what you’re doing and buying really makes a difference. But small actions can add up to big change. That’s the idea behind Project Donate and Stop-It Coffee for a Cause. Together, we can help make progress toward a cure, helping hundreds of thousands of people, while also enjoying the simple pleasures of a fine cup of coffee. We hope you’ll become part of the movement, especially now that you know the story.