A Program of the Medtronic Foundation

Edward Levien
Bakken Winner Levien 

Edward Levien

2013 Bakken Invitation Honoree

Bethesda, Maryland, United States
Hero Dogs, Inc.

Medical Condition: Chronic Pain from CRPS
Medical Therapy: Neurostimulation*

Edward's "extra life"Inspires Me

After losing 12 years of his life to intolerable pain, Ed found relief through neurostimulation. He has since dedicated his life to helping others suffering in pain. Through the Hero Dogs program, he trains and then donates service dogs to wounded veterans, providing soldiers with increased independence and improved quality of life.

Edward's Story

"My condition—chronic pain—is a relentless, never-ending, never-lessening, never-compromising, never-yielding state of living hell…one that I thought would be a burden I would have to carry the rest of my life. By the end of the twelfth year, I had reached the inevitable and inescapable conclusion that scores of millions with my condition had arrived at long before me; I had to finally accept that hope was futile, that relief would never come.

"I couldn't sleep and wouldn't ever again. I couldn't hold my wife's hand and would never again. I couldn't do or wear anything that would touch my arm. I couldn't dance with my daughters when they were married and I couldn't hold my newborn grandchildren when they were born. I could not work, could not do anything…and seriously contemplated suicide.

"Did I ever really try to beat it? Of course. But after 12 years of trying virtually every kind of doctor, treatment, drug, and therapy (western, eastern, Native American, holistic, spiritual, experimental), I had given up hope. Then out of the blue, I learned about neurostimulation…a therapy that had been around for 30 years…but one I had never heard of.

"It worked. My pain was under control. It was then I knew what needed to be done, what I had to do. I would devote my time to helping as many pain sufferers as possible."

Edward’s Words of Inspiration

"To the millions of pain sufferers out there, I now know there is real hope. Find any group of people and tell them your story. Chances are if one of them isn’t in pain, they know someone who is. Together, we can share our knowledge and successes. It’s a start in the right direction."

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$20,000 Grant Makes an Impact

Edward's Charity

"Hero Dogs, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to raise, train, and place service dogs with our wounded veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. These dogs are provided at absolutely no cost to the disabled veteran. They are trained intensively for more than two years to do almost everything that wounded vets are not able to do for themselves. They truly give the wounded a second chance at life."

 

Learn about other 2013 Honorees »

*Not everyone who receives this therapy will receive the same results as the patient in this story. Talk with your doctor to determine if this type of therapy is right for you. Please refer to Important Safety Information.