Joan Miller (30) is very passionate about theatre. In high school, she quickly fell in love with science, art, and literature. While she competed in various sports, theatre always lured her away. She successfully completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Theatre Arts. In fall 2015, she was accepted into the PhD program at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, but her health has prevented her from completing her degree.
Joan has always dealt with high levels of stress in her life due to her tendency to overload with extracurricular activities. When she and her fiancé decided to move across the country to complete her doctorate degree, it was an exciting yet incredibly stressful time. By spring 2016, Joan suffered from intense anxiety and depression. As her health declined, she was forced to withdraw from all her coursework due to experiencing chronic pain and tingling in her arm and wrist.
On November 6, 2016, Joan was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Her condition has made everything more difficult. Her hands shake, knees ache, and she gets extremely fatigued. Taking daily prescriptions have allowed her to return to school, but she has reduced her course load which further extended the time it will take for her to graduate.
To help improve her overall quality of life, Joan recently applied and was approved to receive a psychiatric assistance dog through Little Angels Service Dogs of San Diego, California. Her service dog will be specially trained to ease her anxiety, provide deep pressure therapy for her pain, and help maintain a personal space bubble that will prevent others from knocking into her highly sensitive body. “I anticipate this dog will bring me a certain amount of serenity that I’m lacking which will be a great benefit for a disease that is triggered and exacerbated by stress,” Joan said.
Joan hopes to raise $17,000 through RedBasket.org to begin the training process of her Little Angel. “My dog can be attentive to my needs at all times in a way that other humans can’t be,” said Joan. By making a tax-deductible donation, you can join Joan with her canine companion. Share her story today!