Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan once said that behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain. To Lauren Le Franc, pain is no stranger.
About six years ago, she lost her mobility to a rare neuro-inflammatory disorder called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). CRPS is characterized by its level of extreme pain, rated at 42 out of 50 on the McGill University Pain Scale.
Due to the nature of CRPS, sending pain signals to the brain, Lauren lives with symptoms of constant, intense pain in her limbs, hands, and feet, as well as changes in skin color and body temperature. The severe pain that she frequently experiences makes daily activities involving mobility, like eating and getting ready, tremendously difficult. Not to mention that even the slightest touch can worsen and intensify the pain even more, sometimes for months on end.
One day, Lauren saw a woman take her Go-Go® scooter out of her car and put it together, as she describes, “Faster than I could unfold my manual chair.” She said that the woman was so happy to tell her all about her scooter and Lauren was totally sold on it. She knew she had to buy it immediately.
“It is the single best purchase I’ve ever made,” Lauren said.
Lauren currently resides in the Bay Area in California and uses her Go-Go scooter as her primary mobility device, in addition to a manual wheelchair.
In fact, Lauren customized her scooter to reflect her personality and style. The Go-Go scooter has helped Lauren gain independence and a sense of normalcy in day-to-day life as she pursues her passions of learning, reading and creating art, her inspiration coming from within.
“Who knew a mobility device could also improve your mood?” Lauren remarked.
She lives her best, backed by what she describes as a small, but mighty, support system. Even the greatest amount of pain can’t hold her back from living life independently.
“I live with the most painful disease known to humankind, more painful than stage 4 cancer and unprepared childbirth according to the McGill Pain Index, and I still have reasons to smile every day. That sure feels like an accomplishment to me,” Lauren said.
Out of her pain comes beautiful projects to help others in similar situations. She also is an activist and an advocate in the disabled community, educating the public about CRPS/RSD.
“I also built a lovely Instagram community that helps each other when we feel lost,” Lauren said.
You can find and join Lauren’s CRPS community at @crps.unicorn on Instagram.