Young mother struggles with rare condition

Cumberland Hotel hosts Hope for Hayley fundraiser.

HAYLEY MCDOUGALL enjoys a rare moment out of bed with her daughter

Hayley McDougall possesses a strength few would imagine possible.

For 10 years, the 31-year old Vernon mother has struggled with an extremely rare, persistently untreatable and viciously debilitating condition known as New Daily Persistent Headache (NDPH). Throughout countless emergency room visits, surgeries, medications and even a coma, excruciating pain has been Hayley’s reality.

“Multiple times a day I raise my fingers to my temples to make sure they’re not bleeding and there aren’t actual daggers sticking out both sides of my head,” she says in an emotional YouTube video that’s been viewed more than 1,500 times. “It still shocks me that any human body can still fight and tolerate this level of pain.”

Her struggle to end her bed-ridden state has led her to the prestigious Mayo Clinic, where she’s already undergone two experimental surgeries with another one scheduled.

Only the surgical portion of her treatments are covered by B.C.’s Medical Services Plan. Additional expenses, including travel and even medical equipment, must be borne by Hayley and her family. To ease the financial burden, they’ve turned to her community, already raising more than $40,000 to cover her mounting expenses.

Hayley’s friends in the Comox Valley are also contributing, organizing a massive Hope for Hayley fundraiser featuring live music by nationally renowned artists, including members of the indie rock group Mother Mother. The event is scheduled for Oct. 13 at the Cumberland Hotel.

“Hayley’s resolve is nothing short of inspirational,” says Brooke Peters-Lefebvre, one of the local Hope for Hayley organizers. “She’s had a battery pack the size of a 1990s cell phone implanted in her groin, and now they’re going to tunnel wires under her skin leading directly onto her temples. If she can take on that physical burden, the least we can do is help her with the financial one.”

To learn about Hayley and her rare condition, visit and search for Hope for Hayley. For more information on local fundraising events, or to donate items for a silent auction, visit Hope for Hayley McDougall on Facebook.

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