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Cynthia Toussaint  

Cynthia Toussaint was a 21-year-old accomplished ballerina, singer and actor when she sustained a ballet injury in 1982 that triggered the chronic pain disease, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, better known as “The Suicide Disease.” For the first

Cynthia Toussaint serves as Spokesperson at For Grace and has had Complex Regional Pain Syndrome for 28 years.  She later developed fibromylagia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as over-lapping conditions.  Cynthia founded For Grace in 2002 to raise awareness about CRPS and five years later expanded the organization’s mission to include all women in pain. Before becoming ill, she was an accomplished ballerina and worked professionally as a dancer, actor and singer.


Since 1997, she has been a leading advocate for women in pain, raising awareness through local, national and worldwide media as well as public speaking. Toussaint championed and gave key testimony at two California Senate informational hearings. The first, in May 2001, was dedicated to CRPS awareness. The second took place in February 2004 and explored the chronic under treatment of and gender bias toward women in pain.  Both of these efforts were the first of their kind in the nation.


In 2006, Toussaint ran for the California State Assembly to bring attention to her CRPS Education Bill that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed after she got it to his desk in its first year.  Her current bill, known as “Fail First”, will abolish the unethical prescription practices used by the health insurance industry to save money at the cost of pain patients.    


Toussaint was the first CRPS sufferer to be featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and on the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio. She is a consultant for ABC News, FOX News and PainPathways, the official magazine of the World Institute of Pain.


She is the author of her upcoming memoir, Battle for Grace, slated for release in 2011.  Also, Toussaint is experiencing her first-ever partial CRPS remission largely due to the narrative therapy of writing this book.    


Toussaint continues to be a leading advocate for health care reform in California. She was instrumental in changing public opinion which sparked sweeping HMO reform legislation that was signed by Governor Gray Davis in 1999.  Her focus has now shifted to creating a single-payer, universal health care plan in California that would provide a model for the rest of the country.


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