Ross School - Senior Projects 2010

Student: Jessica Federico

Mentor: Jody Heneveld


Title: Wings of Hope – RSD Awareness

Description: Wings Of Hope was a benefit that I planned in order to raise awareness for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. RSD is a chronic neurological syndrome that usually develops at the site of a minor or major trauma injury. It causes severe burning pain, pathological changes in bone and skin, excessive sweating, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch. I currently suffer from this highly unknown and often misunderstood syndrome and I wanted to try to help other people that live with it as well. I decided that I would do a fundraiser. I was able to successfully raise over $5,000 for the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association. In addition, I prepared and presented a power point and wrote a 10-page research paper about RSD explaining in detail what it is, how it affects people and what the current treatments are.


Benefit Images (DSC_0003.JPG, DSC_0004.JPG, DSC_0007.JPG, DSC_0009.JPG, DSC_0010.JPG, DSC_0021.JPG, DSC_0034.JPG, DSC_0058.JPG, DSC_0059.JPG, DSC_0062.JPG, DSC_0064.JPG, DSC_0067.JPG, DSC_0105.JPG, DSC_0106.JPG, DSC_0107.JPG, DSC_0114.JPG, DSC_0122.jpg, DSC_0145.JPG, DSC_0149.jpg, DSC_0158.JPG, DSC_0222.JPG, DSC_0243.JPG, DSC_0371.JPG)

Benefit Presentation

Special Thanks

Research Paper

PowerPoint Presentation


For my senior project, I wanted to focus on somehow bringing awareness for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, a chronic neurological pain syndrome that usually develops at the site of a minor or major trauma injury. RSD, also known as Causalgia and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is best described as an injury to a nerve or soft tissue that doesnÕt follow the normal healing path. There is no cure for RSD, so treatment is aimed at relieving pain.

Unfortunately, I suffer from this disease and no one completely understands what it truly is and how it affects the patients and their family members and friends. I wanted to bring about awareness on this virtually invisible and little known disease. I also wanted to learn more about RSD seeing as I was twelve years old when I was first diagnosed and there is always more to learn.

Ultimately, I decided to host a benefit to raise money for the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association to help find a cure. The money I raised will go to research and educating healthcare providers and doctors on RSD. I also composed a ten-page scientific research paper explaining the disease and made an informative power point for my benefit.

Planning my benefit took a lot of hard work and time management. I had to plan meetings, meet with vendors, create letters, advertise successfully and decide exactly how I wanted the night to go. I had a full course dinner, Chinese auctions, a silent auction, 50/50 raffle, a power point presentation and a DJ. Up until the last minute, I was receiving donations from restaurants and merchandise stores. I went to a systems meeting in order to get the benefit date and approval to use the Cafˇ for the night. I scheduled myself to be a guest speaker at the East Hampton Rotary Club and was able to get a press release together for local papers. Ordering decorations and creating my theme was another huge part of my process. I became a very smart shopper and kept my budget in check. The decorating process on the day of my benefit went very smooth seeing as I had over ten volunteers to help me. The night went absolutely perfect and I am thrilled with the final product. I never thought it would be as amazing as it turned out.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with how my benefit turned out. I raised $5,058.25 for the cause, which was more than double what I had expected. I learned a lot about myself through this project and especially learned that when I put my mind to something I can achieve anything. Juggling schoolwork, benefit planning, college applications and the pain of RSD itself was a huge struggle but I kept myself focused. My project really helped me grow into a responsible and respected person. I am also more comfortable with putting my story out into the everyday world and trying to make a change.

Works Cited

"Complex Regional Pain Syndrome —." Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Web. 03 Jan. 2010. <>

"Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Information Page:." National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Web. 03 Jan. 2010. <>.

"Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) Syndrome -." New York State Department of Health. Web. 03 Jan. 2010. <>.

"RSDSA: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association." RSDSA: Home. Web. 03 Jan. 2010. <>.

David R. Olmos. "The Mystery of RSD." Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA) 09 Mar 1998: S1+. SIRS Researcher. Web. 02 January 2010. <>.

"SSR 03-02p." Social Security Online - The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration. Web. 03 Jan. 2010. <>.

McGrory, Kathleen. "Doctors Struggle to Treat Mysterious and Unbearable Pain." Historical Newspapers. Web. 05 Jan. 2010. <;PQDOC;HNP;PQD;HNP;PROD;x-article-image;1631017312&returnpage=>.

Koestler, Ph.D., Angela J., and Ann Myers, M.D. "Understanding Chronic Pain." Questia Online Library. Web. 05 Jan. 2010. <>.

Community Member (Details)

Katie Aker

Fundraising Consultant for the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association