Local doctor, father fights migraine disease in honor of his daughter

Jun 26, 2018, 7:27 PM | Updated: 8:41 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Migraine disease is an invisible illness affecting more than 40 million Americans. A local doctor has teamed up with the Utah Film Center to shed light on the misunderstood disease.

Dr. Dan Henry and the Utah Film Center have partnered together to sponsor the showing of a national documentary called Out of My Head. It plays at the library in downtown Salt Lake City Tuesday night at 7pm.

Henry has worked to shed light on an illness he very familiar with.

Danielle Henry suffered from severe migraine disease which was so debilitating she could no longer participate in her favorite sports or attend school regularly.

Henry’s youngest daughter, Danielle, suffered from severe migraines throughout her life. Her illness became so debilitating she could no longer participate in the sports she loved or attend school regularly.

As a family medicine doctor, Henry did everything he could to find a cure for his daughter.

“I spent most of my free time researching trying to find out answers,” he said.

Sadly, his efforts were unsuccessful. In the last 90 days of her life, she enjoyed only 6 days without a migraine. After enduring so much pain, Danielle ended her life her senior year of high school.

Henry said migraine disease is a very misunderstood illness that gets very little respect.

Some people say, “Gee, suck it up, it’s just a headache!” he said.

Henry clarified it’s not just a headache, but rather a very serious neurological disease.

He said a Diet Coke and Tylenol won’t cut it for people who have migraines.

“[It’s] not compatible with going to school. You can’t hold down a job even part time. Their functional life is at a very, very level,” he explained.

After much suffering, Danielle Henry ended her life during her senior year of high school in 1999.

Henry explained that a patient with migraines has a hypersensitive brain affected by anything from light and sound to perfume and weather changes. Symptoms include much more than a painful headache. Many patients suffer from nausea, vomiting, lack of vision, exhaustion, and in severe cases even a stroke.

He said migraine disease is the fifth or sixth leading cause of disability in the United Stated.

After Danielle’s death, Henry decided to devote his entire medical practice to treating patients with migraine disease.

“This is what I was supposed to do in her legacy,” he said with great conviction.

Henry has worked to save the lives of many other patients, like 25-year-old Amanda Chase.

Chase developed her first migraine when she was 12-years-old. She was nauseous, had a pounding headache, threw up, and then slept for hours. Since that day, she has suffered through regular migraines.

In 2015, Chase reached a new low.

She wasn’t going to school and didn’t have a job because of the disease.

Dr. Dan Henry along with Danielle’s mother and older sister, Elizabeth, started a foundation in her name to increase awareness about migraine disease. It is called the Danielle Byron Migraine Foundation.

“At that point I was so hopeless and I just kind of wanted to give up,” she said.

Chase soon found Dr. Henry, who told her about his daughter, Danielle. She was inspired by his passion for finding  answers.

“I know it was so hard for her [Danielle] because I’ve been in her position,” she said.

Danielle’s legacy lives on.

“Because of Danielle, I was able to be better and I’m able to have a life,” said Chase.

Henry has continued to treat hundreds of patients who suffer from the devastating illness. He said he sees his daughter in so many of his patients.

“As long as my body and brain work, I’ll keep doing this,” he said.

With the help of his wife and oldest daughter, Elizabeth, Henry started a foundation in honor of his daughter called the Danielle Byron Migraine Foundation to increase awareness about the disease and to provide support for people living with migraines.

Henry ultimately would like to build a comprehensive migraine treatment center in Utah to treat patients with some of the most difficult migraine cases.


KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Healthy Mind Matters

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Jed Boal

Today is Teen Mental Wellness Day – here’s ways to help your teen

Teenagers who are struggling with their mental health are not always eager or ready to reach out for help. Thursday is Teen Mental Wellness Day, so we wanted to share some ideas with teens and parents who are seeking answers.
21 days ago
A recent NAMI study shows that African American and Black adults in the U.S. are more likely than w...
Ayanna Likens

Study: African American and Black adults are more likely to suffer from mental illness than white adults

A recent NAMI study shows that African American and Black adults in the U.S. are more likely than white adults to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress.
23 days ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Lauren Steinbrecher

St. George mom shares warning after FBI sees rise in sextortion scams targeting teen boys

A St. George mom is sharing a warning for other parents, as the FBI says it's seeing a huge rise in teens targeted in sextortion scams.
1 month ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Karah Brackin

Students across Utah come together to learn the importance of mental health care

Mental health, wellness and suicide prevention — they're all big topics of conversation, and more and more, those conversations include our kids. That's where Hope Squad is coming in to help.
2 months ago
Ayanna Likens

Tips to set realistic mental health goals

If you are planning on setting a goal to prioritize your mental health this year, Dr. Kristin Francis at Huntsman Mental Health Institute recommends starting with small goals.
2 months ago
CJ and his mother
(Courtesy: Smuin Family)...
Alex Cabrero

Tragedy to triumph: how a Utah family is honoring their son

The heartwarming way a Utah family is honoring the life of their son while helping others.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Local doctor, father fights migraine disease in honor of his daughter