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LI student spreads awareness of CRPS

Olivia Riegler, a junior at Plainview-Old Bethpage John

Olivia Riegler, a junior at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School, has spread awareness about complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, in seeking her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Credit: Jennifer Riegler

A student at Plainview-Old Bethpage John F. Kennedy High School whose aunt has a chronic pain condition is spreading awareness about the malady.

Olivia Riegler, a junior, said she began her endeavors to educate people about complex regional pain syndrome, also known as CRPS, because her Aunt Beth initially was misdiagnosed and did not receive the correct treatment for more than a decade.

CRPS is a form of excessive pain that usually affects an arm or a leg and typically develops after an injury, a surgery, a stroke or a heart attack, according to health experts.

"Doctors don’t know about it and patients often get misdiagnosed," said Riegler, 16.

She tackled the project as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. She is a member of Troop 3251. 

Riegler's efforts have included speaking about the syndrome during an Oyster Bay town hall meeting, staffing an information table at Plainview Hospital and working on a website about CRPS. She also raised funds for her cause through a bagel sale. In earlier endeavors, she hosted a lemonade stand and accepted monetary donations in lieu of birthday gifts 

At the high school, she is a member of the choir, varsity cheerleading and golf teams, and in the Best Buddies, Community Service and Fashion clubs.

Her other involvements include volunteering weekly at Carolyn's DANCENTER in Plainview, being a teacher's helper in the Hebrew school at Midway Jewish Center in Syosset, and participating in United Synagogue Youth.

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