Injured worker Soula Mantalvanos appointed Director of HOPE & featured in PainAustralia


You may recall the unfortunate story of injured worker Soula, who was injured “below the belt” when a gym ball she sat on whilst working exploded, suffering an “invisible” but extremely painful injury called a pudendal nerve injury. Soula’s claim for workers compensation in Victoria was a real nightmare, she endured horrendous IMEs,  her legitimate benefits were not approved and she was also put on the most outrageous form of surveillance.

Injured worker Soula Mantalvanos appointed Director of HOPE

Soula started a website as well as a Facebook page where she shares her workcover ordeal, but most importantly where she shares knowledge, experience and empowers other people who suffer from the painful pudendal nerve injury condition.

Soula was recently appointed one of 12 Directors of HOPE – the Health Organisation for Pudendal Education! And we are so very proud of her achievement!


Appointed as Director of HOPE

Truly flabbergasted and so extremely honored to be made one of 12 Directors for the National charity organisation, HOPE (Health Organisation of Pudendal Education).

Firstly, who are HOPE?
HOPE is a charitable organisation that offers support and information to patients who have pudendal neuropathy (PN), pudendal neuralgia (PN), or pudendal nerve entrapment (PNE). HOPE‘s goal is that after visiting their website anyone with PN issues will be able to develop a plan of action that will help them get their life back.

And now you’re all probably wondering how this happened…
I obviously don’t have to explain how actively involved I am in seeking treatment and understanding for PN and I probably don’t have to explain my endless mouthing-off and communication of every detail that I find. But really, I’d say social media is really the drive behind my great news. Director of HOPE and cyber friend, Catherine Aurubind nominated me thinking I could contribute my resources of PN treatments for Victoria. Of course my first statement was, ‘I can’t contribute much, physically I’m still far from free’. But what sort of organisation would HOPE be if they weren’t made up of people who had experienced PN and if they weren’t setup online? And what sense that makes for anyone experiencing this horrid condition as we all struggle greatly with getting out and about. Where can we find relevant information, where can we find help? Online… via the wonderful cyber world and social media! It certainly has been a major contributor to my progress.

What can HOPE do?
Lots. Not only are they Wiki approved and listed as one of the external links under Pudendal Nerve Entrapment but HOPE’s website is set up to be the National resource and support for anything PN related. That includes providing funds for much-needed treatment and even transport costs if necessary. HOPE also host, what probably is, the largest and most relevant forum for PN. This alone is a massive resource.

What can you do?
Spread the word. PN is still far from being understood and acknowledged around the world therefore treatment and empathy are also limited. And as I mentioned, HOPE is a charitable organisation so heading to their site and making a donation or buying the bangles will help them help others.

Visit HOPE

Final message
There is life with PN, but it needs much understanding, empathy and education.

Signing off
Director for HOPE
Soula Mantalvanos

Read online.

Soula Mantalvanos is featured in PainAustralia

Social Media for Pain EducationSoulaMantalvanosPic

If that is not enough, Soula was recently also  interviewed by Painaustralia for a story in this week’s newsletter, Social Media For Pain Education. 

Social media has been Soula’s legs and voice over the past 6 years, allowing her to share her story and advocate for chronic pain, specifically Pudendal Neuralgia.

Needless to say she (and we) are so thrilled to share the story and Painaustralia’s newsletter and hope this leads to more awareness for all chronic pain issues and more empathy and understanding for people in pain.

WorkSafe Vic ought to be really ashamed of themselves!


Read Soula’s interview as featured in PainAustralia’s magazine in a new window





10 Responses to “Injured worker Soula Mantalvanos appointed Director of HOPE & featured in PainAustralia”

  1. Oh you guys, I just sent a tweet after realising that if all your followers pledged $4 to the scheme project we’d get Kris the funds to run his documentary.

    Come on injured workers, that’s not difficult, give up your next latte!!!

  2. And look out WorkCover, they should feel even more ashamed in Adelaide and hopefully around the nation soon.

    I met the wonderful Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson from yesterday. If you’re an injured worker in Adelaide and you need help, contact Rosemary. We’re joining her brilliant mission called ‘Bags of Love’ and donating our services to create a logo for what she hopes will become a National support scheme. Her aims are to provide food and items needed to ditched injured workers and to help them find work. Please read her website (new one to be launched soon) but it’s a great idea and a way we can turn whatever energy and capacity we have into something positive and not let this awful system beat us down to the ground.

    These are some of Rosemary’s words:

    ‘when an injured worker arrives at the Centre, the first thing I have to do is re-build the persons belief in themselves after the workers compensation “mill” has shattered their hopes and dreams and removed all concepts of planning for life post workers compensation.’

    and this:

    ‘The lady who  makes the home based products is aiming to build on the concept to engage with injured workers and to be able to get to the stage of having product to be able to retail.
    The injured workers who currently help in the “Bags of Love” kitchen are on return to work placement, they have very limited medical clearance hours.
    However Julie plans to get to the stage of being able to run a commercial size kitchen, that will give injured workers a place to work either via a return to work plan and when possible employment. Employment can be in many places either in the kitchen or in the retail or in the marketing area etc. There are a few injured workers who would like the opportunity to run a coffee (and chat) shop. Another two injured workers are working towards opening an OpShop. Another injured worker is working on budget food cookbook.’

    If you’re in Adelaide, go and meet Rosemary, just speaking with her will give you much relief. She is known well in local Government too and had a chance to present her thoughts, and boy did she rocking up with her WorkSafe ID printed on her T Shirt and requesting that during the meeting they call her by her ID number.

    As you can all see, your support means the world to me. Has everyone given their few dollars to THE Scheme project? I’m seeing Kris Vanston this week to be filmed for the next trailer… Oh yes, this lady aint going to go down without kicking and screaming for all of you out there, not just for me.

    And as for my situation update: I’m currently in a battle for part payments after returning to work for a few hours. I have no medical assistance (haven’t had for years now) and I had no impairment score – $0 compensation (since our Government so kindly removed the pain assessment methods from our guidelines).

    Keep up the great work WorkCover Victim, we so need you! Love your work too. xxxxx

    • @Soula, wow, thanks for sharing this with us. I know about Rosemary’s wonderful work (she is also listed on our site under the support section ( and we’ve written an article about her as well), and always encourage our SA readers (who email us) to contact her (WIRC). I think the “Kitchen” idea is fabulous, and is something that ought to be set up in every state. It’s a very practical and useful thing to do, helping countless injured workers in their struggles to make ends meet (food on the table) but also an exemplary concept of how injured workers can help each other in a practical way, learn to be empowered and see past their limitations and disabilities. I really take my hat off to Julie,especially because she would go out of her way to employ injured workers.

      And I take my hat off to you Soula, for offering all your help and support.

      It is my hope too that one day I may be in a position to to do something more “practical” for injured workers, rather than just whingeing … although I believe our site has vastly evolved since its inception and has become a more education-focused site, helping thousands of injured workers simply learning about their rights and navigating the murky waters of the workcover system.

      Let us know if there is anything we can do to support you, Rosemary or Kris.

      And yeah I agree we should all try and forego a coffee or a favourite sweet and give a gold coin or two towards Kris’ film, which will undoubtedly be extraordinary.

      workcovervictim August 31, 2013 at 10:10 am
  3. Good on you Soula, you give hope to lots of others

  4. Oh you beautiful supportive people. You give me more strength and a louder voice! Thank you so much for this gorgeous post.

    Social media is giving us all a voice, WorkSafe can no longer sweep us under the carpet. There are calls beginning around our Nation for a better address for pain. Here’s hoping for a change soon.

    Shucks guys, thanks again. xxxxxxx

  5. If there was a glimmer of hope in this lawless””adversarial system”” which is in such a mess, then this is it. Yes Soula the online media is awesome 24/7. It is there first time there are getting a bit of there own wisdom. And this is just the beginning.

  6. good on her.
    workcover will always deny pain and its impact as they know the worker cant prove it.

  7. Soula you go girlie congrats yeh haa

  8. Look at Soula! Screwed over by the workcover system of Victoria, plundered of her dignity by several ignorant IMEs, even sent to an IME shrink (one of the worst we know of), relentlessly followed by PIs in an attempt to show she is “malingering”, “exaggerating” or “milking” our pathetic “system”, being sent blah blah letters by the Minister and all… and here SHE IS – one of the biggest advocates for the PN condition (and chronic pain), empowering and educating, empathising and offering help to countless other women affected by this very painful condition, and raising much needed awareness about chronic pain, in particular PN. She has become a hero to many women, and we ADMIRE her courage, tenacity and, well, humble HEROISM. CONGRATULATIONS SOULA!

    As mentioned, WorkSafe (and Co – incl IMEs) should be deeply ashamed of themselves denying Soula legit benefits when she needed it the most, for making her feel like a criminal, a crazy person, for being so ignorant about her very real PN condition and its crippling effects on her… and for daring to invade her (and her family) privacy by putting her under surveillance as well.

    workcovervictim3 August 27, 2013 at 12:23 pm
  9. Congratulaton Soula, you go woman. What a great outcome, and big step into your new life.