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Meet our Advocates.

Their stories of turning adversity
into advocacy will inspire you!

Browse through our collection of inspiring stories from our incredible advocates.

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Robert Villanueva

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001

Became national speaker & trainer for The National Alliance on Mental Illness

Read His Story

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Lisa Ford Berry

Lost son, Michael, to peer abuse-driven suicide

Created nonprofit organization to combat peer abuse

Read Her Story

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Corey Reich

Diagnosed with ALS in 2007

Founded "Corey's Crusade" to give voice to ALS sufferers

Read His Story

Daelyn James

Daelyn James

Adversity: Cystic fibrosis

Advocacy: Inventor, supporter and speaker for chronically ill children

“I feel like the most rewarding thing I can do is to help young kids battling CF realize that, in spite of CF, you can tell yourself, ‘I can do something, I can be someone, I can go […]

Leeza Gibbons

Leeza Gibbons

Adversity: Lost her mother and grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease

Advocacy: Has become a leading voice in the movement to create a world without Alzheimer’s

“I got drafted into serving on the front lines of Alzheimer’s advocacy, but now I see it as being the most fulfilling part of my destiny […]

Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal

Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal

Adversity: Incarcerated with a life sentence

Advocacy: Leads and is active in a host of self-help programs for prisoners

“As a formerly incarcerated individual and graduate of The Last Mile, I can tell you I didn’t get to where I am today by my efforts alone. The Last […]

Ann Graham

Ann Graham

Adversity: Cancer diagnosis

Advocacy: Founded a nonprofit to serve pediatric cancer patients

“I used to think that everything happens for a reason, until I saw children dying of cancer. Cancer was my best teacher and ultimately, a saving grace. I love my age, my birthdays, my wrinkles, my life.”

It all […]

Ethan Smith

Ethan Smith

Adversity: OCD

Advocacy: Shares his story as a keynote speaker.

“I was told early in my treatment, ‘The best thing you can do for your OCD is to help others.’ Not only have I found that statement true but necessary. Every person I speak with, helps me in some way to […]

Chris Downey

Chris Downey

Adversity: Lost his sight due to a brain tumor

Advocacy: Became an accessibility design expert and advocate for the blind

“As an architect without sight, I endeavor to build bridges across the visual divide while removing ill-conceived walls between people with disabilities and others who haven’t found theirs yet.”

Chris […]

Stephanie Snow Gebel

Stephanie Snow Gebel

Adversity: Daughter diagnosed with Wolfram syndrome

Advocacy: Founded The Snow Foundation to fund trials, provide support and resources

“My greatest priority is to be a strong voice for rare disease and to provide hope for my daughter, as well as all of the other children in the world, […]

Barbara Claypole White

Barbara Claypole White

Adversity: Son diagnosed with OCD at age 8

Advocacy: Uses fiction writing and blogging to provide hope to those with OCD

“Readers often say, ‘I’ve never told anyone this before…’ And the book clubs I visit turn into therapy. People need to share their experiences. The more we talk, […]

Brad Bulla

Brad Bulla

Adversity: Son died in a drunk driving accident where he was the passenger

Educates others about drunk driving and advocates for violent crime victims

“By sharing my story, perhaps I can make a statistic come to life and touch someone’s heart. If I can do that, then perhaps I […]

Adrianne Haslet-Davis

Adrianne Haslet-Davis

Adversity: Lost left leg from knee down in Boston Marathon bombing

Advocacy: Worldwide advocate on behalf of amputees

“As an advocate for amputees around the globe I am in constant awareness of how my actions can help. In this world of technology and isolation, it is more important than […]