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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

Rebecca Alexander

Rebecca Alexander

Adversity: Usher Syndrome (visual and hearing impairment)

Advocacy: Has become the “poster child” for Usher Syndrome.

“I realized I was willing to be the poster child for this disease because I wanted to raise awareness about this. Without the awareness there will never be treatment developed for a […]

Kerry Magro

Kerry Magro

Adversity: Diagnosed with autism at age 4

Advocacy: Founded a nonprofit that advocates for those with disabilities and is an author and motivational speaker.

“I became an advocate as a freshman in college because I wanted to spread awareness of autism. I wanted to share my story with […]

Holly Wright

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Holly Wright

Adversity: Lost her daughter to pediatric brain cancer

Advocacy: Established a foundation to financially support families nationwide who are caring for children with brain cancer

“Since my daughter’s passing, I have found healing in helping others and I strive daily to shine a little light on those in […]

Maggie McKelvey

Maggie McKelvey

Adversity: Mother of a child with Down syndrome

Advocacy: Works to raise awareness and funding for Down syndrome research.

“If you don’t advocate for your children who will? You are their No. 1 supporter from the moment they are born. If you want something to happen, make it […]

April Rovero

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April Rovero

Adversity: Lost a child to prescription drug use

Advocacy: Founded a nonprofit to raise awareness of recreational prescription drug use

“Every parent who has lost a child worries that, as time goes on, they will be forgotten and they want their lives to have had meaning and a […]

David Flink

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David Flink

Adversity: Learning disabilities – ADHD and dyslexia

Advocacy: Started a national mentoring program for youth with learning disabilities

“Mentoring has become a platform that allows people with learning differences to have our stories be seen and heard and valued.”

When David Flink was accepted into Brown University, he assumed […]

Ro Vitale

Ro Vitale

Adversity: Diagnosed with severe OCD

Advocacy: Speaks, writes and sings in English and Spanish to support others with OCD

Photo by: Santiago Giovanetti

“There’s much beauty in being of service to someone that’s battling the same adversity. Helping others is turning adversity into advocacy, turning isolation into motivation, […]

Susan Burton

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Susan Burton

Adversity: Grief over loss of her son led to drug use, criminal activity

Advocacy: Started a nonprofit to provide housing and support services to recently incarcerated women

“What I’ve been through and what I do is a powerful tool to show people that things need to be changed…. […]

Steve Wampler

Steve Wampler

Adversity: Cerebral Palsy

Advocacy: Established various advocacy pathways to show children with disabilities that their dreams are possible.

“My advocacy allows kids to see their full potential. What I mean is that they can get their way with anything they do in life. Camp Nedejdly turned my life […]

Joshua Toch

Joshua Toch

Adversity: Was bullied by fellow students due to the effects of cerebral palsy

Advocacy: Started a nonprofit speakers bureau to educate the public about bullying and overcoming adversity

“By speaking out, I see this transformation. I see people with disabilities become more confident, I see audiences become empowered to believe […]