Slide background

Meet our Advocates.

Their stories of turning adversity
into advocacy will inspire you!

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

Slide background

Robert Villanueva

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001

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

Read His Story

Slide background

Lisa Ford Berry

Lost son, Michael, to peer abuse-driven suicide

Created nonprofit organization to combat peer abuse

Read Her Story

Slide background

Corey Reich

Diagnosed with ALS in 2007

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

Read His Story

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg

,

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg

Adversity: Lost his young daughter to Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

Advocacy: Founded Kids Kicking Cancer to teach cancer-stricken children the healing themes of martial arts

“When people have a sense of purpose, they have control, which can lessen anxiety and offer empowerment.”

Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg, fondly known as “Rabbi […]

Stacy Bare

, ,

Stacy Bare

Adversity: Struggled with substance abuse and suicidal thoughts after serving in the U.S. Army

Advocacy: Directs Sierra Club Outdoors’ program and works to destigmatize mental illness

“Reaching out and helping others really has been the best way I’ve been able to help myself. It shares the burden of the […]

Frances Baumgarten

Frances Baumgarten

Adversity: Battled breast cancer twice

Advocacy: Co-founded the nonprofit Center for Cancer Counseling in Southern California

“I felt that if I could help another patient or their family navigate through this journey, how could I not help? I tell everyone that asks me how I can do this work […]

Scott Fedor

Scott Fedor

Adversity: Paralyzed from the neck down after a diving accident

Advocacy: Founded Getting Back Up for others with spinal cord injuries

“I draw so much strength from seeing how helping someone improves their life. … In a weird way, had this not happened to me, I don’t […]

Susan Dailey

Susan Dailey

Adversity: Daughter diagnosed with PANDAS

Advocacy: Joined other parents in advocating for PANDAS research & education

“I just don’t think it’s possible to walk away [from PANDAS advocacy] when I know another family will wake up to this reality tomorrow.”

When Susan Dailey’s daughter was 3, she was […]

Chris Trondsen

,

Chris Trondsen

Adversity: Has battled Body Dysmorphic Disorder and OCD

Advocacy: Shares his OCD story and helps run OCD support groups

“Helping others keeps me on my toes. I can’t talk about, ‘Hey, you should not give into your obsessions’ and then turn around and give into them myself.”

Body […]

Sarah Allen Benton

,

Sarah Allen Benton

Adversity: Sober from alcohol since 2004

Advocacy: Works with others struggling with addiction

“Advocacy reinforces that I need to continue to work on bettering myself and committing to my own recovery. If I’m not sober, I can’t be of service to other people.”

As a young adult, […]

Liz McIngvale

Liz McIngvale

Adversity: Diagnosed with severe OCD in her teens

Advocacy: Created Peace of Mind Foundation to support others with OCD

“When you hear one person say you’ve changed their life, it makes you forget all the hard times involved.”

Liz McIngvale never wanted her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder to define […]

Kevin Putman

Kevin Putman

Adversity: Became debilitated by OCD in 2010

Advocacy: Started a grassroots movement to raise OCD awareness

“It really makes me tick inside to know that what Im doing is helping other people. And it also keeps me close to OCD. It keeps me wanting to read about […]

Gayathri Ramprasad

,

Gayathri Ramprasad

Adversity: Was debilitated by anxiety, panic and depression

Advocacy: Started a non-profit to give hope to others with mental illness

“What I used to see as a curse I now see as a blessing, because each time I journey through the darkness I gain greater insight into […]