A2A’s Advocacy Resource Centers (ARCs) aim to serve as adversity specific hubs for adversity survivors looking to step into advocacy. While our ARC program is still under development, ultimately each of our ARCS will offer users a variety of resources ranging from inspiring stories, to educational information, to specific advocacy opportunities available through our A2A ally organizations.



Meet all of our A2A Advocates

 

Chrissie Hodges

Chrissie Hodges

Chrissie Hodges Adversity: Undiagnosed OCD Advocacy: Pure OCD Advocate "I started my advocacy to help others know they are not alone and recovery is possible for Pure OCD. Little did I know by hearing other's stories, struggles, and seeing their resiliency...

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Shira Strongin

Shira Strongin

Shira Strongin Adversity: Undiagnosed rare disease Advocacy: Health policy advocate and founder of an international community for young women with varying illnesses and disabilities "I learned early on if I wanted to be heard, I'd have to raise hell and no...

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Christina Roth

Christina Roth

Christina Roth Adversity: Type 1 diabetes Advocacy: Founded the College Diabetes Network "I’m honored to be an advocate, along with so many inspiring individuals, and I’m passionate about empowering students and professionals living with Type 1...

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Patrick Filosa

Patrick Filosa

Patrick Filosa Adversity: Amputation Advocacy: Raises money for nonprofits that serve young amputees ...

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Claire Wineland

Claire Wineland

Claire Wineland Adversity: Cystic Fibrosis Advocacy: Provides support through speaking, writing, social media and her nonprofit to help those affected by Cystic Fibrosis "For me, patient advocacy is the difference between feeling like a victim in your own...

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Dr. Lamar Hardwick

Dr. Lamar Hardwick

Dr. Lamar Hardwick Adversity: Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (Asperger’s Syndrome) Advocacy: Mentor to those on the autism spectrum; autism educator for churches, schools and nonprofits "As a pastor, I often share that a great way to make a...

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Daelyn James

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...

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Leeza Gibbons

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...

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Chrisfino Kenyatta Leal

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...

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Ann Graham

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...

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Ethan Smith

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,...

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Chris Downey

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...

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Stephanie Snow Gebel

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,...

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Barbara Claypole White

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...

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Brad Bulla

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....

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Adrianne Haslet-Davis

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...

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Lindsay Avner

Lindsay Avner

Lindsay Avner Adversity: High risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer Advocacy: Started a nonprofit to save lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering young women to live proactively "I love nothing more than a woman empowered to be proactive...

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Kelly Brush

Kelly Brush

Kelly Brush Adversity: Paralysis Advocacy: Started a foundation to provide adaptive sports equipment and increase safety in ski racing, the sport in which she was injured "Through participating in adaptive sports after my injury, I proved to myself that...

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Dr. Jennifer Jo Brout

Dr. Jennifer Jo Brout

Dr. Jennifer Jo Kanter-Brout Adversity: Misophonia/Sensory Processing Disorder Advocacy: Advocates for research and improved diagnosis for those with Sensory Over-Responsivity (a subtype of sensory processing disorder) and Misophonia. "Affecting change...

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Meryl Comer

Meryl Comer

Meryl Comer Adversity: Husband and mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Advocacy: Authored a book to advocate for caregivers, families and research "Being an advocate is my way of "flipping the pain" as a 20-year caregiver for my husband and mother with...

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Lennon Flowers

Lennon Flowers

Lennon Flowers Adversity: Grief and Loss Advocacy: Support Groups/ Non Profit for young adults experiencing significant loss "To me, it's not a matter of helping, so much as it is creating the conditions in which people can thrive. I helped to create the...

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Dr BJ Miller

Dr BJ Miller

BJ Miller Adversity: Triple amputee, near-death experience Advocacy: Provides palliative care to patients living and suffering with serious illness "With my dramatic adversity comes the possibility for dramatic joy. Sharing this with others makes sweet of...

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Becky Fein

Becky Fein

Becky Fein Adversity: Sexual assault victim Advocacy: Co-founder and director of The Powerful Voices Project "Talking about my sexual assault with others, and hearing about theirs, has allowed us to create strength out of an experience that had been deeply...

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Vic Ojakian

Vic Ojakian

Vic Ojakian Adversity: Loss of son to suicide Advocacy: Suicide prevention and mental health awareness activist "I love and miss my son, Adam. I channel those emotions and feelings into a determination to help others seek solutions other than killing...

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Woody Weingarten

Woody Weingarten

Woody Weingarten Adversity: Wife diagnosed with breast cancer 20 years ago Advocacy: Book author, blogger and leader of breast cancer caregiver support group "Writing the book gave me the chance to show others going through the same up-and-downs that there...

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Clint Malarchuk

Clint Malarchuk

Clint Malarchuk Adversity: Diagnoses of depression and PTSD Advocacy: Working to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. "Speaking honestly about my battles is almost like a nationwide support group for me. It gives me fuel to keep moving forward and to...

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Rebecca Alexander

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....

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Kerry Magro

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...

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Holly Wright

Holly Wright

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...

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April Rovero

April Rovero

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...

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David Flink

David Flink

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...

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Ro Vitale

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....

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Susan Burton

Susan Burton

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...

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Steve Wampler

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...

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Joshua Toch

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...

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Melody Moezzi

Melody Moezzi

Melody Moezzi Adversity: Diagnosed with bipolar disorder Advocacy: Works to reduce the stigma of mental illness as an author, blogger, speaker “The more I speak out and the more extraordinary people I meet who are living with mental illness, the more I...

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Melissa Dohme

Melissa Dohme

Melissa Dohme Adversity: Brutally attacked by an ex-boyfriend Advocacy: Raises awareness about teen dating and domestic violence “I share my story so that other women won't have to experience the violence I did. Speaking out has helped my own healing and...

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Katherine Switz

Katherine Switz

Katherine Switz Adversity: Diagnosed with Bipolar II Advocacy: Started a nonprofit that recruits community leaders to talk about their mental illness “It’s empowering to come out of the shadows. It’s great to see our impact on leaders and their impact on...

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Jonny Imerman

Jonny Imerman

Jonny Imerman Adversity: Diagnosed with testicular cancer at age 26. Advocacy: Founded Imerman Angels to support people affected by cancer. “You start out in the beginning to help other people because it’s important with the short life we live. But...

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Rabbi Elimelech Goldberg

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,...

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Stacy Bare

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...

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Frances Baumgarten

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...

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Scott Fedor

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...

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Susan Dailey

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...

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Chris Trondsen

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...

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Sarah Allen Benton

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...

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Liz McIngvale

Liz McIngvale

Liz McIngvale Adversity: Diagnosed with severe OCD in her teens Advocacy: Created Peace of Mind Foundation to support others with OCD ...

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Kevin Putman

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...

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Gayathri Ramprasad

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...

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Laura Collins

Laura Collins

Laura Collins Adversity: 14-year-old daughter diagnosed with anorexia nervosa Advocacy: Founded a nonprofit for others with loved ones with eating disorders "We can learn from one another, and we can stand together internationally and make a difference in...

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Julie A. Fast

Julie A. Fast

Julie A. Fast Adversity: Diagnosed with ultra rapid cycling bipolar disorder II in 1995 Advocacy: Became a bestselling author and mental health advocate “A2A stresses that those with an illness can be strong advocates even while dealing with adversity. We...

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Jeff Bell

Jeff Bell

Jeff Bell Adversity: Battled severe and debilitating OCD Advocacy: Became a national spokesman for OCD and cofounded A2A "For me, adversity-driven advocacy offers the ultimate Greater Good motivation: through service to others, I get a sense of purpose...

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Linea and Cinda Johnson

Linea and Cinda Johnson

Linea and Cinda Johnson Adversity: Linea (left) diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 19; Cinda (right) faced challenge of parenting a teenager with the disorder Advocacy: The mother-daughter team co-authored “Perfect Chaos: A Daughter’s Journey to Survive Bipolar, A...

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Patti Lowery

Patti Lowery

Patti Lowery Adversity: Son and daughter both have OCD Advocacy: Co-founded Adversity 2 Advocacy and provides support for parents of children with OCD “When I see that I’ve helped someone it just lifts my spirits. I feel like I now have a focus in life, a...

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Leslie Zeitler

Leslie Zeitler

Leslie Zeitler Adversity: Mother died by suicide when Leslie was 15 Advocacy: Writes and speaks about the challenges faced by survivors of loved ones’ suicides “I may not change a whole culture, but I am working on changing my part of the world. And if...

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Brian Copeland

Brian Copeland

Brian Copeland Adversity: Suffered bouts of severe depression Advocacy: Developed a powerful one-man show about his battles "The only way that we can collectively deal with this disease as a society is by removing the stigma surrounding it. That means...

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Gretchan Pyne

Gretchan Pyne

Gretchan Pyne Adversity: Lost daughter, Lulu, in a tragic accident Advocacy: Created Lulu’s House of Hope to provide bereavement support to other parents "When you reach out and give, the feeling and the love and the joy that you get deep down in your soul...

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Rob Densen

Rob Densen

Rob Densen Adversity: Wife diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010 Advocacy: Co-founded "Leaders of the Lung Cancer Free World" campaign Rob...

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Lori Hope

Lori Hope

Lori Hope Adversity: Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2002 Advocacy: Published her inspiring story and its powerful lessons in "Help Me Live "It’s almost hard to put into words the feeling of satisfaction and peace and meaning that it gives me to know that...

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Mary Nicholson

Mary Nicholson

Mary Nicholson Adversity: Suffered stroke & brain aneurysm in 2003 Advocacy: Founded Healings in Motion to support Northern California stroke victims "For me to be able to help other people... it has given me joy again. It has given me a sense of...

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Shala Nicely

Shala Nicely

Shala Nicely Adversity: Suffered from severe OCD Advocacy: Became a counselor specializing in OCD and related disorders Shala Nicely almost died after being hit by...

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Jennifer Windrum

Jennifer Windrum

Jennifer Windrum Adversity: Mother was diagnosed with lung cancer Advocacy: Created social media campaign to raise lung cancer awareness "[Advocacy] is very cathartic, very fulfilling, because you connect with others going through the same thing. To have a...

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Denis Asselin

Denis Asselin

Denis Asselin Adversity: Lost Son, Nathaniel, who battled severe Body Dysmorphic Disorder Advocacy: Walked more than 500 miles, raising awareness about BDD "I felt as if walking was a way of pushing out the energy in a positive way – using the power of...

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Shannon Shy

Shannon Shy

Shannon Shy Adversity: Battled OCD while on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps Advocacy: Published his OCD recovery story in “It’ll be Okay” “It has been extremely rewarding and very therapeutic trying to help other people. Maybe that’s the reason my...

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Jessica Melore

Jessica Melore

Jessica Melore Adversity: Suffered a heart attack, organ failure, amputation, and cancer Advocacy: Became a public health advocate & international motivational speaker on overcoming adversity "I try to live my life to the fullest, to be an example that...

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Jared Kant

Jared Kant

Jared Kant Adversity: Hospitalized for severe OCD as a child Advocacy: Published his OCD recovery story in "The Thought That Counts" "I started to realize, as I’m talking to others about pushing themselves harder I had to do what I was saying, I had to...

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Reverend Bill Hassel

Reverend Bill Hassel

Pastor Bill Hassel Adversity: Diagnosed with ALS in 2008 Advocacy: Founded the 5K Stroll, Roll ’n’ Run for ALS Research “No one knows or controls what life throws at you; with God's help, you can handle it and do something positive in spite of it.”...

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Michael Winston

Michael Winston

Michael Winston Adversity: Diagnosed with ALS in 2008 Advocacy: Raises funds for ALS Research through "Winning for Winston" “By being an advocate for ALS research, I feel that I am making a difference for the future of anyone who gets the disease. It makes...

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Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili Adversity: Mother, Beverly, died of lung cancer Advocacy: Co-founded The Beverly Fund to raise awareness of lung cancer "It's uplifting to help others see potential in their situation and it's inspiring to see collaboration tackle the biggest...

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Thomas Ohlson

Thomas Ohlson

Thomas Ohlson Adversity: Diagnosed with ALS in 2005 Advocacy: Became a leading ALS activist "I can either allow this disease to make me its victim, or I can fight back by helping others to cope with their illness and by raising awareness. I choose to...

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Bonnie Addario

Bonnie Addario

Bonnie Addario Adversity: Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003 Advocacy: Founded the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation Bonnie Addario has always been a champion. ...

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Corey Reich

Corey Reich

Corey Reich Adversity: Diagnosed with ALS in 2007 Advocacy: Founded "Corey's Crusade" to give voice to ALS sufferers "I never really thought about NOT sharing my story. It never even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t go out and try to do everything that I...

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Robert Villanueva

Robert Villanueva

Robert Villanueva Adversity: Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2001 Advocacy: Became national speaker & trainer for The National Alliance on Mental Illness "I see change. People grow. It helps me flourish. It helps me see a whole new world. It puts a...

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Lisa Ford Berry

Lisa Ford Berry

Lisa Ford Berry Adversity: Lost son, Michael, to peer abuse-driven suicide Advocacy: Created nonprofit organization to combat peer abuse None of us expect to outlive...

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