Marching on…and on…

March is both Autoimmune Disease Awareness and Women’s History month. To honor both, I’m highlighting female advocates who have inspired me, motivated me, and befriended me. In this third issues, I’ve decided to feature three women that make me want to be a better advocate.

First up is Kerry Wong from Float like a Butterfly. I met Kerry years ago when she volunteered for Aiarthritis’s World Autoimmune Arthritis Disease Day. It was a virtual event and Kerry was one of the monitors during several chat sessions. We ended up meeting in person at several events over the years and have become friends. We’ve bonded over our love of Pair Eyewear and vent to each other often over the horrendous journey our diseases take us on. She is someone I know I can always count on to lend an ear. Kerry is the epitome of what an advocate should be. She volunteers with several organizations and has organized charity runs/walks, and is the kind of person who knows how to connect with others to make a difference. I often wish I could be more like her in terms of organization and drive. She is creative and dedicated and genuinely wants to make a difference in the lives of others going through experiences similar to hers. In addition to her blog, Kerry also started Sarcoidosis News after her diagnosis in 2015.

My next inspiration is Deb Constien. Deb is a major force in the arthritis advocacy world. Not only has she been a volunteer with the Arthritis foundation and Aiarthrits, she has been instrumental in getting laws passed at both national and state levels. Over the years, Deb has inspired me and many others to focus on education, awareness, and patient centered research. Deb is a leader who represents the patient voice with grace and quite a bit of humor. I often refer to her as one of my rheum sisters. She is someone I reach out to often when I struggle. I appreciate her friendship greatly.

Last, but certainly not least is the amazing Judith Flanagan. Judy runs United Advocacy Australia-United We Stand Hand to Hand and volunteers/works for almost a dozen patient-run/patient-focused organizations and non-profits. Judy approaches advocacy with a level of enthusiasm that is awe inspiring. Although I’ve never met Judy in person (as she lives in Australia) we have worked together on projects over the years. I will never forget the day she took of selfie while holding my book. She made me an international author!! Judy is a team player who is always willing to give her time for a worthy cause and supports other advocates without hesitation. She inspires me daily with her kindness and dedication to advocacy. I’m honored to know her.


4 thoughts on “Marching on…and on…

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  1. This is such an inspiring post about female advocates in the autoimmune disease community. It’s wonderful to see these amazing women highlighted and celebrated during both Women’s History Month and Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month.

    ~ Vika

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a lovely shout-out – cheers all round to these three ladies! This sort of advocacy, sharing ideas and experiences make such a difference. It’s why I love the Internet, despite the potential downsides. Amazing people doing amazing things in their own way, inspiring and connecting with others who may have been feeling alone in their experiences.xx

    Liked by 1 person

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