Meet our Ambassadors

Chronic Disease Coalition Ambassadors represent a wide range of chronic health conditions and are working hard to make a difference not only for themselves, but for others experiencing similar struggles. Learn more about advocates who are educating the public, raising awareness and advocating for policy change in your community.

You can get to know some of our CDC Ambassadors below.

“Advocacy is so important to me because I feel like if we don’t share our stories, our struggles and stand up for ourselves, no one else will. No one else is going to have the same story as you or feel the same way about things that you do. Until we stand up and start […]

Amy Sparks

Multiple sclerosis

“If I’m not willing to stand up for myself, how can I expect anyone else to? There are so many things that having MS can stop me from doing, but I can still speak up. I still have a voice that matters. I still matter.”

Caitlin McDonough

Complex pelvic and musculoskeletal pain disorders, infertility and adrenal insufficiency

I’ve been battling multiple chronic illnesses since I was a teenager. Others had difficulty understanding, because I look healthy, but they couldn’t see the pain I was suffering from, or the other symptoms that accompanied my illnesses. After leaving doctor’s appointments with conflicting information, I learned that I needed to be my own advocate. My […]

Christina Thielst

Guillain-Barré syndrome

“As a healthcare professional I advocated for my hospitals, staff and patients. Advocacy is a way to share relevant information and have one’s voice heard when awareness or change is needed.”

Claire Sachs

Chronic Kidney Disease, Type 1 diabetes

“Far too few of us with chronic conditions think we have the right to contribute or the right information to contribute to our own care, but each of us has valuable experience unique to our cases. I would like to help patients learn to be empowered and to feel empowered. Being our own advocates is […]

Curtis Warfield

End-stage renal disease

“Being an advocate gives me a chance to pay forward the gift that was given to me. I received a kidney from a living donor who gave me a kidney “just because” she wanted to help. I cannot repay my donor, but I can help others who are going through where I’ve been and help […]

Cynthia Covert

Psoriatic arthritis

“No matter what chronic disease you are fighting, there is NO one size fits all treatment plan. This is frustrating when your insurance provider wants to treat all patients the same.”

Emily Gammell

Interstitial cystitis, pudenda neuralgia

I advocate because of America’s disastrous health care system & because women are shamed, not listened to nor advocated for especially surrounding women’s pelvic health. I hope to curb the stigma surrounding these issues, educate on how insurance and big pharma control doctors and patients’ quality of life and advocate for cannabis in the face […]

James Meyers

End-stage renal disease

“I feel it is my responsibility to speak out for my fellow kidney patients and it is a responsibility that I gladly accept.”

Janice Starling

End-stage renal disease

“Insurance coverage is a huge issue for people who deal with chronic disease. We have to fight so hard to manage our condition and still have to battle insurers for access to health care that will keep us alive.”

As a registered nurse for 4 years and then an Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist for an additional 12 years I have worked with many people who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes. I believe that there is a good state of health even with chronic diseases. I have a deep passion to help those […]

Mariel Matranga


“It is important to educate yourself on what the doctors are saying. Although they often have well-meaning intentions, they do not always have all the facts about a chronic or life-threatening disease. They may have studied outdated research and theory, or simply never met a patient with symptoms like yours, which leads them to make […]

Mary Baliker

End-stage renal disease

“I have faced many hurdles with kidney disease since I was 9 years old. My motto is LIVE every moment LAUGH every day LOVE beyond words. Never give up!”

Michelle Johnson


“Advocacy is important to me because so many women have so many questions about their disease, but are afraid to ask. So many women live in excruciating pain, but wear plastered smiles while keeping quiet. So many women suffer in silence; believing that they are alone and that no one else understands. By being an […]

Mindy Bartleson

Type 1 diabetes

“Sometimes the hardest part isn’t the disease itself, but all of the logistics, work judgement and advocacy that needs to be done to take care of myself and others.”

Molly Tinnin

Indeterminate Colitis, Neurogenic Bladder, PTSD

I advocate so future patients won’t face the same challenges to accessing healthcare that I did and to educate and raise awareness of the resources available to those newly diagnosed so they can begin a new chapter in their life confident that there is life after diagnosis.

Molly Weiss

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

“I want people to know there are real resources and advocates out there that can really make a difference. I know what it’s like firsthand to be at the end of my rope with looking for answers, ready to quit, and just be in pain “for the rest of my life” because fighting for answers when you […]

Nina Torres

Interstitial Cystitis

My goal as an advocate is to educate and raise awareness. I want to shape future health policies, so the necessary changes can be made. It took over 10 years to be diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis and receive the help I needed. Chronic pain affects 50 million Americans. It is misunderstood and underfunded. I want […]

Samantha Bowick


“I have faced many hurdles in my life because of endometriosis, which I think many people who suffer with chronic illnesses can relate to. One major obstacle was that I chose to withdraw from pharmacy school twice because of my health. I suffered with daily pelvic pain while attending pharmacy school and I couldn’t handle […]

Sydney Reed

Lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome

I know one of the most important things that I can do as an advocate is to bring people together. I believe health is freedom and a chronic illness means facing the reality that you may never get that freedom back. While this can be an incredibly isolating experience, no one has to go through […]