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.”



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

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 the only way […]



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.”



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.”



Mariel Matranga

Endometriosis

“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

Endometriosis

“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 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 […]



Samantha Bowick

Endometriosis

“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 […]