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Anna Ball (She/Her/Hers)

State: Delaware

Chronic Conditions: Lupus, Sjörgens Syndrome

In the middle of the pandemic two years ago, I suddenly became very sick and began my chronic illness journey. A number of lab tests revealed antibodies for Lupus and Sjörgens Syndrome, two systemic autoimmune diseases that my doctors and I are still trying to figure out. I haven't had an easy time coping with a diagnosis and symptoms as a college student, especially dealing with the healthcare system and balancing my illness with my other obligations, but I have only gained strength in my advocacy during these experiences. The advocacy and policy work I'm doing has ignited my passion for my Master's in Public Health program, something I feared I would never be able to pursue or keep up with.

I advocate because as a patient who is part of several underrepresented populations in the healthcare system, we deserve the same quality of care as our peers as well as having the space to share our stories and be heard. Additionally, I advocate because I believe that sharing my experiences, how I manage my diseases, and empowering others with similar experiences on how to take care of oneself and put your health and body first is a powerful way to inspire and empower others.