Meet Our Self Care Ambassadors!
Patients, their caregivers and family members are our everyday heroes at Self Care Catalysts. Their unique experiences managing their illness empower others and more of them have come to support others through the Self Care Ambassador Program.
Meet some of our Self Care Ambassadors who believe that by sharing their stories and creating easy to follow Self Care Challenges, they’re able to help themselves and others.
Together with our committed Self Care Ambassadors, we hope to advance care, research and health outcomes.
August Pfizenmayer - Mental Health
I started this blog as a part of my journey to recovery after I was diagnosed with a mental illness in the spring of 2015. After a year of shame and bitter feelings, I decided to embrace who I am.
Despite stigma and the advice to keep my diagnosis to myself, I started a blog to share my story. I wrote about some of my deepest secrets and darkest symptoms in hopes that others might understand. The more I wrote, the less alone I realized I was. I thought I was alone for years, but I never was and neither are you.
Jeffrey Poehlmann - Lung Cancer
Diagnosed with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer in 2014 at just 46 years old, I decided to share my stories about living with this incurable disease. Over this time, I have seen amazing advances in treatment options and I have found encouragement both through these improved treatments and through sharing experiences with other patients. More and more stage IV cancer patients are thriving post-diagnosis, and I aim to be an example for those who are newly diagnosed as well as anyone looking to learn more about what it means to be a cancer patient today.
Beth Leonard - Carcinoid NETs
After 5 years of tremendous pain, I was diagnosed with two abdominal Neuroendorine Tumors. Despite that, I am a fighter and plan to be a survivor. I’ll be helping to facilitate the creation of a community where I will encourage and empower each of you to take control of your own health.
Dan & Jennifer Digmann - Multiple Sclerosis
Dan and Jennifer, happily married, have dedicated their lives to Multiple Sclerosis activism and helping others to live their best life. They are District Activist Leaders and have connected with audiences nationwide through their inspirational stories of life, love and overcoming adversity.
Caroline Craven - Multiple Sclerosis
Diagnosed over 14 years ago, I have learned a lot about how to live better with Multiple Sclerosis and chronic illness. I am not defined by MS and am doing more than just surviving with it. I’m thriving. We are going to focus on making some small changes together in our lives that can lead to significant differences.
KatIe Faison - Ankylosing Spondylitis
I am on a mission to live the healthiest life possible both inside and out while managing my autoimmune diseases called Ankylosing Spondylitis and Iritis through diet and exercise. I’m also hoping to inspire and help others struggling with the same thing.
Samantha Smith - Chronic ILLNESS / Gastroparesis, Lupus
Hustle and Heart was born out of struggle. It was an outlet for me during a rough patch, and it became something so much more. I realized my struggles, my story, my life with chronic illness could become more than just about me, but helping others through their struggles. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and open. My blog, my writing allowed me to reach others in a way I never had before. Each post I shared not only helped me, but gave me the opportunity to help someone else. Hustle and Heart is my proof that our struggles can bring us to something great.
Elizabeth Bulfer - Chronic IlLNESS / Dysautonomia, Fibromyalgia
I started Finding Life's Silver Sun (findinglifessilversun.com) as a way to connect with other young adults dealing with chronic illnesses. The focus of the blog is showing how I can "live my best life possible with multiple chronic illnesses." My blog, husband, two kitties, and fixer-upper townhouse has helped me keep a positive attitude during my journey.
kali smith - Chronic Illness/ Meniere's Disease, Gastroparesis
Being chronically ill with my kind of conditions is tricky because they are all rare. So because I had a lot of difficulty finding any information about my illnesses, I decided to start a blog. I don’t want other people like me to struggle finding information they need and most importantly I don’t want them to feel alone.
LAURIE CYPRET - Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s
My name is Laurie and I decided to start my blog after suffering with ulcerative colitis for two years. I remember being in the middle of my first flare up and not knowing what was wrong with me. I felt so horrible and so alone. So I turned to social media and found a whole family of IBD warriors. My intent was and always will be to share UC friendly recipes, positivity, and tips on how to live with ulcerative colitis. There are so many struggles that come with UC. What to eat, how to travel with your disease, supplements, medications, just to name a few. I like to be positive about everything and try to choose joy daily. I don’t plan on letting this disease rule me or my attitude toward life!
Leslie Krongold, Ed.D. - Myotonic Dystrophy
Diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular disease 20 years ago, I wasted no time joining a support group affiliated with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Shortly after I began attending, the facilitator left and I was asked to take over. Thus began my journey of patient advocacy. I’ve learned a lot about living with a chronic health condition. There are no approved treatment modalities for my disease so I’ve focused on self-care and alternative healing modalities. I’ve learned much from others with chronic conditions and decided to start a podcast & blog to explore positive ways to cope with a chronic health condition.
Judy Wilkinson - Neuroendocrine Tumours (midgut)
Being diagnosed with an incurable – albeit slow growing – cancer is scary, especially given current treatment is invasive surgery followed by surveillance. I hope my journey facing small intestinal NETs will provide support, and inspire others on a similar path to stick to a health plan, stay active and treasure every moment.
Audrey Allan - Breast Cancer
Getting breast cancer at 34 was most definitely not part of my life plan, especially as I was married with two young kids. I started an Instagram page because I was desperate to find people like me and get all my thoughts and fears out of my head. It was also bid to try to keep myself positive while wading through the crap of cancer and it worked! I found a community of amazing people who had my back right through and beyond my cancer treatment.
Lauren Alex Wiatrek (Meyers) - Breast Cancer
I am a native Austinite, I have a heart for wellness, family, writing, food, and travel. In 2011, I married my husband, Evan and we have two beautiful daughters: Halen and Henley. After being diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer last May at 32 years old, I chose to focus on writing, wellness and online teaching. I am a lover of Whole30, Camp Gladiator, all things outdoors, hosting gatherings, and all things on the natural side, which birthed my oily obsession with Young Living. I try to travel every chance I get and my happy place is in Northern Michigan. Follow my journey at Be Still and Smile and follow me at @be_still_and_smile
kara la france - acromegaly
Acromegaly has changed the projection of my life but I'm is still an Artist, Designer and Patient Advocate. Acro-what? Ack-ro-meg-ly — a growth hormone secreting tumor. In essence, it would be gigantism, if the tumor was active before my growth plates had closed. Make no mistake, my body kept trying to grow. Thicker bones, organs, facial features, hands and feet. If diagnosed early these symptoms would not have developed. Vive LaFrance - Life as I Know It, is a place to provide rea life accounts of this disease. There is so much more than any source on the internet currently provides. I want to provide real life examples, experiences, solutions and hope. …And those “gigantic” features often soften but bones do not un-grow. And life goes on…how well will you live it?…I will never stop trying.
Cheryl Etheredge - Systemic Lupus Erythematous and Sjogren’s Syndrome
I use my YouTube channel Smiles-Behind -Lupus to educate others on the day-to-day living with a chronic invisible illness and also I am able to uplift those that are fighting the battle of chronic illness. I was diagnosed in 2014 after years of symptoms, Lupus affects my lungs, kidney, hair loss and skin. I started the “Lupus/Autoimmune Smile Box “ this year this box is given to one recipient each month that has an autoimmune disease that receives chemo, infusions, or dialysis, I decided to do this to put a smile on someone else’s face.