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GBL All Stars

The All Star Level of our Global Brand Leaders Program is InvisiYouth's second level of our GBL Program, and will only consist of returning leadership that have been selected by InvisiYouth's team as individuals that align with the nonprofit's evolving goals for the year ahead. Having previously engaged with InvisiYouth, these All Stars will strengthen their mentorship skills, specifically taking the initiative on group projects, social media engagement, and always leading with kindness among the community. They will continue to grow their advocacy skills and fundraising abilities, while also strengthening their leadership skills in their daily lives with their personal studies and work endeavors. This is why each familiar face is called #GBLAllStars, because they are supporting our nonprofit's growth, while highlighting their uniqueness in their lives thriving with any chronic illness, disability and mental health. 

Get to know more about the twenty-one incredible ladies of the 2020-2021 Class of #GBLAll Stars . . . AKA: InvisiYouth's Medically Adult-ish Game-Changers:


 

Leah Rachel Caplan, 21

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United Kingdom, England

I am a wheelchair actor and model, have just graduated from university with my Bachelor's of Arts (Honors) in Philosophy, and am a musical theatre performer. I have hEDS (hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) and POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), and have been severely sight impaired since I was 17 years old. I'm a big advocate for disability in the arts, and want to change the industry one role at a time.

Connect with Leah:

Instagram

Twitter

Zebedee Management Profile

Spotlight CV


  

Susie Ray, 22

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Australia

My name is Susie Ray and I am a 22-year-old blogger and Psychology student from Australia who is trying to find hope through life with chronic illness. Becoming bed bound at 18 meant I had to radically change my outlook and goals in life to adapt to my diagnoses of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Endometriosis. So I decided to start my blog and instagram, Find Your Own Hope, to share my experiences whilst aiming to encourage others to find their hope, too! I am so excited to join InvisiYouth and become a GBL-All Star as, like InvisYouth, I strive to help encourage and support others suffering from invisible illnesses!

Connect with Susie:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Website 


 

Katy Baker, 23

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United Kingdom, England

Hi, I’m Katy and I am so excited to be a GBL-All Star for InvisiYouth. I have a rare heart condition called Scimitar Syndrome (affects 1 in 100,000 people) which is congenital heart defect but also means I only have 1 working lung. I undergo lung function tests, heart checks, physiotherapy and counselling but I try my very best to not let my medical condition stop me. I am about to start a Masters degree in psychology to go in to clinical psychology and my current job role is a Welfare Officer at a Students’ Union which means supporting and representing students on different welfare issues from mental health to student housing. Since starting my activism journey at the age of 19, I have spoken in front of medical professionals and researchers, been on the radio, in the newspaper, written blog posts for different charities, taken part in charity events for InvisiYouth and met the most amazing friends. My other hobbies are playing the piano, trampolining and being part of the Girlguiding UK community. InvisiYouth has given me the opportunity to feel supported but also support others. I have known of InvisiYouth since they started as a charity and have got involved in different aspects of their work from taking part in the Superhero Triathlon to their international event where the same event took place in 4 different countries and regular social media awareness. InvisiYouth is a platform to express our views about how young people with chronic illness need to be cared for and it gives us a voice. I am honoured to be asked to be a part of this and can’t wait to see how I can help contribute to their fantastic work this year.

Connect with Katy:

Instagram

One Quote At A Time Card-Giving Business (*which donates to InvisiYouth!)

Feature in Fixers UK Video called "A Gymnast with One Lung"

 


 

Taran Lancaster, 24

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United States, Wisconsin

My name is Taran & I am a 24 year old thriving with hEDS (Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), Pectus Excavatum, Slipping Rib Syndrome, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), Scoliosis, and Depression!  I am a community grief specialist, certified child life specialist, graduate student studying thanatology, online health and fitness coach, foster dog mama, pasta enthusiast, and bubble bath lover.  I am thrilled to be a GBL-All Star and grow more relationships within the chronic illness advocate community. 

Connect with Taran:

Instagram

 


 

 Alice Forrester Smith, 27

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United Kingdom, England

Growing up with Cerebral palsy and epilepsy that is now controlled, I was often told ‘you can't do that’ which automatically made me more determined to prove people wrong. My drive is to influence, inspire and support others with disabilities and illnesses to let them know anything is possible. While doing this I also wish to reach those who do not have a disability or illness to raise awareness and understanding and hopefully motivate these individuals too.  Over the years, I have developed a great passion for travel and I haven’t let my disability stop me from doing this. I have always thought if everyone else can do it why can't I! It was during my first solo trip I realized that people were interested in my story and the difficulties I faced. This is when I started to write about my personal experiences, which later gained me recognition in HemiHelp charity magazine. This story was about the achievements I have accomplished against the odds.  I have since continued to blog about these experiences.  When I’m not traveling, working or between numerous hospital appointments, I like a good session on the punchbag and enjoy working with other charities to support and spread awareness through the disabled community.  I thrive on inspiring and supporting others no matter what their circumstances or abilities. I can’t wait to see what this year brings and continue working with InvisiYouth.

Connect with Alice:
Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

 


 

 Chloe Tear, 22

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United Kingdom, England

Hi, I’m Chloe! As a freelance writer, avid tweeter and online community moderator, it’s fair to say I am powered by coffee and naps. I have mild cerebral palsy, chronic pain and I’m registered as partially sighted. I have been blogging and raising awareness about being a disabled young adult for the past seven years. I have particular interests in accessible education/employment, social attitudes and challenging stereotypes.  I’m excited to be a GBL-All Star for InvisiYouth because they are such a beacon of light for young people with chronic illnesses. This is the empowerment we need and the support we deserve.

Connect with Chloe:

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

Blog

 


 

Anikka Cassidy, 18

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Canada

Hi my name is Anikka and I’m from Alberta, Canada! I am a nationally recognized wheelchair track and field athlete, wheelchair basketball player and dancer. When I’m not training, I am usually doing some school work, training my service Newfoundland dog Tinkerbell, or napping. I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and comorbidities including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Functional Neurological Syndrome, Gastroparesis and others. I am more than excited to be working with InvisiYouth for another year and upgraded to an All-Star. Sending all of my love from the Great White North!

Connect with Anikka:

Instagram

Blog

TikTok

YouTube Channel

Ashley Rose Murphy, 22

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Canada

Born with HIV,  Ashley has been a passionate HIV/AIDS activist since the age of 10, traveling the world sharing her story. Now, 22 years old, she is like any regular university student, going into her final year as a theatre major at York University. When Ashley isn’t traveling, doing speeches or in school, she likes to sing, act, take care of her two young nieces and spend time with her friends. "I am SO thrilled to be a GBL-All Star yet again this year. I love nothing more than bringing together an uplifting community and creating a positive change in the lives of others. I have so many ideas for fundraisers, and I cannot wait for this year!"

Connect with Ashley:

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube TEDxTalk

InvisiYouth Chat Sessions Video Podcast: Episode 1


 

Kiki Sepp, 19

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 United States, New York

Hi, I'm Kiki! I'm an Elementary Education major at Marist College. I play ukulele, guitar, a little bit of piano, but I mostly sing. I love music, talking about politics, writing, being with friends and family, and helping others in any way that I can. I was diagnosed with Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS) in March of 2016 after struggling with full body pain for my whole life. AMPS has certainly effected my life, but I honestly wouldn't change it if I could go back in time. I've met so many incredible people in the chronic illness community and other communities due to having AMPS. It has made me a stronger person and made me realize that I'm stronger than I think. In terms of activism, I've volunteered with a number of local organizations as well as national organizations such as the Red Cross.

Connect with Kiki:

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube Music Channel


 

Ruby Jones, 24

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United Kingdom, England

I’m Ruby and I have hEDS (hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome) as well as POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). I am just about to graduate university with a degree in English and I am about to start a job in my student union as Welfare and Diversity officer. I am incredibly passionate in advocating for equality especially within the disabled community. I use a combination of humour and opinion to educate people on the fact that disability is not a monolith stereotype, and disabled people can “look” like anything. I love to sing and also started a small business with my sister called Chr0nically Cute Shop, which sells handmade bookmarks and bags, as well as spend hours playing Animal Crossing! Being a part of the InvisiYouth community has been such a positive experience for me and I am so grateful to have been asked to be a GBL-All Star this year. I can’t wait to plan some exciting fundraising events as well as get to know the other Global Brand Leaders!

Connect with Ruby:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Chr0nically Cute Shop

Jones Sisters Music

TikTok

 


  

Emily Rose, 24

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United Kingdom, England

Hey there, I'm Emily a twenty-something Londoner with a misbehaving bowel! I got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (a type of IBD) back in 2017 after a three year struggle with symptoms. As well as a corporate job I’m a part-time content creator over on Instagram where I talk about body positivity and try to help people accept themselves a little more each day. My chronic illness is a huge part of my own self love journey and I’m passionate about treating ourselves with kindness and respect. I’m also a mental health activist and spend a significant amount of time spreading awareness about anxiety, panic disorder and coping with self harm all of which have impacted my life. I loved working alongside the InvisiYouth time last year and I’m excited to continue making a difference. I don’t ever want people struggling to feel alone, becoming part of the online chronic illness community was invaluable for me after my diagnosis and I want to be there for others. I’m a self confessed chatterbox and getting to talk to people online and spread awareness is such a passion of mine. The InvisiYouth team are all so lovely to work with and I am hoping to get to meet even more of the community in person this year.

Connect with Emily:

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube Channel

Website

 


  

Caitlyn Fulton, 20

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United Kingdom, Scotland

I’m Caitlyn, 20 and have Cerebral Palsy. I don’t let my disability define me and I have a very positive outlook onlife. I have finished College and will be starting my third year of University in September studying Music - I’m a singer. Music is my passion as I can really be myself and let my creativity side flow; I have a stammer and when I sing it leaves me. It such a freeing feeling as I don’t have to worry about the words I’m singing!  I’m also very passionate about the rights for disabled people and inclusion for everyone as even though people are disabled in the world, it doesn’t mean they should be discriminated. We are just the same as everybody else and therefore should be allowed the same experiences as abled-bodied people. In my spare time, I play for a professional Boccia team in Glasgow, which is a sport that I really enjoy. I also model for Zebedee Management--an inclusive agency for people with disabilities. Furthermore, I'm an ambassador for the UK Children's Charity-Whizzkidz (Scotland region) and it's great as I love a voice for others as well as myself and raising awareness. I hope to inspire other young women and men like myself to have the same condition and prove to them that anything is possible--nothing should hold you back. I'm so pleased to be asked to continue being a GBL for the second year, lots of new and great experiences have been made since I joined last year and I look forward to many more!

Connect with Caitlyn:

Instagram

Zebedee Management portfolio

Spotlight CV 


  

Katie Chesworth, 23

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United Kingdom, England

Hello! I’m Katie May and I have ulcerative colitis, an ileostomy & fibromyalgia. I also have a massive passion for wellbeing and work with people living with chronic illnesses to help them find their version of wellness.  I started writing my blog, KTMY, to help myself cope with everything but I soon started to realise that I could actually help people and be part of the online chronic illness community. This past year, I’ve created the Chronically Living Collective alongside my blog which is a community of Spoonies wanting to learn to live well. We have a weekly newsletter as a growing list of resources to help you take control of your health.  I am SO SO SO excited to be back as an InvisiYouth GBL-All Star as this is a charity so close to my heart who does amazing work. I can’t wait to help be a part of this again for a second year.

Connect with Katie:

Instagram

Website

Newsletter

 


 

Rachel Hoy, 28

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Australia

My name is Rach and I am 28 from NSW, Australia. I am the face behind teespoonies - an ethical clothing brand raising awareness of chronic & invisible illnesses. I have been battling Lyme + co infections for almost six years now, as well as POTS, IC, MCAS & autoimmune diseases. I am a qualified counsellor by trade but right now I'm focusing on healing and raising awareness of Lyme & more through my business and other ventures. I love my groodle, being creative and enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. I'm so excited to join InvisiYouth as a GBL-All Star and continue supporting the amazing advocacy work of youth in the invisible illness community. It's humbling to be raising awareness for such an important cause.

Connect with Rachel:

Instagram

Facebook

Website

Shona Cobb, 22

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United Kingdom, England

I’m Shona, a 22 year old blogger, writer and activist from the UK. I live with Marfan Syndrome and I’ve been writing my own blog for 8 years where I discuss disability and my passions including theatre. I’m also a published author and a freelance writer and you can often find me enjoying one of my favourite hobbies, theatre photography. As an activist I’ve spoken out about issues such as the plastic straw debate and access in theatres. I’m really excited to now be heading into my third year as a global brand leader and my second year as an all star! For me, I love being a GBL-All Star because it allows me to help contribute towards the kind of support I would have benefited from as a young disabled/chronically ill person. I hope as well that I am encouraging young disabled and chronically ill people to use their voices as well.

Connect with Shona:

Twitter

Instagram

Photography Instagram

Blog


 

Mellie White, 20

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United States, North Carolina

Hi my name is Mellie (AKA) @Thegirlwhocanteat, At 13, my health pretty much spiraled downward, I started to feel ill when eating and within time it began to worsen until I lost the ability to eat anything at all, the reasoning is multiple GI conditions: Gastroparesis, Crohn’s disease and Pyloric stenosis. I have almost been Tube-Fed for 7 years now, within the first few years of my journey my confidence really was taking a toll because of being “different” other teenagers I knew didn’t have a Feeding-Tube, there was no one on TV or magazines who looked like me, I felt alone and like I was the only one going through this. After a lot of thought, I started to ponder the thought of doing something about it, I didn’t want anyone to have to feel the loneliness and isolation that I had for so long, which is when I discovered my dream; I started to get into the modeling and acting industry and from the ground up discovered what makes me feel alive as well as rebuilt my own self confidence whilst helping others feel represented. I now have been the very first Tube-Fed model to walk the runway of NYFW (two years in a row) it truly is my biggest honor to be able to actively change the world’s perception of disabled. Check out my cool Cosplay posts too!

Connect with Mellie:

Instagram


 

Mona Li, 24

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Canada

My name is Mona and I’m a Chinese-Canadian residing in Toronto, Canada. I’m a visual science communicator (MSc Biomedical Communications ’19), currently working in the medical research space as a web designer. I make webcomics/silly art to promote health literacy and share personal experiences with physical/mental health, especially social anxiety disorder. As a GBL-All Star with InvisiYouth, I hope to continue using my work to elevate illness experiences and empower folks to identify and access the care they deserve.

Connect with Mona:

Instagram

Twitter

Website


 

Elin Williams, 22

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United Kingdom, Wales

Well hello, I’m Elin, a disability and lifestyle blogger and writer, a part-time student with The Open University and a Social Media and Communications Officer for a disability charity here in Wales. I was diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa when I was six, three years after my initial symptoms were noted and as my world became blurrier, I was registered blind when I was 12. A few years later, I was also diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E) / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). I created my blog, My Blurred World, back in April 2015 with an aim to create the very platform that I could have benefited from stumbling upon when I was younger. I write about everything from growing up with sight loss to my love of beauty , fashion and music and I’ve recently made more of a conscious effort to introduce my chronic illness into the conversation too. I’m very passionate about raising awareness and helping others and that’s what motivates me to keep writing and campaigning. Away from my blog and other work, you’ll find me reading, spending time with my family, listening to music or writing some more, because I can’t seem to stop! I’m so excited to be a Global Brand Leader for InvisiYouth for a second year running. It’s amazing to be a part of such a wonderful and supportive community - I can’t wait to see what the next year as a GBL All Star has in store!

Connect with Elin:

Twitter

Instagram

Blog

 


  

Effie Koliopoulos, 33

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United States, Illinois

Effie Koliopoulos was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis 15 years ago. She currently resides in Chicago, IL and works as a freelance health writer. She is also focusing on her debut children’s book that features a character living with a disability. In her spare time, she enjoys making YouTube videos for her channel, RA and Myself, writing, trying new recipes, going on walks, spending time with family and friends and catching up on her guilty pleasure reality TV shows such as the Bachelor. Feel free to connect on social media and follow along for the latest updates! I am excited to be a GBL-ALL Star for InvisiYouth because I absolutely love the mission behind it. I feel that creating a community for young adults living with chronic illness is needed more than ever now. I was diagnosed in my teens and never had a community that I could turn to right away. Now as an adult, I want to share my story and get involved with organizations that help our youth going through difficult times, to let them know they are not alone. The world wide web has blessed us with the opportunity to connect virtually with many people who are going through similar situations. With InvisiYouth, I have been able to go beyond the virtual and meet up with people in my local city. This wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for charities such as, InvisiYouth.

Connect with Effie:

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube Channel

Blog

 


  

Mikaela Basile, 22

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Canada

Mikaela Basile became a driven mental health, chronic illness and disability advocate after finding that stigma and inaccessibility affected her own journey of trying to find help and after she saw her own mother battle Lupus (#spooniefamily). Always being an anxious child, Mikaela began to suffer from constant anxiety, panic attacks, and depressive episodes in her teens. She didn’t begin receiving adequate help until her final year of high-school when she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Depression. Around this time, Mikaela also found that she was developing chronic pelvic pain and was recently diagnosed with Endometriosis, undergoing excision surgery in October 2019. Hoping to help others manage their own conditions, diminish stigma and raise awareness, Mikaela created Lil’ Miss Anxious, a platform for those with lived experience of mental illness, chronic illness and disability. She also volunteers her time with multiple organizations like Anxiety Canada, Foundry BC, SPARK Foundation, and her university’s accessibility committee and disability club. Mikaela is thrilled to be a GBL-All Star for InvisiYouth as she had so much fun raising awareness around mental illness, chronic illness and disability with them last year!

Connect with Mikaela:

Instagram


 

Amy Saunders, 24

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United Kingdom, England

I’m Amy, I’m 24 and from the UK! I’ve had ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) since 2014 and have recently been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome). I teach GCSE English part time, something which I never thought I’d be able to do with a chronic illness! I started my blog, Living with ME, in 2015, to talk about my ups and downs with chronic illness while trying to live a relatively ‘normal’ life. It has given me some incredible opportunities, including being a Global Brand Leader for InvisiYouth for a third year! I’m so excited to be working with them again and I’m looking forward to seeing what the charity achieves this year!

Connect with Amy:

Instagram

A Chronic Glow Instagram

Blog