The Apprentice Level of our Global Brand Leaders Program is InvisiYouth's top tier of leadership and are hand-selected individuals that have soared above and beyond to advocate for other young people in the chronic illness/disability community. With more than two years of engagement supporting InvisiYouth, these apprentices are at an elite level of program development, mentorship, civic engagement and fundraising expansion. They will take an immersive role with InvisiYouth's team every month while also showcasing the different co-branding opportunities with their individual interests and InvisiYouth's mission. This is beyond your ordinary internship as each of the #GBLApprentices be learning from the best in the youth nonprofit world and sharpening their diverse skills.
Get to know more about the four incredible ladies of the 2020-2021 Class of #GBLApprentices . . . AKA: InvisiYouth's Medically Adult-ish™ Game-Changers:
Madi Vanstone, 18, Canada
My name is Madi Vanstone! I’m 18 years old and I was diagnosed with a rare disease called Cystic Fibrosis when I was 8 months old. When I'm not busy doing my therapies to keep on top of my health, I work as an advocate to spread CF awareness.
My journey as an advocate began when I fought the Canadian government for the coverage of a very effective and expensive medication called Kalydeco™ which corrects the defective gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis. It only works for about 3% of the CF population, and luckily I am in that 3%.
After successfully gaining coverage to Kalydeco™ in 2014, I am continuing to work to have new medications made available to those who are also battling for their lives.
I work hard to share my story in hopes to inspire others living with health challenges to - despite their challenges - live their best lives.
I am so very excited to be joining the InvisiYouth team for another year as an apprentice to not only help inspire others to live a beautiful life but to also explore the field!
RapidFire Questions with GBL Apprentice Madi:
- Q: What's your guilty pleasure? TV show, movie, IG account, food...anything!A: 90 Day Fiancé!! My mom and I never miss it!
- Q: If you had to pick what animal would represent you, which would it be?A: Jaguar
- Q: If you were going to become an Olympian/Paralympian, what sport would you want to do?A: Equestrian
- Q: If four non-family/friends had to join you for an all-star dinner, who would you pick?A: Auston Matthews, Justin Bieber, Harry Styles, and Dallas Smith
- Q: Most ironic/most asked question you get about your health?A: "Isn't Cystic Fibrosis the same as Asthma?" *eyeroll*
- Q: Pick a word to describe my activism style!A: Tenacious!
Connect and learn more about our GBL Apprentice Madi Vanstone:
CF Activism Instagram: @twocystersinapod
Wanna Learn More About Madi Working with InvisiYouth? Check her out on an episode of our video podcast series, InvisiYouth Chat Sessions, when Madi and her awesome mom Beth were guests in Season Two! It's a super fast-paced and super fun podcast to listen to or watch! Click the LINK HERE!
17, Elina Passant, Australia
Hi, I’m Elina, a 17-year old Australian teen advocate, and entrepreneur, who happens to have HEDS or hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (a genetic connective tissue disorder).
Due to my illness in a time most teens are exploring their newfound freedom, I was losing mine. My world became my bedroom for over three years. During that time, I discovered my passion for blogging and writing became more than my escape.
It was my outlet to come to terms and deal with my new “normal” and starting JustSoElina led me to do so many things you never would have expected.
I’m now a passionate advocate for the chronic illness community and the founder of Chronic Youth Australia.
This profit-for-purpose organization was created to help youth in Australia with chronic illnesses and disabilities gain better support and break down the isolation barrier adversity can cause. I am so excited and grateful to continue to work with InvisiYouth this year. Being part of the GBL Program last year helped me to find my voice and develop my ideas for change.
I cannot wait to work with InvisiYouth towards bridging the gap in support in Australia and bring their values into my local community.
RapidFire Questions with Elina:
Q: What's a catchphrase you use that you'd definitely put on a t-shirt?
A: "Your voice has power." So much of my health journey made me feel like I was voiceless. That nothing I said mattered. Along the way my illness has taught me to speak up and advocate for myself. It showed me how powerful our voices are and now that is something I remind others.
Q: If you had to become a character on a fictional TV cast, which TV friend group/family would you want to join?
A: That’s easy it would have to be Red Band Society! I was obsessed with it before I even knew I was sick. Their friendship group is so special! They are all going through so much but they band together (excuse the pun!) so no one ever had to go through their struggles alone, whilst still managing to have fun and just be teenagers amid everything going on.
Q: If you had to pick one thing you've benefited from your health experiences, what would that be?
A: I'd have to pick resilience. Since I became sick, I’ve faced more than I ever thought I would. There were so many times it felt impossible and too much to handle. But I learnt overtime how to dust myself off, pick myself/my life back up, and keep fighting.
Q: What is the most ironic/most asked question you get about your health?
A: "But you don’t feel sick all the time, right?" I have had to explain the meaning of the chronic part of chronic illness a lot.
Q: If you got to run another activist's Instagram account, which would you geek-out over?
A: By far it would have been Claire Wineland’s account, she was always such a huge inspiration to me and the community she created is incredible!
Connect and learn more about our GBL Apprentice Elina Passant:
Chronic Youth Australia Instagram: @chronicyouthaustralia
Wanna Learn More About Elina's new company, Chronic Youth Australia and its partnership with InvisiYouth? Check her incredible new company which is selling some super cute merch...like their activism hoodies.
And spoiler alert!!!! InvisiYouth is a nonprofit partner! AND we have a hoodie design where 50% of sales is donated to InvisiYouth! Speak Up, Rise Up and get a hoodie NOW.
Click the LINK HERE!
26, Sophie Ward, UNITED KINGDOM, England
My name is Sophie Ward. I am 26 years old from England. I suffer with Lyme Disease and my world was turned upside down by the illness. It is believed contract the disease when I was 14 out in China, but I wasn't diagnosed until I was 23. I saw consultant after consultant and the doctors thought I was crazy. I had to give up my swimming career when I was 16 due to my declining health. My dream before was to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games, swimming for Great Britain. During my career in the sport I compete for Lancashire, England, and Great Britain. Swimming was my LIFE. I have had to rebuild my castle, brick by brick and it is still a working progress BUT I know my mission. My passion is to help people, soothe hearts, empower and inspire people to rebuild THEIR own castles. Our trains were derailed but we still deserve life, we deserve happiness and we can chase our dreams. I run my blog Sophantastic, my podcast: Chronic But Iconic, my travel business: Sophantastic Travel and I create unique paint with diamonds gifts. I use social media especially my Instagram to share my journey. EVERY part of my work is inspired by my own pain, my our struggle and journey because I am on this healing journey too.
I am trying to feel visible, find my voice, piece my life back together and find peace in a body that feels alien to me. Through healing others, I help heal myself. That is why I LOVE working so closely with Lyme Disease UK and InvisiYouth because these charities stand for what I fight for. They are my 'why', they support the people like myself, to empower them, to give them the strength to fight. That is why I adore the charity SO much & am so grateful to work so closely with InvisiYouth.
RapidFire Questions with Sophie:
Q: If you're gonna show off some cooking skills, what's your chef signature dish? A good veggie risotto!
Q: What's your guilty pleasure TV show and food? Love Island, and bread and white choc!
Q: What's a catchphrase you'd definitely put on a t-shirt? I may lose a battle but I will win the war.
Q: If you had to pick an animal that best represents you, which would you pick? Dolphin - they always look like they are smiling, I am all about happiness. SMILES are healers.
Q: If you had to become a character on a fictional TV cast, which would you want to be? Blair Waldorf -Gossip Girl, her fashion style is just so classy.
Q: If you were going to become an Olympian/Paralympian, what sport would you want to do? SWIMMING!!!
Q: If you had to pick one thing you've benefited from your health experiences, what would that be? STRENGTH.
Q: If you picked four non-family/friends to join you for an all-star dinner, who do you pick? Bobby Kennedy, Monroe, Churchill, and Princess Diana.
Q: If you got stuck on an elevator and had to listen to ONE SONG on repeat, which would you pick? 'THE WAY I ARE' by Timbaland. Because it was the song playing throughout the Olympic Park the night I won my gold medal at the European Youth Olympics.
Q: Which three words describe my activism style? Honest, Personal, and Empowering.
Connect and learn more about our GBL Apprentice Sophie Ward:
Podcast Series: Chronic But Iconic
Travel Planning: Sophantastic Travel
Wanna Learn More About All the Ways GBL Apprentice Sophie Ward has been an incredible supporter for InvisiYouth?
We're gonna link you to some of Sophie's EPIC fundraisers. Like her Gatsby-themed Murder Mystery ball, her White-Out Abba Party, a mini-birthday house party, and her Believe-A-Bear campaign with the cutest stuffed animal bears ever.
Also, Sophie and founder Dominique have a fun podcasting history too. Founder Dominique was a guest on the popular British podcast series, InVisibility, and Sophie was also a guest on that episode talking all things InvisiYouth.
AND...Dominique was also a special guest on Sophie's podcast series, so listen to her episode HERE for that goodness!
*Fun Fact: the picture to the right is from InvisiYouth's London event in February 2020 which was filmed for the documentary, The Dark Horse by filmmaker Ashleigh Harley, AND this was the first time founder Dominique got to meet our incredible #GBLApprentice Sophie!
21, Aria Gaudet, Canada
Hi! I’m Aria, @reflectionsbyaria on Instagram ! I am a 21 year old living in the mountain-town Canmore, Alberta.
I’ve volunteered in my province as a patient advisor to help guide our health care system to a more Patient and Family Centered Care approach.
My health rapidly changed after a diagnosis of hip dysplasia and knowing I needed surgery to fix the bone pain I was experiencing. However, as a result of the surgery I have chronic neuropathic pain.
It’s taken me a good chunk of time to know how to cope with pain, deal with the stigma that’s come with it, and understand how wellness plays a huge role in my life.
I’m inspired by people who use their voice and platform to spread love and change throughout their community!
I’m honoured to be a Global Brand Leader Apprentice for InvisiYouth to help spread their mission and vision of young people being able to find themselves in spite of their health journey, and being able to feel confident advocating for themselves in the world!
Supporting InvisiYouth and seeing this charity grow has been one of the biggest blessings in my activist work.
RapidFire Questions with Aria:
Q: If you’re going to show off some cooking skills, what’s your chef signature dish?
A: Definitely the Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Coconut Curry. This is one of my favourite vegan dishes I’ve found!
Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?
A: Ooh....! Probably Netflix and Kombucha. A lot of Kombucha... my favourite flavour is either Ginger, Lemongrass or Orange and Turmeric!
Q: What’s one superstition and ritual you have?
A: Superstition: this is recent but I never have an empty chair or stool while I’m sleeping anymore. I always put clothes, books, socks, anything to cover it up. I’ve had way to many nightmares of thinking I’m being watched while I sleep from the sitting areas in my room...! Ahh!
A: Ritual: 32 oz of lemon water in the morning. This has become my favourite way to wake up my body and help flush out toxins first thing!
Q: Most ironic/asked question you get about your health?
A: Question: Are you healthy? Answer: Well... yes. I try to be mentally and physically, I’ve come a long way. But my nerve hasn’t been healthy since October 2013/my surgery.
Question: Is it going to get better? Answer: Well. No. I don’t know. Doctors don’t know. And you can’t predict or hope that in my future it’ll get better, cause no one knows.
Q: What are three words to describe your activism style?
A: Empowering. Bold. Activated.
Connect and learn more about our GBL Apprentice Aria Gaudet:
Wanna Learn More GBL Apprentice Aria and her long history of being a supportive community member for InvisiYouth in all our five years?
Check out Aria's new podcast, The Power of Wellness, with its first couple episodes now!
And get motivated by Aria's recent Anti Inflammatory-Socially Distant-Food Tasting Fundraiser Party. Her Instagram will give some epic recipes, and this photo is proof that being safe and having fun during a pandemic is possible for all.