Our Founder's Story
Growing up, Dominique Viel always desired to give back. From volunteering in nursing homes, to fundraising for causes like girls education in India and orphan children in Uganda, the philanthropic lifestyle has been second nature. It wasn't until many years ago, when Dominique was a teen, that this hobby became her life's work.
As a competitive tennis player for eight years, Dominique was constantly on the court, her priority was getting scouted for universities, any injuries were not. But one early morning practice injured her dominant left hand and Dominique's dream was gone in an instant.
Doctors diagnosed her with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD (also known as CRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) which is a neurovascular condition that follows an injury to the sympathetic nervous system in an affected area. When the nervous system is damaged, its ability to heal is compromised, forcing the nervous system to continuously recycle massive injury. Symptoms include severe nerve pain, swelling, bruising, muscular spasms, temperature changes and more. After being ordered into unsuccessful and grueling physical therapy for months, countless pediatric specialists, procedures and tests, with a surprise spinal correction and fusion surgery, Dominique's health kept declining.
Being tested for cancers, genetic disorders and more, her situation seemed grim and the RSD spread into her left foot and left side of her neck and head. And all the while Dominique worked hard to graduate high school and go to university--she was even able to graduate from Saint Joseph's University with two BAs in English and International Relations. After years of treatment and a grand total of 35 doctors, Dominique's RSD subsided into her "new normal," one where she found her purpose through her health chaos.
Dominique's idea for InvisiYouth Charity stemmed not just from her own experience as a teen pediatric patient, but from seeing other youth with the same struggle: being invisible to the pediatric community and their peers as they are forced to find their way through teen-life with any chronic illness. Building an improved atmosphere was the inception of InvisiYouth Charity. This personal goal to provide lifestyle tips and fun events for teens and young adults with all chronic illnesses, whether physical or mental, visible or invisible, has now been supported by hundreds around the world. Teens in pediatric healthcare, or teeniatrics® as InvisiYouth has coined the term, now have a place to go so they can navigate and live their lives with illness with ease and fun.