The Ambassador Level of our Global Brand Leaders Program is InvisiYouth's third level of our GBL Program, and it is our introductory level of our leadership program so young people can become part of the nonprofit's evolving goals for the year ahead. They all gain an introduction into InvisiYouth's programs, supporting our brand partnerships, participating in our activism campaigns and fundraising. We strive to empower these new faces to learn and grow from our fun-loving way of working in the global chronic illness community. All the elements of volunteerism, like our fundraising knowledge and advocacy skills are sharpened on a global scale in our GBL Program. That is what we aim for our #GBLAmbassadors: for them to be learn and have fun in our program within their unique life experience with any chronic illness, disability and mental health.
Get to know more about the twenty-four incredible people of the 2020-2021 Class of #GBLAmbassadors . . . AKA: InvisiYouth's Medically Adult-ish™ Game-Changers:
My name is Sofia and I'm 20 years old. I've had Ulcerative Colitis since I was 16 and have had my ostomy bag for almost 4 years now. I'm a Psychology student at a University here in Ontario, and I love my program. I'm hoping to become a clinical psychologist to help youth suffering from medical trauma cope on an emotional and psychological level. I'm so excited to be a GBL Ambassador for InvisiYouth, because I love advocating and raising awareness for others with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I never want anyone to feel alone in their diagnosis or suffering, and that's why I'm excited to be a part of InvisiYouth.
Connect with Sofia:
22, United Kingdom, England
Hello, my name is Connie Wardale and I have been suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis since I was 13. I have also suffered from depression and anxiety. I unfortunately had to drop out of full-time education when I was 14; however, I still managed to complete my GCSEs. I first started becoming active in the chronic illness community in February 2017, giving people a raw look at what it is like living with a chronic illness. I have since played a proactive role in spreading chronic illness awareness and building a community online where nobody has to suffer alone. I have always been active in the chronic illness community so I was incredibly excited to be a part of such a wonderful organization that seeks to bring awareness to this amazing community of people.
Connect with Connie:
20, United Kingdom, England
Hey, I’m Lauren- I am a curly haired, vegetarian/veganish, sunset-loving student/wannabe mermaid living in Brighton. I have a multitude of diagnosis’ including ME, HSD, Fibromyalgia and Tourettes Syndrome. When I’m not sleeping or swimming, I love to travel and explore new places- having access needs has made this more difficult but I am determined for it not to stop me! I aim to have fun despite being poorly and meet people who are understanding of my needs! Like anyone, I have bad day, I aim to show these through my account just as much as my good days- I spent much of my young teen years living with mental health issues and a pretty negative mindset- I have found a new purpose in life to be as positive as possible. Being so young, I worry I will miss out on life- the ‘normal’ things my friends get to do- I set up a group in Brighton ‘a little poorly- Brighton’ for people with disabilities to connect, interact and tackle social isolation. InvisiYouth’s mission means a lot to me and I am beyond excited to work with them! Since my diagnosis’ I have spent a lot of time searching self-help resources and being told "there is no support available for young people with disabilities." It was when I discovered InvisiYouth, I realised I was not alone and it was time to use my voice and my experiences to help others. People often speak negatively of ‘the youth of today’, we are here to change the future and make a positive impact for the lives of everyone and being chronically ill gives us a whole new outlook on life to do so.
Connect with Lauren:
18, United States, New Jersey
My name is Bridget Gum and I have Transverse Myelitis, which is a rare auto-immune disorder that attacked my immune system as well as my spinal cord, leaving me as a tetraplegic with an incomplete C5-C8 level of injury. I enjoy reading, drawing, coloring, listening to music, watching TV, and doing makeup. I'm about to graduate from Hunterdon Central Regional High School and am going to attend Rider University as a member of their honors program, Gail Bierenbaum Women's Leadership Council, Bonner's Community Service Scholar, and Multicultural Student Leadership Institute. I'm currently involved in multiple activism clubs at my school for gender equality, LGBTQ+ equality, racial equality, and disability equality and plan to continue that in college. I'm so excited about being a GBL-Ambassador for InvisiYouth because I want to help people and make the world a better place for everyone who lives in it, especially those with disabilities, and this gives me a platform to do that.
Connect with Bridget:
24, United Kingdom, England
I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and Fibromyalgia in 2019 after a nine year struggle with excruciatingly painful periods and other symptoms. I also battle social and health anxiety which was diagnosed just after becoming chronically ill and when I went through a period of struggle leaving my home. I now use my social media and blog to document the things I've experienced and to raise awareness for both chronic illness and mental health - showing the real and sharing the little joys amongst the challenges! I have a weekly series called #chronicconvos where I share my own as well as others stories about their chronic illnesses and experiences. I'm passionate about encouraging women to understand their bodies, getting the medical help they deserve, supporting them in advocating for themselves and attempting to reduce the amount of time women have to wait for a diagnosis of Endometriosis. I'm so grateful for all the incredible opportunities I've had through my platform and I'm looking forward to working with InvisiYouth, to continue sharing the message and advocating for people with chronic illnesses!
Connect with Abbie:
24, United States, Illinois
Hi, my name’s Kat! I am a signed & published model, mental health and disability activist, and have my BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio. I was born with amniotic band syndrome and am missing my left arm at the elbow. I started as a mental health advocate after battling anorexia, body dysmorphia, dysthymia and anxiety; I attribute some of my mental health battles as stemming from getting severely bullied for my disability throughout my entire life. In 2017, my life changed after finding other girls with one arm like me. I wasn’t alone in my struggles with self acceptance anymore. I have pledged since to lead as an example to anyone that you can live a beautiful and fulfilling life as well as do anything that ‘able-bodied’ people do. Xoxo :) I am excited to be a GBL because I am honored to be amongst people that are a light in other’s lives and in this community! Helping others and putting myself out there is what I have a passion for so I am beyond grateful to join and have an even bigger outreach. I am excited to make so many more connections and to bring positivity to everyone here.
Connect with Katherine:
23, United Kingdom, England
Hi, my name is Gina! I'm a 23 year old mental health and chronic illness advocate from London. I have battled with PTSD and depression since the age of 15 and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in March. I started The Princess and The Fog as I wanted to turn my negative experiences into something positive and to help others, developing a supportive community based on empathy and understanding. Raising awareness and sharing the words of others through my 'Voices of Chronic Illness Butterflies Project' and other campaigns in the fight to end the stigma and educate on invisible illnesses. I am truly honoured to become a Global Brand Leader for InvisiYouth and look forward to raising important awareness, support, compassion and education through my platform as one of your ambassadors. Together we are stronger.
Connect with Gina:
24, United States, Missouri
Hello! I am an interdisciplinary artist, access and inclusion advocate, and educator. I have been battling with a diagnosis for years. I have autoimmune disorders as well as severe irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue. While this battle with my health is ongoing, I am determined to live a fruitful and meaningful life! I am working on going back to school in order to receive my Master's in Therapeutic Recreation with an emphasis on helping patients with chronic illness. The last few years of constant unknowns and tests have drained me. I am ready to step outside my comfort zone and start finding new ways to live and create meaningful experiences for myself. I love the outdoors, people, food, fitness, and learning. InvisiYouth has been a source of strength and hope for me as I have navigated my illness and continue to do so. It means the world to me to be able to give back to a community that brings so much joy and support no matter where anyone is in their journey.
Connect with Skylar:
15, United States, New Jersey
Hi! My name is Leah, I’m from New Jersey, US. I have multiple chronic illnesses but I always seem to smile through it all. I have Postural Orthostatic Tachychardia Syndrome(POTS), Autonomic Dysfunction/Dysautonomia, Gastroparesis (now converting to a GJ tube), Complex Regional Pain Syndrome(CRPS), Intestinal Dysmotility, and chronic migraines. Recently, I was also diagnosed with eosinophilic esophagitis, and probable mitochondrial disease. There are many things that keep me going and that I have enjoyed for many years; especially competitive dance. I’ve been a competitive dancer since I was 6 years old and it has even helped me from a physical therapy standpoint too. I am an active leader in my community and youth group and plan to do more with leadership roles. I recently started an instagram blog where I share my journey and advocate for the chronic illness community. I am so excited to be a GBL Ambassador and continue my leadership journey in the chronic illness community.
Connected with Leah:
23, United Kingdom, England
Hello! My name is Cyrene and I am from Essex/London. I have Crohn’s disease, Enteropathic (IBD related) Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, anaphylactic allergies, POTS, and OCD. I’ve been ill since I was 13 years old, but I’ve had lots of ups and downs since then. I managed to get through school, college, and university - I graduated with a First! But just after university I went into anaphylactic shock (not for the first time) and it triggered a huge flare up of my illnesses. That was 2 years ago and I have yet to get them under control. During this flare up I have also had major surgery to remove tumours from my liver, it’s been quite a rollercoaster! It all had a huge impact on my mental health, and these struggles led me to start my social media blog (@diaryofacrohnie_). Initially it was meant to be a therapeutic outlet for me, but now I am passionate about raising awareness and breaking down the shame and loneliness of chronic and mental illness by talking about my day to day life, and helping others feel less alone. Doing this has given me a lot of confidence, including the confidence it took to start my own business. I have made so many lovely friends, and helped others in the process too. I am really excited to be a Global Brand Leader with Invisiyouth, and hopefully help even more people! I am so excited because I really enjoy being involved in activism work in the community, and I would love to do this more and help more people. One of the best things about being on social media is talking to people from all over the world, so I am also excited to be a part of another little community with all the other GBLs!
Connect with Cyrene:
Hi! My name is Emily, I’m from Queensland, Australia and I’m almost 17. I developed CRPS shortly after a fall dancing in 2013, but the fracture was missed for a year, and I was later diagnosed with it until June 2015. Since then I’ve been diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, depression, a form of heart defect which was fixed in late 2019, and a few other minor things. I’m currently in grade 11 and I hope to study Nursing at university once I graduate, to become either a Paediatric oncology nurse or a Paediatric mental health nurse. I love art, photography and making video edits of my favourite tv shows/actors! I’m excited about working with InvisiYouth as I’d love to branch out with my activism & be able to work with some incredible people!
Connect with Emily:
18, New Zealand
Hey! My name is Kate and I have Selective IgA immunodeficiency, IBS and Hashimoto’s disease, but I am still currently undergoing more testing for other suspected conditions. My chronic illness journey began when I was seven, but didn’t properly affect me until I was fourteen. After experiencing life changing illnesses throughout my teenage years and now being unable to work because of them, I decided to make the blog and Instagram, Luv Ur Tum. It supports teens and young adults experiencing chronic illness and provides delicious recipes suitable for many dietary requirements. Having this platform to create awareness and break common chronic illness stereotypes is so important to me and I hope by speaking up, others will feel less alone. That I can help change the way chronically ill individuals are portrayed in society. Giving all of the chronically ill teens and young adults a voice they deserve, and showing that they can have a fulfilling life with both physical and mental illness. Because of these values, I am so excited to be working with InvisiYouth, and being part of the extension of the charity to New Zealand!
Connect with Kate:
23, United Kingdom, England
I’m Natalie and I have dyspraxia and mild cerebral palsy - both of which are hidden disabilities. I blog about disability, mainly dyspraxia, and talk about dyspraxia across my social media to try to raise awareness wherever I can. My blog started back in 2014, initially intended only to be one post - it now has a lot more than one and I’ve had some great opportunities as a result of that! I studied Psychology for my undergraduate degree, the Psychology of Education for my Master’s degree and am currently working as a Learning Support Assistant in a school, with the aim of eventually becoming an educational psychologist. My hobbies include running and playing games on my Switch (mostly Animal Crossing!). I’m really excited to be a GBL Ambassador for InvisiYouth as it’s a great opportunity to contribute to further awareness raising for disabilities, to collaborate with some amazing people and to spread InvisiYouth’s message further and hopefully help others feel less alone.
Connect with Natalie:
25, United Kingdom, England
Hi! I’m Soph! I have been diagnosed with ME / CFS, FND, EoE and also suffer from anxiety. I graduated in 2017 with a Real Estate degree and work in the property industry. I am a huge fan of outdoors and adventures, and I’m always up for a challenge! I love white water kayaking, hiking and running - the mountains or on water are my happy places. My Kitten, Brie, is my fave thing and helps my anxiety so much. When I was first diagnosed I felt extremely isolated, so I started my Instagram account to connect with people going through similar experiences to me, and I am grateful to now be able to give something back to the community which has given me so much support. I am excited to be able to work with InvisiYouth this year to continue to raise awareness of invisible illnesses and ensure that no one feels as alone or isolated as I did.
Connect with Sophie:
I'm fatigued but passionate about way too many things and I'm always in awe of nature and the One who created it all. My faith and my family mean the world to me and that includes all the pets and unexpected friends who I've come across over the years. I love photography, adventuring, writing, music, colour, anything creative, animals, horse riding, ballroom dancing, supporting people, standing up for what's right and making genuine connections with people. I started instagram over 3 years ago purely for photography. It has since grown into much more than that after I stumbled upon the chronic illness community. I've not only gained some lifelong friends, I've also gained a voice and a great deal more confidence to stand up for what's right and speak about my own personal experience with chronic illness. I was diagnosed with ME/CFS, Depression and Anxiety in 2009 halfway through year 11 in high school and later diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and suspected Endometriosis. The years that have followed my diagnosis have involved varying degrees of severity ranging from being mostly bedridden and housebound to eventually improving enough to be able to gain a part-time job, until I relapsed after about a year and had to readjust my life once again. I'm currently unemployed; working on my health, advocating for chronic illness and some other issues close to my heart and also turning my photography into a business amidst flares. For the first few years after my diagnosis, I didn't know anyone else with ME/CFS so I'm excited about having the opportunity to speak up for others who are going through the ups and downs, isolation, confusion, judgement and stigma of chronic illness through the wonderful platform that InvisiYouth is providing.
Connect with Emily:
21, United Kingdom, England
Hi! My name is Polly Maton. I am a 20 year old para-athlete, specialising in long jump and 100m. I compete in the T46 classification as I was born without my right hand. I am also a student studying History and Politics at Oxford University. In my spare time (if I get any) I love spending time with friends and family, alongside watching my favourite TV shows (I know, incredibly boring and generic, I can’t even cook!) I am so excited to be a GBL Ambassador because InvisiYouth plays such an amazing role in empowering teenagers and young people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I have fallen in love with this charity and it’s values from attending my first event earlier this year. If I am being honest, it has taken me a while to accept my disability and it can be particularly hard, at least from my experience, to deal with the identity as a teenager. It would mean so much if I can help someone else feel more confident. I am so passionate about building this community up, we are so powerful - we can take on the World!
Connect with Polly:
Gracie Van Brunt
25, United States, California
Hello! My name is Gracie Van Brunt, I am a 25 year old Singer/Songwriter and I have a rare, genetic, chronic disease called Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome! I was diagnosed when I was 2 years old and it affects my pancreas, skeleton and bone-marrow. In June 2019, I received a bone-marrow transplant with my brother being my donor! I have since recovered and am completely focused on my music career now! I am super excited to be an ambassador for InvisiYouth because it has always been my mission to empower youths with chronic illnesses like myself! Growing up, I only knew a handful of people with chronic illnesses let alone anybody with my own disease. When I found InvisiYouth, it made me feel like I finally had a community of people I could relate to. It is my goal in life to let those who have chronic illnesses or anyone with a medical condition know that this condition DOES NOT have to define you. You are so much more than your disease and you deserve to live the life you've envisioned for yourself. Being an ambassador for InvisiYouth will help me to spread this message!
Connect with Gracie:
30, United Kingdom, England
Hi! I’m Lizzi, I am 30 years old and live in the North West of England. My heath journey began at the age of 12 with an ankle fracture and complications. Several years of treatments, investigations and the unknown followed. Subsequently I have been diagnosed with Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), Fibromyalgia and several other chronic pain conditions. If you were to meet me now you would find me working in the travel industry. In my down time I love makeup, music, photography and traveling to new places when I am well enough. One of the hardest parts of growing up with chronic illnesses was the isolation, not feeling like other people my age. Social media was not as prevalent back then as it is now and I am excited to be a Global Brand Leader Ambassador for InvisiYouth to help spread the word about the charity, about living with invisible illnesses and also helping be part of an incredible online community which has been invaluable to me in recent years.
Connect with Lizzi:
My name is Mia! I live in Toronto, Ontario and I live with Cystic Fibrosis, Scoliosis and many anaphylactic allergies! I began sharing my health journey as an ambassador for The Hospital for Sick Children and later created my Instagram platform to help raise awareness and funds for the many nonprofits that I hold close to my heart. I am a public speaker and advocate but I could not do what I do without the support of the many communities I work closely with. I'm constantly inspired by these communities and so thankful that I am so lucky to fight these health battles alongside some of the strongest fighters I know. In recent years, social media activism has become a very important part of how our rare disease community advocates for one another. I am extremely excited to join the InvisiYouth family as a new Global Brand Leader, helping to shed light on rare, invisible diseases, instill hope and create change with these amazing, inspiring patient leaders! Thank you for inviting me and welcoming me with open arms!
Connect with Mia:
I am passionate about creating a more loving world, a passion which I have developed through my studies as a yoga teacher in Hatha and Yin. Living an intentional, loving life has been a cornerstone of my own health journey with chronic migraine, which I had since the age of 19. I have an Instagram @howtoliveslowly where I share my journey, yoga and inspire people to live slower, more intentional lives. I also work professionally in consulting, focused on marketing and customer experience. I want to inspire young people with illness and disability to find what works for them so that they can live a fulfilled life! I love InvisiYouth’s lifestyle led, positive approach, I think it can make all the difference!
Connect with Grace:
Hi, my name is Hailee and I’m 19 years old. For the last three years, I’ve been managing chronic widespread pain, and chronic idiopathic urticaria, which is now suspected Mast cell activation syndrome, and just over the past year hEDS. I am currently working towards completing my final year of high school. I spend my free time taking care of my many plants, practicing self care, and dabbling in pilates. My goal for my instagram is to educate others on invisible disabilities, and support those who are new to the chronic illnesses community. I am overjoyed to become a part of the InvisiYouth family and am eager to provide support for young people with invisible disabilities! Thank you for providing me and so many others with this platform!
Connect with Hailee:
26, United Kingdom, Scotland
I'm Amy! I have Endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Scoliosis which I had spinal fusion surgery for almost 10 years ago. I love to hike and camp in the mountains of Scotland, I'm an avid runner, bookworm and crazy cat lady. I work full time as a manager for Costa Coffee, I help underprivileged teenagers gain work experience amongst the stores and I'm currently in the process of returning to University for my Master's Degree in Counselling. As an activist in the community I'm trying to end the stigma and stereotypes surrounding chronic pain/illness and disabilities. I'm so excited to be a GBL Ambassador for InvisiYouth, I can't wait to spread more awareness, help others and be part of this amazing community!
Connect with Amy:
23, United Kingdom, Wales
Hi! I’m Elle a 23 year old student and I’m from the United Kingdom. I was diagnosed with chronic pain 7 years ago and since then I have been an active advocate for those who are finding it hard to balance school/ university and their health at the same time. Due to my health declining and education not being accessible for me at the time, I decided to home school myself to gain the qualifications needed to go to University in the U.K. There, I worked to obtain a first class degree in Education, and I was able to conduct my very own research regarding education and chronic illnesses. I’m passionate about educational rights for those who are already fighting for their health and commonly have to fight for their right to be education alongside this as they don’t look ‘traditionally’ unwell. Through my Instagram page @thechronicpainlife I have had the opportunity to document my journey with chronic pain as a teen and then a University student too. I’m excited to meet other people passionate about advocacy and be able to raise awareness of the great work InvisiYouth does!
Connect with Elle:
26, United States, Virginia
My name is Marie and though I may not look it, I was born disabled; at 2 years old I was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Multiple Hereditary Exostoses. I have more diagnoses than I have fingers to count on-a few of them also include Hemiplegic Migraines, Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, IBS, Manic Depression, and C-PTSD. I have always made it my personal mission to never let my disabilities stop me from pursuing what I love. I am a 5 time Emmy Nominated and 2018 VAB award winning broadcast news director who has been directing prime time newscasts for almost 8 years. My activism centers around storytelling and art. Journalism and design have always been passions of mine, and being able to use aspects of my passions in my advocacy gives even more value to my work. I am a Mighty Contributor as well as the creator of The R.A.R.E. Community, a social network designed to be a sanctuary for anyone with a chronic, invisible, mental, or rare disease. I am honored to be a GBL-Ambassador for InvisiYouth to shine light on the fact that the disabled are capable of adapting to any goal they set their mind to.
Connect with Marie: