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2018 Top 10 Hilarious Patient Leaders

There are thousands of Patient Leaders working day in and day out to educate, raise awareness and support their patient community. The WEGO Health Awards give us the chance to recognize Patient Leaders across all condition areas and platforms, to ultimately find the top Patient Leaders in each space.

To recognize the Patient Leader community members endorsed, we’ve compiled the Top 10 Patient Leaders in each category.

Whether you’re looking for a dose of daily laughter or hoping to connect with new Patient Leaders in the space, take a moment to meet and follow the 2018 Top 10 Hilarious Patient Leaders of the online health community.

Justin Birckbichler

Men’s Health Patient Leader

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

“Testicular cancer – it’s a stiff conversation, and it may make you a bit testy, but we need to sack up. Once you get the ball rolling, I think you’ll find talking about testicular health isn’t a hard nut to crack. As a testicular cancer survivor, I write and am an advocate for men’s health through my blog, A Ballsy Sense of Tumor. One of my goals is for ABSOT to help others who have been diagnosed with testicular cancer to find the resource I wish I had when I first started. However, the main goal is to open up lines of dialogue about testicular cancer. I talk to and educate people about testicular cancer through as much humor as you can use when discussing cancer.”

Keep the ball rolling, connect with Justin!

Marla Jan

Lupus  Patient Leader

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

“I drew the short straw in the family gene pool- but I ain’t mad about it. I was born w/ a complex heart defect & had 4 open-heart surgeries by age 6. In 2008 I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus (and overlapping autoimmune diseases), my baby maker was closed for business in 2013, and I had a double mastectomy in 2014. Every part of my body has a corresponding awareness ribbon. Instead of hiding under the covers, I started my blog, Luck Fupus. I realized I was reaching others & raising awareness. These days I travel the country sharing my crazy story to advocate for those who can’t, using sarcasm & humor to support and inspire, striving to make a difference in healthcare!” Get a laugh from Marla. 

Ardra Shepard

MS Patient Leader

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Ardra Shephard is a devastating illness expert, having lived with multiple sclerosis for more than 15 years. Her blog, Tripping On Air, is the irreverent insider-scoop about MS that manages to inspire without ever being saccharine. it’s frank, it’s funny; it’s what you’d want your best friend to tell you about what it’s like to live with chronic illness. Ardra’s on a mission to change minds about what it means to live with disability, to encourage better representation across all media, and to empower women living with chronic illness by demystifying the connection between disability and beauty. Connect with Ardra for a daily dose of laughter! 

Lauren Rowe

Cystic Fibrosis Patient Leader

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

“My name is Lauren and I have been making chronic illness sexy since 1990. I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth and by the age of 19 I had spent a total of three years in a hospital bed, spent an eighth of my life doing physio and taken over 438, 000 tablets. Oh, and I had two weeks left to live. It was at this time I was lucky enough to receive a double lung transplant, which saved my life.”

Follow Lauren and learn more about her journey.

My Odd Sock

MS Patient Leader

Facebook | Twitter

“At My Odd Sock, my goal is to share some humor to others who may be going through difficult times. I write about humor-related issues of multiple sclerosis (Yes, there are many!) as well as humor pieces to liven a reader’s weekend. Complimentary snacks & beverages are also served. Because I don’t have large sums of money to donate to the MS cause, these goofy writings are my way of giving back to others AND myself (As it helps me cope with my own MS). Whether I make an MSer laugh, smile or call authorities to have me arrested, I want the reader to forget about their disease for a few moments.”

Enjoy a few moments of laughter. 

Kelly Conway

Arthritis Patient Leader

Facebook | Twitter

“I am a patient living with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia & Thyroid disease. I am also a cofounder of the International Foundation for Autoimmune & Autoinflammatory Arthritis. My passion is awareness & advocacy for the rheumatology community & all those living w/ chronic illness. I believe strongly in the patient voice & use my voice advocate on Capitol Hill for patients with rheumatology diseases. I love connecting w/ other patients via social media & my life is richer being a part of this amazing community. I write about my life w/ arthritis & my pets on my blog: As my Joints Turn.”

Connect with Kelly for more laughter.

Babble on Brooke 

Spinal Injury Patient Leader

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

“Following a spinal injury 6 years ago, I, a professional speaker, slowly lost the ability to speak & even breathe at times. Became housebound 3 years in, adopting a strict protocol incl. daily home doctor visits. Somewhere along, I fell into a very deep depression. Thankfully, I found live streaming. I started sharing & created a safe environment for others to do so also. This past year I’ve taken it to the next level by incorporating my entertainment background to help others laugh. Each week my show at www.Brooke.Live does exactly that & it is incredibly rewarding. Laughter heals. I know the reason I’m still here is to help save lives through sharing, learning and laughing!”

Follow Brooke for more light & laughter in your day! 

Stephanie Wilson

Chronic Illness Patient Leader

 Facebook | Twitter

Childhood cancer survivor and chronic illness warrior, Stephanie Wilson started her blog SpoonieStrong after her 30 year journey for a diagnosis. Diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in 2013, Stephanie reached out for support and found the Spoonie community on Tumblr. Wanting to contribute more and foster a sense of family, SpoonieStrong was born. SpoonieStrong incorporates the many aspects of chronic illness life, while providing humor, support, advice and health information. Stephanie has been innovative in her SpoonieStrong feature posts — starting “SpoonieStrong Selfie Saturday” which encourages Spoonies to share pictures of themselves and celebrate their accomplishments.

For a healthy dose of laughter, connect with Stephanie.

Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo”

Infertility & Women’s Health Patient Leader

Facebook | Twitter

“As a freelance writer, Infertility Subject Matter Expert and Women’s Health and Patient Advocate, my writing has been has been featured on Time Magazine, the Huffington Post, ScaryMommy, and multiple websites and online magazines covering topics such as infertility, women’s health, pregnancy, being the parent of an autistic child and fertility treatment. I’ve been interviewed on news outlets such as CNN, NPR, FOX, NBC and BBC and have been invited to speak at several conferences (CCW, New England Resolve, etc.). I am also featured in the documentary, Vegas Baby, which explores the impact infertility can have on all aspects of one’s life.”

Connect with Jennifer for more! 

Rylie Belcher

Chronic Illness Patient Leader

Instagram | Facebook

“I love to spread positivity, and I love to make others happy! When I’m at the hospital or doctors, I’m always making jokes with everyone! I find that laughter really helps me, and it always seems to make other people happy! Having an illness may be difficult, but staying positive is key!”

Follow Rylie for some sprinkles of positivity! 


Do you know any Patient Leaders who bring humor to their advocacy? Remember to nominate them for next year’s WEGO Health Awards for a chance to land in the top 10!

Congratulations to all of the 2018 WEGO Health Awards Hilarious Patient Leader nominees.

Missed out on the WEGO Health Awards celebration this year? Check out the full event recap for pictures, interviews, a live stream & more!

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