Hey y’all! Not sure if you realized, but Uninvisible Pod celebrated its 100th episode this month!!! We set out on this journey to facilitate a community through conversation nearly two years ago, and could not be more proud for how far we’ve come…and the amazing individuals we have met and collaborated with along the way.
We had some great guests in November to help us celebrate. We spoke with Bassima Mroue about living with endometriosis, and revolutionizing the way we approach beauty and wellness; Vatesha Bouler about surviving breast cancer; Natalie Y. Beavers (our Hacking Healthcare partner!) about awareness, education, and community for epilepsy survivors and their families; Kelly Cervantes about childhood epilepsy and child loss; and Jeniece Dortch about raising awareness, support and resources for the siblings of disabled individuals.
We know that this month was a roller coaster for everyone – physically, emotionally, politically, and pandemic-ly (new word?!). Wherever you are, we hope that you are safe and supported right now, especially as we are headed into uncertain times for our holiday season. 2020 has been an absolute doozy of a year (to put it lightly), and we are proud to support those who need it most in our invisible illness community.
Bassima Mroue is a Lebanese-American entrepreneur and an active supporter of female empowerment. Passionate for developing purpose-driven brands, inspiring women, and destigmatizing self-care, Bassima calls upon her diverse professional experience to revolutionize the way we approach beauty and wellness from the inside out…because, as she can attest, the revolution begins WITHIN. Diagnosed with endometriosis and living with chronic back pain, and finding herself at odds with traditional healing methods, she turned to naturopathy…where her doctor (and now fellow co-founder) suggested she try ingesting collagen for gut healing and pain management. Bassima struggled to find a tasty way to do so…but also found this approach to be life-changing. And so, SkinTē was born: a “perfectionist formula made with collagen peptides, real brewed tea, super herbs, and fizz.” Ya know…a fun way to get your collagen, day-to-day.
An educator for over 20 years, Vatesha Bouler is a kindergarten teacher and (almost!) six-year breast cancer survivor. Diagnosed at a relatively young age, her experience pushed her to believe that life must be lived to the fullest — and she walks that walk every day in her advocacy work for others enduring similar experiences. A public speaker and author, she is one of the writers of Beyond Her Reflection, wherein she shares her healthcare story. A woman of faith, she also serves on the Cancer Support Ministry at her church, and has found continued love and support not only in her religious community, but also among friends and family who rallied to assist her in her healing.
Natalie Y. Beavers is an award-winning epilepsy survivor, advocate, and founder of the Angels Of Epilepsy Foundation, a non-profit organization that brings awareness, education, and community to epilepsy survivors and their families nationwide. Diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 5, a seizure while she was driving in 2006 caused a life-changing and tragic car accident. Natalie launched Angels of Epilepsy as a response to the community — to provide deeper support networks and fulfill needs: from transportation to medical IDs, among others. Because of her disorder, Natalie continues to experience short-term memory loss — a common side-effect of epilepsy. She created and published The Seizure Diary, which aids those experiencing seizures in tracking their episodes and being able to report back to medical professionals with greater detail and accuracy.
In May 2016, Kelly Cervantes transitioned from being the family’s primary bread-winner to a stay-at-home mom and full-time caregiver. Eventually, she found her voice and purpose with the non-profit Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), where she is currently a board member. Her daughter, Adelaide, passed away due to complications of an as-yet-still-unidentified neuro-degenerative disorder…5 days shy of her 4th birthday, and just weeks before Kelly was to receive a WEGO Health Award for her contributions to patient advocacy blogging for Inchstones. In a demonstration of incredible resilience, Kelly made a public promise to her daughter: even though Adelaide’s battle was over, she would continue to fight for families affected by medically complex disorders. By organizing fundraising campaigns, speaking at epilepsy events across the country, continuing her writing, and hosting CURE’s podcast Seizing Life, she makes sure Adelaide’s struggles were not in vain, and keeps hope alive for all the Adelaides to come. Her hope is that in publicly sharing her family’s journey with epilepsy and the real-life moments that come with parenting and grieving a special needs child, other parents in similar situations will learn that they are not alone.
Jeniece Dortch is a mom of six, her children ranging in age from 4-16 years. She has a passion for the special needs community that was born when her second-eldest son, Christian Garcia, was diagnosed with autism and epilepsy. She not only saw the need to advocate for these communities, but for the entire family unit (even those who are able-bodied) as inclusive members of the special needs community. With this idea in mind, she formed Special Needs Siblings, Inc. — a nonprofit committed to raising awareness, support, and resources for the siblings of disabled individuals. She is now a public speaker, writer, and blogger who fights for both the special needs and minority communities.