Announcing the 2022 Patient Heroes

Ordinary people can become extraordinary in their journey through life — and this has never been truer than it is today. Look around and you’ll see that there are everyday heroes living among us. That’s why this Vasculitis Awareness Month, the VF will be highlighting a few of the many everyday heroes from our vasculitis community during our first-ever Patient Heroes project.

Earlier this year, we asked for patient hero nominations from the vasculitis community and we were overwhelmed with the number of people whose names were submitted. Judges from outside the vasculitis community chose 11 of the nominees’ personal stories that will be told through collectible baseball-type trading cards that will be used to increase awareness throughout the greater vasculitis community.

View our 2021 Patient Heroes

Patient Hero Stories: The Top 11

Ordinary People – Everyday Heroes. When faced with a diagnosis, the road ahead may look scary. But that’s when our patients with vasculitis tap into their superpowers of strength, hope and resilience. Here are a few of the many stories from our everyday heroes whose positive attitude and determination to fight back against the disease is extraordinarily inspiring.

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Spencer Ableman

Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) • 2021

“For every dark night, there’s a brighter day.”

— Tupac Shakur

 

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2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Michael Agathis

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) • 2013

“Strength comes from true belief and faith in God and the strength to live from my wife and daughters.”

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Dale Barker

Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA) • 2019

“Just do the next thing that’s put before you.”

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Kai Austin

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) • 2016

“Your best is yet to come.”

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Kimberly Boissonneault

Behcet’s Disease • 2020

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on-it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Mitchell Horowitz

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) • 2021

“You gather the best information you can, then make the best decision you can, based on that information. Then don’t look back, you can’t change anything.”

— Mitch Horowitz

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Brandon Hudgins

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) • 2008

“The only true form of help is self help. You have to be willing to do the work to get help. If you don’t make that decision you’ll never get the help you need.”

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Ann Marie Niziolek

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) • 2015

“God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow or sunshine without rain.  But He did promise strength for the day and light for the way.”

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Sandy Nye

Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) • 2014

  • Be positive
  • Advocate for your care
  • Connect with other Vasculitis patients
  • Practice Mindfulness
  • Laugh
  • Ask questions
  • Keep a medical journal
  • Remember your medication
  • Join and/or donate to the Vasculitis Foundation
  • Smile

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

Abigail Quinn

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) • 2021

“I put my armor on, show you how strong how I am

I put my armor on, I’ll show you that I am

I’m unstoppable”

— Sia in the song “Unstoppable”

2022 VF PATIENT HERO

John Stadler

Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) • 2017

“In 2017 I was diagnosed with MPA that would change my life forever. While my life changed, I learned over time to adapt and adjust to my new reality learning how to live with and thrive with Vasculitis.”

Hero to Patient Stories

2022 VF HERO TO PATIENT

Introduction

Joyce Kullman • Executive Director

2022 VF HERO TO PATIENT

Ed Becker

VF Media Producer • 2002 – Present

“Friend and champion to patients around the world.”

2022 VF HERO TO PATIENT

Shannon Morgan

VF Patient Support Coordinator • 2002 – Present

“Compassionate and caring. Always willing to help anyone, anytime.”

2022 VF HERO TO PATIENT

Jennifer Price

VF Financial Coordinator • 2006 – Present

“Over the last 16 years, Jennifer has shown a high level of integrity, a keen attention to detail, and a commitment to the accuracy of the organization’s finances which have helped the organization achieve its mission efficiently and effectively.”

2022 VF HERO TO PATIENT

Dianne Shaw

Past VPPRN Co-Principal Investigator

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) • 1995

“A human dynamo constantly working to advance research and improve patients’ lives. Also, the best joke teller ever!”

Patient Hero Stories: Honorable Mention

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes — some don’t even wear capes at all — but what they all have in common is a certain bravery and willingness to help others. Their end-goal is not just to overcome their disease but to make a difference in their community. This type of thinking is what gives people hope. Join us in celebrating all of the heroes in our lives.

Darlene_Almeida_TAK_2019

Darlene Almeida

Takayasu’s Arteritis – 2019

Isabel_Ramirez_Bolanos_MPA_2020(03)

Isabel Ramirez-Bolaños

Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) – 2020

No photo available

Jessica Alana Cohen

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) – 2001

Marissa_Garrett_MPA_2021

Marissa Garrett

Microscopic Polyangiitis (MPA) – 2021

No photo available

Clea Harzigeorgiou

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), ANCA+ – 2018

Don Houghton_RunnerUp

Donald Houghton

Polyarteritis Nodosa – 2003

No photo available

Victoria Lueddeke

Cutaneous Polyarteritis nodosa (CPAN) – 2010

Kylie_Miller_TAK_2020

Kylie Miller

Takayasu Arteritis – 2020

Ivan_Petrov_GPA_2005

Ivan Petrov

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) – 2005

Muhammad_Umar_GPA_2021

Muhammad Umar

Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) – 2021

Thank you to our Patient Heroes sponsors!