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Community Advocates

In order to stay up to date on the best recipes, latest treatments, drug discovery, clinical studies and how to manage Ankylosing Spondylitis everyday brings you frequent articles, blogs, points of view and advice from leading patient advocates and professional medical experts.

Current advocates

Brooke Abbott

In 2008, Brooke was diagnosed with Left-sided Ulcerative Colitis. Though it was a mild case at diagnosis, the disease rapidly advanced over a period of 4 years. In April 2012, Brooke was given a total colectomy after spending weeks in the hospital fighting a losing battle with her diseased colon. Read more.

Lisa Marie Basile

Lisa Marie Basile was officially diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondyltiis in 2017 after living with nearly a decade’s worth of symptoms. She has attended the NASS meetups in NYC, and is an advocate for many people with AS through her writing and social media presence @lisamariebasile. Read more.

Steff Di Pardo

Steff is a 23-year-old living in Toronto, Ontario. In February of 2017, she started showing symptoms of AS in her lower back and hips, shooting down her right leg. She began going to numerous doctor’s appointments and physiotherapy twice a week. No one could determine what was going on, and eventually, she had to leave work due to the amount of pain she was in. Read more.

Amy Dolan

Amy has developed her love for yoga and her expertise in physical therapy for over 20 years. She graduated from Ithaca College and has gone on to work with people across many ways of life in Texas, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As a physical therapist and registered yoga teacher, her approach to wellness centers on the innate wisdom within each person. Read more.

Jed Finely

Jed Finley was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis at the age of 12 during a time when children of that age were not prescribed medications and the amazing treatments we have today hadn’t been invented yet. Because of this, he mostly forgot about his diagnosis and remained active until his early 20s when the disease became too much and he needed to stop the sports and activities he loved. Read more.

Dawn Gibson

Dawn Gibson has lived with Ankylosing Spondylitis since 2001. She entered health advocacy by joining Twitter in 2011. In the intervening years she immersed herself in Spoonie Twitter, founding Spoonie Chat in 2013 and growing it into a thriving community of mutual support, friendship, and solidarity for patients. Read more.

Alastair Goodwin

Alastair, originally from New Zealand, is currently living in Copenhagen with his partner. He was diagnosed with AS two years ago after living with the symptoms of the disease for 10 years. Read more.

Karen Heath

I am a nurse of 25 years. I have primarily worked in neurosurgery for most of my career. And I absolutely love being a nurse and being a patient advocate. My biggest fear is that people/patient’s don’t know what and who is out there to help them. Read more.

Charis Hill

Charis is an award-winning queer disabled chronic disease advocate, writer, speaker and model living with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Read more.

Nira Hyman

Nira A. Hyman is a published essayist. She’s a lifelong writer with a BA in English from Yale University. She’s committed to spreading AS awareness and advocating for people of color in medicine. When not writing or copyediting, she’s unwinding her own symptoms and learning to thrive despite the pain. Read more.

Erin King

Erin currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts with her husband and their two rescue dogs, and was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis at the age of 25. She attended Boston University, where she was a member of the Women’s Rugby Team. It was during this time that she first started experiencing severe pains in her hips, and no one could seem to figure out what was causing them. Read more.

Auldyn Matthews-McGee

Auldyn is the caregiver of her husband, Keegan, who was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2014. Auldyn’s always known Keegan with pain, even when they started dating over 10 years ago. Over these years they’ve navigated doctors, surgeries, and treatments to define a new normal for their family. Read more.

Keegan Matthews-McGee

Keegan Matthews-McGee is a stay at home dad, living in Philadelphia with his wonderful wife Auldyn and daughter Kaya. Read more.

Fiona Olegasagarem

Fiona lives in London with her partner Kev, and is still waiting to get a dog. She grew up in Sydney, and moved to London in 2010, and a couple of years in, abandoned journalism in favour of pursuing a career in acting and musical theatre. Read more.

Cassie Pelton

Cassia Pelton was 18 years old when she first started experiencing sharp pains in her sacroiliac joints. She went from being a healthy varsity figure skater and university student, to being unable to walk or even sit up in bed. After visiting sports doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and the ER, she was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis at the age of 19. Read more.

Lawrence “Rick” Phillips

Lawrence ‘rick’ has spent over 30 years in local government and local school district administration in Indiana. He has at various times, been a Director of Finance, City Controller, Personnel Director, Development Director and all-around computer guy (that position lasted one year). He grew up and lives in central Indiana with his wife Sheryl of more than 40 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren. Rick was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1974 and RA in 2000. He was also diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2015. Rick has used six biologic medications and has had several surgeries related to RA. Read more.

Jayson Sacco

Jayson Sacco was diagnosed at age 14 with Ankylosing Spondylitis. This was before internet or any of the extensive knowledge or medications available now. Through the years due to AS, he has had multiple Iritis flares, bilateral hip replacement, a fused lower back and neck. Read more.

TK Sellman

TK Sellman, RPSGT CCSH is a career journalist (Columbia Chicago, ’90). She was diagnosed with idiopathic hypersomnia in 2010, which inspired her to go back to school to become a sleep technologist in 2012 and a professional sleep educator in 2014. Read more.

Regular contributors and moderators at are offered compensation for their contributions to the community. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us at [email protected].