Our team of volunteers

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Our volunteers...

... have a variety of experiences with HSCT, with a range of different autoimmune diseases, who were treated at various clinics around the world.

Schedule a free, one-hour session with any of our Talk to a Warrior volunteers and gain insights through personal connections.

Click on our volunteer pictures and schedule a time to connect!

 

  

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Zarko Bilal

While in isolation during transplant, Zarko spent time DJ'ing on the internet to stay connected with family and friends back home in Toronto, Canada. He coordinated 5am sessions across the globe and enjoyed some coffee while playing music for his family and friends. 

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: May 2021
Moscow, Russia

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Vic Bonilla

Vic was diagnosed in 2019, pursued HSCT less than two years later, and already feels way better.

 

Interested to spread the word about HSCT and help remove the fiction of it, Vic is happy to share more about travel, transplant, returning and recovery at home, and so much more! 

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: October 12, 2020

Puebla, Mexico

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DeWayne Durr

DeWayne was the first patient at the Cleveland Clinic to receive HSCT to halt his MS. He has already experienced improvement in cognition, walking and balance, though he still has trouble with spasticity and numbness.

DeWayne will be glad to answer your questions and share his experience regarding nearly anything related to HSCT - from experience with the disease and early symptoms to qualifying for the BEAT-MS trial, through HSCT and more than a year of recovery. 

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: October 29, 2020
Cleveland, Ohio US

Advisory Board Member

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Ron Gabrielli

Ron feels so blessed by the love and support of so many on his journey, he is eager to pay it forward!  

Diagnosed in 2015, Ron has been fortunate to experience many symptomatic improvements post-HSCT. His MS is in remission, no longer requires MS drugs and will talk about any HSCT topic (for days on end, if you let him!)

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: May 6, 2017
Puebla, Mexico

 

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Rachel Gallery

Rachel wants to give back and be a sounding board for people who are interested in HSCT. Before HSCT she needed plasmapheresis 3 times a week and was almost bed-bound. Now she is fully mobile, has minimal neuropathy, and works full-time as a research scientist and professor of ecology. Her life after HSCT is.. a new start!

 

Rachel hopes to answer most questions and connect people with reliable information about HSCT to help them gain confidence in their decision, just as listening to the podcast helped her find confidence with her decision to pursue HSCT. 

AI: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy

HSCT: October 19, 2020
Denver, Colorado

Advisory Board Member

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Jan-Marie Morgan

The first 6 months post-HSCT were a total roller coaster, and a slow decline ended up being attributed to bulging discs on her spine wreaking havoc on mobility. She is now getting injections into the discs and getting stronger daily. She was so impressed with the whole process, she wants to scream it from the mountain tops!

She would be happy to share more about her experience with MS and early symptoms, researching and talking to your doctor about HSCT, choosing a location and traveling for HSCT, the treatment protocol in Mexico, returning home, recovery, and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: June 16, 2020
Monterrey, Mexico

Advisory Board Member

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Brent Morgan

Caregiver for his wife, Jan-Marie and part of the first cohort treated after the start of the COVID pandemic. Brent is glad to share his experience helping select a treatment location, visiting the clinic for treatment, travel and lodging tips, what to expect during harvest and transplant from the carer perspective, and more. 

In addition to serving as a Talk to a Warrior volunteer, Brent leads the monthly virtual Caregiver's Community. He is Canadian and a super fan of hockey and skiing!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis carer

HSCT: May 6, 2017
Puebla, Mexico

 

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Heidi Peterson

Heidi has had no new or enhanced lesions since HSCT, and loves connecting with and meeting people to share information that will help people make an informed decision about HSCT.

 

She is happy to share more about her experience with MS and early symptoms, treatments prior to HSCT, researching and talking to your doctor about HSCT, choosing a location and traveling for HSCT, returning home and recovery, and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: August 5, 2019
Monterrey, Mexico

 

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Charissa Rigano

Charissa was first diagnosed in 1995 and wants to help people interested in HSCT and debunk a lot of the myths around the treatment. 

She is happy to share more about her experience with disease and early symptoms, talking with your doctor about HSCT, choosing a location, what to expect for your first visit and scheduling treatment, insurance and paying for treatment, travel, and all aspects of the harvest, transplant, recovery at home and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: December 6, 2020
Puebla, Mexico

Advisory Board Member

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Lynn Rogers

Lynn was diagnosed in 2017 and believes that believe information is power; "the more we know, the best choices we can make for our health," she says. Lynn is a non-responder to HSCT, as her major symptoms returned within 3 months. However some symptoms have improved and she battles on!

Lynn is a scientist and an athlete and has been active with running, CrossFit, and Triathlon for decades. She continues to train and compete. Her science background is in Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience. She geeks out on the science of HSCT and is happy to talk through nearly any topic related to HSCT!

AI: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy

HSCT: October 2020
Monterrey, Mexico

Advisory Board Member

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Jen Stansbury Koenig

During her time through transplant, Jen preferred to surround herself with all things positive. The team at Northwestern contributed to the calm environment and even embraced her nickname, "zen Jen". As she listened to podcasts to pass the time while inpatient, Jen imagined that creating a podcast might help ease the minds of other HSCT 'hopefuls'... thanks to her close friends and several brave HSCT Warriors, the HSCT Warriors Podcast has become a resource for people worldwide. Out of the podcast, the nonprofit organization HSCT Warriors, Inc. was incorporated in 2019 and we remain ever grateful for the dedication of our volunteers!

Jen is happy to discuss nearly any aspect of HSCT with you, and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis

HSCT: October 18, 2017
Chicago, IL 

Advisory Board Member