Caring Ambassadors is raising awareness of hepatitis C to help de-stigmatize HCV+ patients, encourage the uptake of HCV screening and testing, and support those with known infection by sharing patient stories through NPR’s StoryCorps.
Please enjoy the stories we have collected so far. We will be adding more monthly so come back often!
Mary and Dr. Don Jensen
Mary’s story reflects on the importance of the patient-doctor relationship and its impact on health, empowerment and self-motivation. Mary is a TWICE cured patient – once when she was 16 years old and diagnosed with leukemia, receiving an experimental (and curative) procedure that would eventually give her hepatitis C; and second when she cured her hepatitis C, acquired through the experimental procedure that cured her of leukemia. Listen to Mary’s powerful story and why she chose to bring her physician, Dr. Don Jensen.
Dr. Alicia Suarez shares her journey from learning of her diagnosis at age 19 to accessing her cure at 40. This heartfelt story reflects Alicia’s personal journey towards disease acceptance, patient empowerment and advocacy. Hear Dr. Suarez’s perspectives as a professor, a wife, a mother, an advocate, a self-proclaimed “freak”, and a cured HCV patient. Alicia is fierce, bold, and honest.
Corinna is this country’s hepatitis Hero! Listen to her journey through life and how she became the face of hepatitis in our federal government.
Sarah and Laura
Listen to Sarah (left) talk to her friend, Laura (right) about her journey in tackling liver disease caused by hepatitis C. Sarah’s bravery, selflessness, kindheartedness and determination will warm your heart. Thank you, Sarah and Laura, for sharing your friendship, wit, time and story with us!
Randy and Kim
Randy is the co-founder of the Caring Ambassadors Program. Randy and his wife, Kim, discuss their journey from Randy being diagnosed with hepatitis C to his cure.
Kaisa shares her story of immigration, the difficulties adjusting to American life, and how this contributed to her eventual drug use and acquisition of HCV. Kaisa learned she had hepatitis C infection while incarcerated and she shares her inspirational story of recovery, cure and motherhood.
Bea shares her story of growing up in a small town and exploring her ‘hippie’ side during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Bea takes us through her adventures with drug addiction, recovery, marriage, motherhood, spirituality, and obtaining an HCV cure. We hear her perspective on the impact of silence and stigma on HCV and addiction.
Lucinda, a nurse, an advocate, an author, a patient and a brilliant storyteller shares her journey in a heartfelt and honest manner. Gather the nuggets of insight and wisdom she shares through her life through hepatitis c, mental illness, unrelenting advocacy and her beautiful relationship with Alan Franciscus.
Alan, a nationally renowned trainer, executive director, and editor-in-chief of HCV Advocate shares his story led by his friend and fellow advocate, Lucinda Porter about his journey. You will learn about Alan and the stories he holds of the countless patients, educators, and advocates about stigma, discrimination and triumph.
Lindy shares her story of ups and downs, from a student at the top of her class, to obtaining her medical degree, to battling with addiction, liver failure, and near-death experiences. Lindy, now an addiction professional, talks about her possible exposure to HCV and her process of liver regeneration.
Kathy & Peter McLoyd
Kathy and Peter so beautifully share their story, painting us a picture of true love, commitment and powerful partnership. Listen as Peter reflects on living with both HIV and HCV; the impact of stigma; the benefits of being married to a nurse; and the power of a loving, nurturing partnership on health, spirit and wellbeing! Kathy and Peter, you are a powerful couple demonstrating true love, commitment and communication – thank you!
Listen to the story of old friends who just met. Maggie and Jill talk about how Maggie contracted HCV, likely on her first day alive, and didn’t know until she was 33! Maggie talks about moving from a disempowered patient to an empowered self-advocate who fought her battle towards gaining access to medications and a cure. Listen to this friendship unfold
Dan and Sharon
Dan and Sharon tell their story, as a loving couple, of how far they have come in their relationship. Dan received a liver transplant on February 2, 2015 and tells his story not quite two months post-transplant. You will feel the love between this couple and understand the power of gratitude.
Dr. Navin Vij reflects his heartwarming, insightful and unique story from the perspective of ‘physician as patient’. Born at only 29 weeks, and with his beloved mother right by his side, Navin’s first few weeks of life were full of life-saving procedures. Two plus decades later, as the result of a job-related needle-stick injury, Navin, a then resident physician, learned he had chronic hepatitis C. Listen to his beautiful storytelling style and feel the potential of a cured, hopeful, ambitious and young medical professional looking to change the face of hepatitis C.
Michael and Kim
Illinois State Representative Michael McAuliffe and Kim Morreale McAuliffe – Kim lost her father to liver cancer directly related to undiagnosed – or late diagnosis – of HCV. Just over a year after Kim’s father passed, Michael’s uncle passed of advanced liver disease caused by HCV. This sparked a Governor appointed Illinois HCV task force. They share a heartfelt story of loss, advocacy, and tenacity!
Gene shares his story of living with HCV, the experience of being on a liver transplant list, and his process of obtaining a new liver. Gene discusses the impact of living with HCV on his wife and daughter, and honestly captures the experience of stigma that those with HCV may experience.
Dr. Toyin Adeyemi shares her heartfelt story of being a mother, a doctor, an activist, and an African woman in Chicago. Toyin talks about her interest in the human interaction portion of her job at Cook County Health and Hospitals System’s Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, a center of excellence for the treatment of infectious diseases. Listen to her views on gender, treatment and the future of HCV.
Jenny shares her beautifully raw story of losing her mother to liver cancer caused by HCV. There are multiple moments that will send chills through your body, including when Jenny talks of her last moments with her mother and what she will take with her as she approaches her own experience of motherhood.
Andrea shares her story of losing her sister, Adrian, to liver cancer when she was just 15. Since then Andrea has formed one of the only non-profits dedicated to liver cancer in the US.