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Being multifaceted in your professional and personal life AND having balance for both, especially in today’s world where you want to be your authentic self but virtually connect. And our special guest is an absolute boss when it comes to creating your lane in every aspect that fuels your fire, it’s the incredible chronic illness activist, content creator, editor, writer, model and all-around boss woman, Devri Velázquez! In 2011, Devri was diagnosed with a rare disease called Takayasu’s arteritis and she used her talents of writing and advocacy work to create a professional resume that rivals many for its diversity and skill. With her unique platform empowering others to create positive changes across communities of gender, race and identity, Devri has written for brands like Allure and and been a panelist of health summits. Now with over 96k followers, Devri is the queen of sharing how writing and visuals can empower women to focus on their individual wellness, activism in daily life, and inner powers. In this episode, Devri and Dominique fire off some quick takes about Devri’s favorite things like her favorite TikTok trend, how she starts and ends her day with two of the COOLEST things in her routine, and a guilty pleasure she has not shame sharing. Then the duo dives deep and gets real breaking the glass ceiling on misconceptions the diverse chronic illness/disability community deals with—like how to navigate social media while touching on topics of racial and gender inequality, and ways to be a person that advocates for MANY communities because that makes you a passionate badass. Allyship becomes a major chatting point as Devri mentions not only the starting points you can add to be an ally for underrepresented communities, but also how to amplify voices of those in communities like the BIPOC and AAPI communities, because as Dominique points out, being proactive and reactive are two different ways of advocating for change but two very needed styles of allyship! STORY TIME for our Intermission Segment gets a bit spooky and sentimental as Devri tells us about how her love of horror stories resulted in her creating a childhood side hustle that led her down the path as a professional writer today. Get your notepad ready for the second half of the episode because Devri and Dominique create the guidebook of how to be an entrepreneur and be a successful one as your creator and manager, every tip to make your social media a focal point like writing that best caption or taking that perfect photo, and lots of advice of how to create wellness and boundaries to protect your mind and health. Probably the best advice comes from our super uplifting conversation at the end of the episode when Devri mentions how to respond to those social hot button questions about things like racial ignorance, gender inequality and ableism and how to boost your confidence to NEVER be silence when you feel fearful of ‘saying the wrong thing.’ They even talk about how ignorance isn’t a bad word because that means you can STILL grow and learn from what you don’t know. And Devri’s BEST piece of advice is so empowering, so powerful, you will want to stick to the end of the episode. Please like, comment, subscribe and share this episode, follow Devri @devrivelazquez, and support InvisiYouth Charity by donating, following and joining our programs and community @invisiyouth!
Being just as elegant and passionate on the dance floor as she is in her philanthropy and activism, our video podcast guest is an unbelievable talent. Founder of the UK nonprofit Project Parent, wheelchair ballerina, model and disability activist, Kate Stanforth. Living with ME and other chronic illnesses, Kate had to adapt to make her life accessible, especially when she began needing a wheelchair. Her chronic illness journey helped her create Project Parent in 2014, delivering over 1,500 holiday gifts to parents with children in hospital. And this year, she launched Kate Stanforth Academy of Dance by fusing her past experience as a classical dancer and now teaching wheelchair dance with inclusive classes and its first set of classes SOLD OUT. In this episode, Dominique and Kate give their hot takes on hot button topics like TikTok and the social media like buttons in our “Life Tinder Challenge” segment, and you’ll be surprised at some of their answers. And the ladies dive deep into their conversation on philanthropy, getting into volunteering, and what makes running a nonprofit so different from a business. They have ideas of boosting your virtual volunteer opportunities and how your hobbies can be a key to fundraising for many nonprofits like Project Parent and InvisiYouth. We get to our intermission, halfway point of the podcast when Kate tells a life story that’s about two things: Kate’s loveable assistance dog Spencer and his fascination with walking up to a particular group of people when they got out. And in the second half of the episode, Kate talks about dance, wheelchair dance styles, how she was able to take a passion “pre-chronic illness life” of dancing and bring it full circle AND adapt it to fit into her new way of life. We get major details about why we all can use a bit of dance in our lives, and how using virtual connection can get up out of our comfort zones to try new things. Plus, our final segment of this episode is a masterclass on activism, fighting off haters, tackling disability hate and the ways you can get support for those negative situations and comments, and the top two things Kate and Dominique suggest you do to build more independence in your life when you need support. This is the BEST piece of advice for our older youth, so take note! Please like, comment, subscribe and share this episode, follow Kate @katestanforth, her nonprofit @projectparent and her dance academy @katestanforthdance to get access to her amazing work, thank you to our charitable sponsor Tandem Podcasts for partnering for this episode, and please support InvisiYouth Charity by donating, following and joining our programs and community @invisiyouth!
As we start Season 3B, we’re kicking off our monthly video podcast series with one of the chronic illness/disability community’s favorite rising stars on social media, it’s the creator and graphic designer behind the popular brand @thisthingtheycallrecovery, Jenny McGibbon. Based in Scotland, Jenny used her diverse health experience being born with gastroschisis and short bowel syndrome along with M.E. to connect her love of art with her desire to make the medical space connect better with young people like her. Now, Jenny’s brand, This Thing They Call Recovery has graphics being translated into 50 language in 90 countries, talk about taking on the world one creative graphic design at a time! In this episode, Dominique and Jenny talk about how chronic illness makes you pick practical superhero powers and why Jenny’s latest binge-watch TV show was a completely unique answer, chat about the role that are and design played in her health journey and why @thisthingtheycallrecovery was a happy accident that created her self-employed graphic designer career. The ladies dive deep into how you can stay private and be part of the chronic illness community online, and why you gotta water that curiosity to divide your life and personal activism. And Jenny explains why art, graphics and captions let you communicate with others, gain support and advice all while not sharing every bit of her journey. We stan good tips on how to respond to those comments (in life and in DMs) when people don’t agree with your choices and chronic illness/disability POVs and these ladies give MAJOR tips! Intermission Story Time is epic because who knew that dogs were the most adaptive furry best friends—and we might want to adapt Jenny’s dog as an InvisiYouth mascot after her story! Dive right into the second half of the episode as Dominique and Jenny talk about all the behind the scenes goodies of some of Jenny’s viral graphic designs and how they were created. Plus, we end this podcast episode with the best toolkit to get all your work-from-home and graphic designer needs met! Jenny and Dominique talk about graphic designing software, how to make captions, what you can do to make your workstation anywhere in your home automatically improve your mood and productivity, and why they both love a power hour! Please like, comment, subscribe and share this episode, follow Jenny @thisthingtheycallrecovery and her graphic design brand, and support InvisiYouth Charity by donating, following and joining our programs and community @invisiyouth! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Ending 2020 with motivation, self-love, and excitement for the year ahead? Yes, please! And there is no one better suited to empowering you to seek greatness and improve your fitness than our special guest, Ultra-Endurance athlete, cystic fibrosis activist and online fitness coach, Sophie Grace Holmes. Living with CF since she was four months old, Sophie has been told all about what might be limitations she’ll experience in life, but that only ignited Sophie to create a life for herself where she’s pushing beyond limits. Sophie’s competitive and athletic nature carved a lane for herself in the fitness community, now having climbed Kilimanjaro, competed in Iron Man competitions, created her own online fitness coaching business and fitness app. In this episode, Dominique and Sophie, get to know Sophie’s life highlights in our segment “Illest Superlatives” like her love of being part of the Under Armor team and her funniest quarantine fitness memory being when her marine neighbor surprised her during her IG Live fitness class. And you better get ready for Sophie’s motivational chat all about the ways she strengthens her fitness, both physically and mentally, every day. We chat all about “workout anxiety” and ways you can combat your nerves, how recognizing mental blocks is the first step in defeating them, and how your chronic illness/disability should never be viewed as a hinderance but rather part of the way you can achieve goals. Life Tip: if you seek adventure in even the little daily tasks like getting ready in the morning and answering an email, your lens for life is infinitely positive and more successful. Story time with Sophie is as epic as our guest because she talks about the life-changing experience raising money for cystic fibrosis by paddle boarding to the Bahamas—and there may be some friendly sharks and a missing passport along the way. Plus, you gotta stick around for the second half of the podcast because Sophie and Dominique drop some SERIOUS TIPS for your life and improved fitness. Sophie rapid fires must-have items to get you active and reaping all the benefits of fitness in our “What’s Your Life Playlist” segment like her must-have inexpensive fitness gear, starter workouts that are safe and adaptive, her healthier snack ideas for all of us now working from home, AND all the great things you can get from Sophie’s fitness app like downloadable workouts and grocery list ideas. We end this episode with expert Sophie answering our fitness questions that any person would want answers. She’s explaining how to element disappointment as a reaction from not reaching our goals both in workouts and daily life, how failure and achievement are two things she equally loves happening because you grow from both, the reason you can benefit from trialing different activities to see what you enjoy, how an added minute each day will boost your fitness AND mood, and Sophie’s top three things she recommends you do each day for a bit more motivation and joy leading into 2021…and they are so easy to add TODAY. Talk about seeking challenges in everyday life, and we know this podcast is packed with so much energy, you’ll enjoy every minute. Please like, comment, subscribe and share this episode, follow Sophie @sophiegraceholmes and her app, and support InvisiYouth Charity by donating, following and joining our programs and community @invisiyouth! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Hiatus no longer! After eight long months of no new video podcast episodes, we are FINALLY back with a new InvisiYouth Chat Sessions, and host Dominique is so hyped up to be back! We don’t need yet another reminder of the chaos from this COVID19 pandemic, so we are not gonna bring any more stress into your lives and chat about that on our podcast. Instead, we are going to do what we do best at InvisiYouth: bring you laughs, motivation and lifestyle tips so you can kickass at life, even during challenging times like these. Our first guest is a familiar face to our InvisiYouth Charity family because she was also part of our miniseries from our video podcasting hiatus over on our IG Live, InvisiYouth’s Quarantine Coffee Break, it’s the founder of wellness brand and podcast, Plenty and Well, Nat Kelley. With a powerful social media following, Nat has been able to connect with other young women in the chronic illness space from her experience living with ulcerative colitis. Now, she’s created coaching programs for areas of life like wellness and business, so we know Nat’s savviness and bubbly personality make for the best jump back in our podcast series! In this episode, Dominique and Nat get to know each other in our speed round of ‘Remember the Last Tim’” as Nat explains her last TV series she’s streamed, last meal she’d give a five-star rating, and who she’d fill her table at a last supper (and it’s a pretty big guest list). Plus, these two powerhouse boss ladies get chatting all about breaking downs those glass ceilings the chronic illness/disability community faces when try to reach their potential and manage health struggles. The ladies give advice to combat Imposter Syndrome, talk stories of when they’ve needed to give themselves their own pep talks, and some useful tips on how to fight those voices or opinions that make you doubt yourself. And our Intermission is one of the most relatable and entertaining ever as Nat tells Dominique a story about an experience from dating when she was newly diagnosed. Trust us, this is a story time you don’t want to miss because they get super real about hair loss, dating during university, and getting an awkward text after a date. In the second half of our video podcast episode, Nat and Dominique dish out some MAJOR tools in our segment ‘Health Hack Moments’ when talking about their hacks for balancing health, life and trying to bring some joy and success into our crazy lives. The explain how it’s important to express your worries and thoughts—even if not to a friend, family member or therapist and it’s to a journal or an empty room—and Nat explains some of her health hacks that the reminds to her clients that give her balance like journaling, meditation and even having a good ‘cry moment’ before you try to regroup positivity thinking. And make sure you stay to the end of this episode because Nat and Dominique are dishing out SO MUCH GOOD LIFE ADVICE that’ll make you a boss that’s happy and successful AND chronically ill/disabled. They chat about ways to steer away from feeling like you need to ‘fix your illness’ before achieving goals, and how accepting your diagnosis isn’t stagnancy. Dominique and Nat give out TEN things to add into your toolkit to boost your mood in an instant DAILY. Plus, Nat—a queen of IG content—shares her tips on how to be authentic on social media about your highs and lows (because everyone learns and grows through life, even the coaches and founders like Nat and Dominique) while also maintaining privacy you want. There’s no better way to get into the end of 2020 than listening or watching this video podcast episode because it starts AND ends with reminders of how YOU can live life with chronic illness/disability can be just as joyful, fulfilling and successful as anyone around you. Please like, comment, subscribe and share this episode, follow Nat @plentyandwellwithnat, and support InvisiYouth Charity by donating, following and joining our programs and community @invisiyouth! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Sometimes you make fast friends with people. That’s exactly what happened when founder Dominique was first introduced (via Twitter, obviously) to our very special guest on this episode, British chronic illness and lifestyle blogger, founder of Spoonie Survival Kits, author and freelance writer, Pippa Stacey. It’s no exaggeration when we say Pippa is a fan favorite among the chronic illness community, really giving practical yet humorous advice on life with health struggles. This is a young woman that has created a fundraising social enterprise company, developed a freelancing career and being awarded for her successful blog which is gaining a quarter MILLION impressions per month…and she’s not even 30 years old! Getting to unite Dominique and Pippa in one episode is like having an explosion of girl boss flare, sassy chronic illness humor, and activist creativity all while showing how they’ve redefined what success looks like. On this episode, Dominique and Pippa dive deep into their pop culture favorites from must read books like @mindfullyevie, why Pippa would immediately book a train to see Six Musical on the West End, and all the reasons Dominique raves about inclusive and accurate casting on TV series like This is Us with Blake Stadnik and Skam France’s glorious Season 5 with Winona Guyon and Lucas Wild, and lead Robin Migné for deaf culture and ableism discussion. Pippa also lays out all different ways she homed in on her craft of writing and improved so her hobby had the ability to become a career path, and listed how volunteering or school opportunities allowed her to figure out her interests that fit with her health needs. Plus, we give you the top tips and reasons to do the best professional DM slides that will absolutely give you the resume glow-up you’ll need to be mentored, get work experience and take the steps to be empowered to create an authentic career. There’s even some insider tips on how to find jobs that are flexible, virtual and remote so it will cater well to your chronic illness/disability needs. And our Intermission Story Time is EVERYTHING as Pippa tells the story about her quite literal crash entrance at the largest disability expo in the UK, Naidex. packs a punch as Dominique and Pippa delve into the topic of Pippa’s TEDxTalk, redefining success as someone with chronic illness/disability. We learn how to generate financial and personal success and chat about a few options young people can take in order to garner some employment success, and the advice on how to talk about your work and personal life with your inner circle when it may be hard for them to understand you can be “chronically ill AND happy.” And it wouldn’t be right to bring Pippa on the video podcast unless we had an entire segment dedicated to her masterful skills on social media. You want to TAKE NOTES on this as these ladies lay out gems of how to blend personal life posts with some activism flare in the captions, why Pippa likes to hold her projects secret until she can reveal major news that’s louder than bombs like her book release, the best examples of how to handle those negative and passive aggressive comment sections—like our 48-hour rule—and Dominique explains why we’re a champion of subtle activism on social media where we take the “Easter egg approach” to engage more people in advocacy while making your platform positively matter. There is not one minute of this video podcast episode that will not entertain you, build up your confidence, or instill some life tips that will put you on the best path for your future! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Nothing feels better during the start of the January winter than daydreaming about those ideal vacation getaways we want to plan. All those warm, tropical destinations we’d love to escape to during these winter months. But let’s be real…planning a vacation or trip when you have a chronic illness or disability can be quite complicated. We want to make holidays fun and spontaneous again, so we enlisted the help of someone who’s an expert in travel with a chronic illness, Carrie-Ann Lightley. As a disability travel blogger, Carrie-Ann has sent over 15 years learning how to best survey and examine hotels, venues, transportation and vacation destinations to suit those with disabilities or chronic illness from her experience living with cerebral palsy. And now she’s the Marketing Manager for the UK’s leading virtual accessibility guide AccessAble which provides detailed information about all things travel through their trained surveyors. So, no better person than Carrie-Ann to bring on the Season Three opener and give us all the traveler advice and holiday tips so we can put the fun back in our vacation and travel life—no matter how long your trip may be. In this episode, Carrie-Ann and Dominique chat about their top three countries on their traveler’s list (which ALL three are identical!), and how Carrie-Ann answer to ‘what was your childhood dream job?’ was probably one of the best answers we’ve ever had on the podcast, examine what the top questions someone should think of when picking their holiday destinations or researching about whether hotels, venues or restaurants are accessible, and talk openly about why it’s pivotal those of us with chronic illness/disability chat with our travel companions (family, friends, partners, etc) BEFORE any trip about how they can be helpful in certain scenarios so no one’s making major decisions under pressure. And our intermission story time is filled with major laughs as Carrie-Ann tells us a story that involves a vacation to Spain, her husband, an ocean view and an unfortunate encounter with a light pole—trust us, it’s unlike any story we’ve heard before and Dominique lives for a good surprise ending! Plus, we bring back our new segment of Top Search and bring on the dialogue about what are the top searched questions people are asking when deciding on travelling, top questions they search when considering whether locations or venues are accessible to their medical needs, the top questions we should be asking hotels if we need assistance, and the top hashtags to search on social media when checking out holiday spots. And the end of our episode is JAM-PACKED with facts and tips our guests should take some major notes on because Carrie-Ann and Dominique give the best advice for when you travel on the small day outing, the weekend trip and the long vacation holiday, the best tips for packing—especially if you have medical needs to pack with you too—efficiently for a trip, and the guidebook to scheduling activities into your holidays so they’re medically tangible yet spontaneous too, so it’s fun and stress-free for everyone involved! Carrie-Ann even brings up some surprising statistics that prove why it’s not just ideal to make your venue accessible for guests, but it’s also a major avenue of revenue to bring in many more guests if they can use the facility and enjoy their holidays there. Venues, hotels and holiday destinations should become more inclusive, it’s a fact, and it just makes sense. You will be booking your next holiday with so much excitement after you check out this episode! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Challenge the exclusion so many with chronic illness/disability face and reshape everyone’s perception (including your own person mindset). That’s what has driven the ultimate female founder warrior, Tiffany Yu. After a car accident as a child resulted in her personal experience living with brachial plexus palsy (nerve damage in her right arm), Tiffany had to grow up within the framework of others’ opinions on her disability. And as she found her voice, and realized the stereotypes society has thrust upon her solely because of her disability, Tiffany became motivated to challenge these barriers. Diversability is a social enterprise that works to rebrand disability through the power of community, storytelling, and working with the non-disabled community to show ways inclusivity is a successful choice to make. Along with Diversability, Tiffany has used her stellar social media platform to also become a public speaker, founder of Awesome Foundation Disability Chapter which awards micro-grants to disability projects, and this year winning California Miss Amazing Queen to use her platform for women/girls with disabilities. Talk about having disability royalty on InvisiYouth Chat Sessions podcast! This episode, Dominique and Tiffany list off lots of Tiffany’s lasts—like the last Instagram follow, public speaking event, and home cooked meal (but Tiffany jokes she’ll focus more about being home than her cooking skills), break all the pillars down that hold up our chronic illness/disability “glass ceiling,” give tips to silence the “inner monologue hater” that makes us self-conscious of our chronic illness/disability, remind everyone that success and joy are NOT exclusive to healthy/non-disabled people, and gets super real on why perpetuating the negative stigmas on chronic illness/disability need to be dissolved on two levels—our personal journey and how the media/brands see it. When we get to our intermission story time, it’s about to get super freaking because we discover not only the story behind Tiffany’s stunning split artwork that embodies how Tiffany “embraces the elephant in the room” that is her disability, but also how BOTH Dominique and Tiffany have carry images of a little girl hugging an elephant. How super kismet is that! And the second half this episode is even better than the first! Dominique and Tiffany discuss how leading life with vulnerability breathes strength on the daily, encourage the power of DMs to all those activist idols you follow, talk about the power of language, advise us ways to erase the plague of being a burden from our mindsets so we can embrace the power of YES, talk how-to’s when it comes to needing help when you’re an introvert that has a chronic illness/disability, ways our healthy/non-disabled counterparts can ask questions about our health struggles while being okay with us saying NO, establish the winning strategy of ally-ship which is a pillar for both Diversability and InvisiYouth as they demand the outside chronic illness/disability community be at the table when discussing accessibility and accurate representation, and create a guidebook on feeling comfortable discussing disability between friends and public or guide to feeling confident in our own skin. Tiffany is proof that we must liberate ourselves from the false perceptions of chronic illness/disability, and that diversity is always a strength. Want that self-growth and conversation-opener…listen to this podcast! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Reunited and it is truly video podcast ear candy! We are bringing back one of our favorite guests from Season One, and a dear friend of Dominique’s to the Chat Sessions and they have upped their game to make this a highlight episode yet again! We are talking about philanthropist, award-winning children’s book author, executive producer and cystic fibrosis activist Travis Flores! 2019 has been a year of many major life moments for Travis. It’s the 15th anniversary of his children’s book, he’s featured in Season Four of The CW’s MY LAST DAYS (created by Jane the Virgin actor and Five Feet Apart director Justin Baldoni), opened up about his coming out story and amazing husband, and now, Travis has been so open about his fight for a life-saving third double lung transplant. Travis’ super empowered and super honest way of life impacts so many of his fans, the #YellowHeartSquad, and we’re honored to call him a friend and supporter of InvisiYouth. In this episode, Dominique and Travis catch up on all that they’ve had going on this year and how Travis’ episode on MY LAST DAYS led to a viral outpouring of love for his love and life story, examine the stereotypes around masculinity and chronic illness and discuss why it seems there’s such a struggle for the public to identify strength within those that have chronic illnesses, develop tactics to staying authentic when you’re sharing your story—whether on social media or when you’re talking with family and friends, throw down some amazing reasons why they believe vulnerability and strength are synonymous, and give ways we can all slowly become more confident in our lives that include our chronic illness/disability. Plus, Travis tells a story for the first time on camera that gets Dominique laughing so hard. Spoiler: it is a story from Travis’ teen years at a children’s hospital which includes nighttime strolls and morgues…but trust us when we say it’s definitely a part of the episode you don’t want to miss. In the second half of the episode, Travis and Dominique are developing a path to self-empowerment that includes the ways we can rewire that inner monologue of self-doubt when we think our health limits any goal, try to understand why people feel afraid to talk about chronic illness with any sort of joy, humor and power (and why there’s an assumption that chronic illness can only be shown in a melancholy light), suggest ways young people can build a life for themselves within their chronic illness/disability and build relationships with friends/colleagues that become your allies for success, talk candidly about the politically correct—or PC culture—of how media and even our inner circle are scared to discuss youth and chronic illness/disability together, and how that fear of saying the wrong thing actually makes our community more invisible than it needs to be, and talk about what Dominique and Travis feel are the best ways to feel fulfilled during our health setbacks and disassociate weakness from our self-description. These friends bring together a podcast episode jam-packed with major moments of power, moments of laughter, moments of reflection, moments of hones advice, and moments of joy. This is an episode anyone can relate to because it will feel like you’re sitting down with two that are super grateful to fight for all their tomorrows while appreciating the now. See for privacy and opt-out information.
#RelationshipGoals! We see that hashtag on social media and we get to see those love-fest posts about all that bonds two people together. But as someone in the chronic illness/disability community, these happy posts can bring about a lot of different questions. Even more so, when it’s a partnership between a chronically ill/disabled person and a ‘healthy/able-bodied’ person. Mainly…how does this kind of relationship have such success? In the second installment of Season Two’s relationship series, we have brought two guest experts that exemplify the relationship goals we all dream of…those romantic relationships. We have the Kowlessars on the show; Anna Kowlessar who is the founder and executive director of People Hope Org, and her husband Randy Kowlessar, the owner of the small business strategist and advocate company, Hello Randy! Anna and Randy bring just as much life, joy, faith, hard work and love into their work as they do their marriage! They embody so much of what People Hope stands for as a web-based organization providing people living with chronic illnesses and their support networks the tools, resources, spiritual connection and community to combat all the challenges of life with health struggles. We had to get the ultimate couple on the show that blends chronic illness from Anna’s health journey with the ‘healthy/able-bodied’ partner from Randy’s supportive ways. In this episode, Dominique, Anna and Randy, reveal the most common questions they’re asked as a couple and what are the main keys to some relationship success—as a ‘healthy’ partner or a ‘chronically ill’ partner— (and you’ll love their tips here), reveal why adventure challenge TV shows and Connect Four are key components in the Kowlessar home, and partake in our new segment TOP SEARCH where Anna and Randy tell us their auto-answers for “how can I support someone I’m dating if they have a chronic illness?” and “what answers can I give if someone ask about my health in a relationship?” And these two also give us the best story time segment when Randy and Anna tell us about their first date, which includes Randy giving the best ‘drop the mic’ response when Anna tells him about her chronic illness. In the second half of the episode, Anna tells us all about People Hope’s new program, Focus Fix—a monthly program that supports chronic illness warriors have tools to dive into self-growth (and you know at InvisiYouth we are all about cultivating a vibrant life for you medically adult-ish© people), and explains how finding love is a two-part project; you must find love for yourself before finding love with another person. Also, Dominique, Anna and Randy give advice on how to boost your inner confidence for all those introverts that might take time to thaw out their feelings/questions/needs, layout game-changing tips to communication with your partner, examine how having a supportive inner circle of friends and family can be your sounding board in the best way to vent frustrations and worries, divulge the secret Anna and Dominique prepare when needing to bring up serious topics with your partner, empower you with how they feel confident and valuable when those health setbacks days occur—and how early prep conversations are key, and end the show with advice they’d give the single versions of themselves. It’s a podcast that will have you feeling empowered, get lots of laughs, have faith in your journey, and feel the love for not only the people in your life, but a love for yourself! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Long-term goals can become one of the most stressful parts of young adult life. People want to know about your plans for university or work, if you want to get married, whether you want to travel or settle down, and if a family and kids are in the cards. And these questions can be pretty intense without the added layer of figuring out your future with a chronic illness/disability. Health issues can make planning for the future a bit challenging, because it’s unknown what the next month will look like, let alone the next ten years. So how do those of us with health struggles plan our future? That’s what our guest, Rachel Mayo, helps us with on Episode 23. As a Type One Diabetic since her diagnosis at 18, Rachel has spent almost 15 years growing up and creating a life for herself with chronic illness. She has developed a positivity activism style all her own through blogging, public speaking, being a guest writer on numerous articles for nonprofits like Beyond Type One, Nick Jonas’ young adult diabetes activism nonprofit and podcasts, and fundraising for charities like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. For Rachel, she wanted to advocate with humor and kindness on what has been her life journey of growing up while balancing T1D, and the role her chronic and invisible illness has played in her decisions. Rachel has documented her career from being a leadership and conference consultant with Paradigm Shift to currently working for JDRF as a volunteer engagement and outreach manager with Middle and East Tennessee, to her IVF and fertility and pregnancy journey through her hyper-active social media platform. It is her transparency on career-building, fertility struggles, pregnancy and first-time momma life with her son Noah, that makes Rachel the perfect guest on the show. In this episode, Rachel and Dominique examine the big topics older youth with chronic illness/disability should ask about their futures NOW, discover Rachel’s ideal celebrity mom playdates for her and Noah, give the best answers on how to handle those ‘adulting’ topics when you need to plan ahead (like fertility, having children, or traveling for work), lay out the best tips for how to bring these talks and questions to your doctors/support network—with the realization that asking questions is not only okay, but encouraged, motivate us to discover that being assertive for yourself can be in both verbal and written formats (hello email/texting services with doctors!), laugh lots when it’s discovered that Rachel and Dominique both have an Elmo-related nickname (and it’s DEFINITELY a couple stories you need to hear), create the life playlist for all your future adulating needs like the best sleep tools, scheduler apps, medication reminder apps, diet/snack tricks to be on-the-go, must-have parenting tools (like Rachel’s key baby apps for all first-time moms that work the best for spoonie moms), and Rachel’s key tips for hashtags that divide her posts between being a T1D/invisible illness mom AND a T1D activist, get super heartfelt as Rachel talks about her fertility journey, pregnancy and post-baby Noah life that had to blend with her T1D life she was accustomed to and all Rachel’s advice for fellow women with chronic illnesses/disabilities that want to have children as part of their future plans, and advise a seriously dynamic toolkit for handling any negative comments in the social media world about your life choices (from career, travel, or future family plans) that coexist with your chronic illness/disability. It’s so true that planning a future—whether that be jobs, marriage, children, or travel—can be quite multifaceted when you also have a chronic illness/disability, but Rachel’s epic special guest appearance shines a bright light into how full adulthood with health struggles can be pretty damn sweet! See for privacy and opt-out information.
When loungewear clothing brand Aerie dropped their #AerieReal campaign, the world got a severe case of inclusive diversity. There were models with insulin pumps, canes and ostomy bags but one model in particular got top news coverage: 21-year-old Georgia native, Abby Sams, who rocked her wheelchair in her shots. Seeing a young woman in a well-recognized campaign that was being celebrated in their clothes AND her wheelchair/walking crutches brought the conversation of diversity and disability representation to mainstream media. We got messages, tweets and DMs all freaking out over how excited they were to see girls like themselves on TV, in magazines and in commercials. But Abby’s not just a model representing chronic illness (like her own experiences with RSD, EDS and POTS), she’s also now using her massively growing Instagram following to document her latest passion project in her life: wheelchair racing. Abby is using her fresh advocacy style to make the public comfortably open-minded on topics like travel accessibility, inclusivity and the power of adaptive sports. In this stylish episode, Abby and Dominique talk about Abby’s journey to becoming one of Aerie’s models and what makes her favorite things like top Aerie clothes in her closet that are most accessible to wear, her top activism slogan shirts—which you can see all over her Instagram—and dream name for her racing wheelchair, develops the main issues brands run into when they ignore bringing products that are diverse AND functional, list off all the ways every young person can take the first few steps into becoming their own advocate, name the how-to’s when it comes to breaking stigmas on being young with health struggles, give insider tips on how you can talk accessibility without ‘scaring off’ the healthy-able-bodied community, get super real about Abby’s journey to bringing wheelchair racing into her life—and how anyone with any level of sporting experience can get into adaptive sports, regardless of chronic illness/disability, advise how people get find adaptive sporting opportunities in your area of the world. And during this episode, Abby and Dominique empower your face off as they talk about how they brought athleticism into their chronic illness lives while understanding the stigma of ‘Paralympian-level only’ for adaptive sports does not apply when you want to just have some fun, get to hear some truly funny and unfortunate stories of Abby’s experience around cities like Brooklyn when the public see ambulatory wheelchair users like Abby for the first time, lay out the best tools, apps and advice for everyone looking to see if places like restaurants, stores, concert venues and universities are accessible (and you MUST take notes), and we create the medically adult-ish© guidebook to finding some stigma-breaking clothing brands, hashtags to boost your disability awareness following, and the must-have mobility aids for life and sports. With Abby Sams, you get to have a jam-packed episode that you’ll have on repeat when you want to be motivated, inspired and have some major laughs to boost any week of the year! See for privacy and opt-out information.
To be an influencer, or not to be an influencer? That is the question! In today’s world, the idea of making a career with your social media savvy and your Instagram account is super appealing. Add in the fact that it is a predominately virtual-led career path and it seems overtly-tantalizing for the chronic illness and disability community. Hell, even our programming is virtually-focused and relies on social media to reach our network! So we're a charity based in social media activism for work! But how does someone not fall into the pitfalls or stereotypes of a “social media influencer?” How can you still be an activist for chronic illness/disability rights while making your social media platform matter? What do you need to do to take your social media and turn it into a financial income? Well, we’ve got the golden ticket episode for you with our special guest giving all the top-secret info that’ll take you from subtle activist to bonafide influencer game-changer. Tourette Syndrome activist, Disability and Anti-Bullying advocate, Publicist and Social Media Influencer Hayley Gripp is the hybrid of chronic illness activist with brand supporter which fuels her growing Instagram of 115k followers! She bounces between LA and NYC for work projects and charity events (now living in NYC), and has even played an integral part in revising some hefty disability legislation like the I.D.E.A. Act on Capital Hill. Hayley wants to show the world that social media should be about #PostingWithIntegrity (the name of her soon-to-be released advocacy campaign). And living with a motto that those living with chronic illness/disability have some of the most empowering and platform-worthy stories that can positively impact society. In this episode, Hayley and Dominique talk about what makes social media influencing a bit controversial and how Hayley has defined her space as “social activist” media influencer which fuels success, examine the best places to use your platform for good and sharing your story with integrity to make positive change in your community and beyond, get super deep as they explore how to find self-love and self-worth when you’re feel self-conscious, hysterically laugh about Hayley's dog needing his own "Instagram-boyfriend" while also being an emotional support for her, lay out the best steps to boosting your mood when health setbacks collide with some work/personal life goals, and deliver the biggest list of insider secrets and tools for everyone that wants the influencer life. We’re serious…this is a full peak behind the curtain of brand supporter and social media influencer lives! This podcast episode lets Hayley and Dominique give some major tips and tricks that’ll not only let you boost your following, but how to approach the companies that have the best philanthropic heart and support inclusivity and diversity. See for privacy and opt-out information.
Mental Health Awareness Month may have ended, but we’re keeping this conversation going since mental health is an all-year thing! There are still so many misconceptions, stigmas and social norms that make the “mental health chatter” seem challenging. To say that first sentence, to yourself or a loved one, sometimes we really don’t know how to begin, or how to help ourselves. So what better way to develop a stellar mental wellness episode than to bring a special guest that’s fused two of our biggest platforms: social media with activism for young adults! Creator of the mental health and wellness blog, Adventures and Anxiety, Lisa Gallo, is passionate marketer and public relations specialist while also being a zealous mental health blogger. Using her experiences with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder, Lisa has developed her own light, humorous and heartfelt style of activism that’s become a fast-growing resource for so many young adults. In this episode, Lisa and Dominique open the conversation about the biggest fears young adults have when it comes to mental health talk, discuss the reasons people forget that mental wellness is a spectrum where every level deserves its own support and recognition, talk about the benefits of therapy—not just professional talk therapy but sports, writing, art, music, and meditation—and how it can evolve for everyone, and create the perfect (and affordable!) toolkit that’ll strengthen your mind with everything from the perks of free university counseling, apps for meditation, self-care, and therapists, to the pros to a blend of western and holistic measures like essential oils, acupuncture, medication, therapy or diet/exercise styles. Also, you’ll want to stick around for Lisa’s life story of the first time she had a panic attack as a teen—and while that doesn’t sound like an uplifting story, Lisa and her friends/family have used that experience to grow, support and strengthen their health and relationships (plus, it’s a story that involves a tailgate—Go Gators!—a drive across a bridge, and some skydiving talk…so you’ll need to tune in to learn how that all comes together). And it wouldn’t be an InvisiYouth Chat Sessions episode unless we got to drop some major motivation and life tips! With a guidebook for social media while maintaining your mental strength, Lisa and Dominique talk about ways to avoid those social media pitfalls, suggestions of social media activism and blogs that are epic mental health activism tools, tips to use social media healthily, how to unfollow/mute those accounts that only breed envy or self-consciousness, and the best advice to keep your mind and body on a positive note that’ll make you ready to win at life. This episode is going to be the one you put on repeat to bring some self-love, some empowerment, some sassy humor and lots of knowledge that’ll make your mental wellness strengthen more and more! See for privacy and opt-out information.
When we see ourselves in films, in the characters on the silver screen, you not only feel represented, but you can widen our dreamscape. And it’s no wonder that when we talk self-confidence, when we talk dating, when we talk relationships, we never so rarely have a movie or TV show to relate to. Today’s guest is bringing the knowledge on the worlds of dating and films with chronic illness/disability, it’s LA filmmaker and disability activist Ashley Eakin. Making her viral fame debut in 2017 with her SoulPancake video where she discusses the role her rare bone condition, Ollier's disease and Maffucci syndrome in her life, Ashley had 44 MILLION views and a new path for disability activism in the arts. She’s made her first short film BLUE and recently finalized funding for her new short SINGLE which will be filmed in late 2019, all focusing on the complexities of modern dating as a young person with a disability. And no big deal…but Ashley has also been behind the camera on projects like America’s Top Model and working for director Jon Chu of CRAZY RICH ASIANS! Ashley uses the power of vulnerability to prove not only how to empower yourself, but how to share an authentic story and relationship with others! In this episode, Ashley explains the last time she went on an epic trip to Singapore and Malaysia for Crazy Rich Asians filming and her last piece of good advice she wants to share, lay out the best start-up phrases to use when you feel self-conscious about someone who asks questions about your illness/disability or how to ask for help when you’re at work or the boss while making everyone think it’s their idea to support, develop the medically adult-ish guidebook to dating with chronic illness/disability through the lens of Ashley’s upcoming short SINGLE and promo testimonials which includes the following—our tips on bouncing back from bad dates and rude judgment, meeting people outside of apps, advice on having that awkward first conversation about your health struggles while dating, all the pros and cons of relationships where both people have health struggles, examines how creating films has been a vessel for positive change in Ashley’s life and her massive social media network, have some laughs as Ashley recounts her first at a SheLift retreat where her wilderness skills were tested, and dive into our top tips for using your vulnerability as a tool for confidence, building relationships, sharpening your work ethic, and becoming a game-changer in not just advocating for your needs but your dreams and goals too. Join us for this episode of humor, lots of life stories, some much-needed dating tips, and listen to chat about films and disability/illness representation! See for privacy and opt-out information.
One of the biggest questions we get in “how do I handle my relationships while living with a chronic illness or disability?” And there are all types of relationships—romantic, familial, parents, siblings, caregivers, friends, doctors—that we experience every day. There’s so many complexities in how our relationships can thrive, so throughout Season Two, our podcast will bring you guest experts that exemplify the best of these relationship…starting with the first relationship we experience: parental dynamic. We’ve enlisted a mother-daughter duo from Canada, and one of our Global Brand Leader-All Stars, 17-year-old Madi Vanstone and her mom Beth. Not only does Madi use her large social media platform as a teen with cystic fibrosis to empower others to live beautiful well-rounded lives, but her and Beth also fights to improve medical necessities for other CF fighters, like going to Canadian Parliament to gain expensive medications like Kalydeco to have government coverage. Now they are powerhouses in the CF activism realm, having raised funds for CF Canada and InvisiYouth, along with being featured activists in CF books and movie reviews like the recent FIVE FEET APART. In this episode, Dominique, Beth and Madi discuss the best ways parents and their young adult kin can interact both within the medical questions and in our non-medical lives, the top ways to talk to your parents when you’re feeling every sort of emotion about your health, give advice on how to boost your self-esteem in advocating with your doctors, family or public activism, tells us stories about why the entire Vanstone family has matching tattoos and their love of ice hockey, chats up pop culture headlines on our love fest for Justin Baldoni and his directorial debut of FIVE FEET APART and while chronic illness representation in cinema is not only vital to make our stories more visible, but they need to be told with as much passion as Baldoni brought to the film in tribute of the wonderful Claire Wineland’s legacy, talk about the ways we can grow from a shy activist to a public speaker like Madi as she’s grown up with CF, divulge the best tips when you and your parents may disagree, laugh endlessly on how being an advocate IS COOL even as a teen—especially when you’ve got your family supporting you, and the best advice on how to maintain the ‘normal non-medical’ side of your family dynamic like setting aside specific time to NOT talk about your chronic illness/disability journey. And...introduce a new segment about a teeniatrics® way of life! This is the first of many episodes reflecting on the relationships that take up our lives, and the dynamic duo of Beth and Madi showcase the full-range of how to thrive in a relationship with our parents in our full lives, both medically and personally. Take notes people, this episode is filled with lots of nuggets of knowledge! See for privacy and opt-out information.
We’ve all seen these Instagram-worthy photos of mouthwatering meals, and oftentimes wonder if we could ever cook something that looks that delicious. And when you have a chronic illness or disability, entering the kitchen can feel more like a survivor challenge with lots of rules instead of a fun and freeing time to cook. But one woman has not only brought the fun, humor and tastiness to cooking, but also some much-needed diversity…and she’d our special guest on this episode, Canadian chef and YouTube creator of Stump Kitchen, Alexis Hillyard. Born without her left hand, Alexis, fell in love with cooking vegan/vegetarian meals and share her creative ways of cooking through her fast-growing YouTube show. Alexis’ activism for limb difference and culinary love is infused within an amazing sense of humor that makes Episode 17 must-watch content. In this episode, Alexis and Dominique talk about the best reactions—especially from kids—to Stump Kitchen and her limb difference, dive into the discussion of how cooking is not just food for the soul but also a great form of mental therapy, lay out the importance of diversity in the cooking world to show that physical difference or chronic illness DOES NOT mean you can’t do something, give mega-motivation tips on how to gain confidence or humor when faced with those ignorant comments, laugh out loud when Alexis shares a childhood story that consists of a ball pin and a missing prosthetic battery, swipe left and right in our Life Tinder on things like clapping back at social media trolls or using the term disability when people want to define others, and create the best toolkit for video editing, tools to have in your kitchen, best vegan recipes like chicken and waffles, and the best cooking show to watch. Just like a 5-Star restaurant, this episode is filled with delicious life tips, funny stories, bites of motivation and the best empowerment that’ll make you feel like you can tackle life with any chronic illness/disability! See for privacy and opt-out information.
Not every day you get to start off a video podcast asking your guest where they keep their four Paralympic medals, and how they named their memoir! But that got to be some of the many topics we chatted about with our special guest on this episode! Even better, this guest has been our Celebrity Ambassador for three years, and we are so thrilled to finally bring you this collaboration with the incredibly empowering Paralympic medalist swimmer, ESPN correspondent, author and motivational speaker, Victoria Arlen! This young woman is the embodiment of what InvisiYouth stands for: she’s fought through two rare medical conditions that left her in a vegetative state for four years “locked” inside her body and aware of her surroundings unable to communicate, she’s won four Paralympic medals, she’s discovered ways to soar with her health challenges and she’s built a platform and nonprofit that brings joy, support, love and laughter to hundreds of thousands of people. In this episode, Dominique and Victoria have so much fun chatting about how adaptive sports and fitness on any level can bring physical and mental wellness, get passionate discussing how the overused buzz-word “inspiration” can get annoying for older youth with chronic illness/disability, sift through some of Victoria’s best Instagram posts to learn the value of humor for both making others more comfortable with your health struggles but also to provide yourself with inner emotional support in the face of setbacks, dig deep into discussion on how important it is to discuss the pain and adversity of your illness/disability and not just project an upbeat façade for your community, give tips for a path of self-confidence when able-bodied people question your capability, and give so many health hacks to excelling at work, school, and hobbies when you have bad health days. Victoria totally slays this podcast as InvisiYouth’s Celebrity Ambassador, giving life advice for anyone living with chronic illness/disability on how to thrive and achieve anything you desire! This is a match made in philanthropy-heaven as two boss ladies unite in a chatty episode with so many laughs and motivation! See for privacy and opt-out information.
What better way to start off Season Two of InvisiYouth Chat Sessions: A Video Podcast series than getting to chat away with a stellar and successful YouTuber who’s made a name for herself before she even turned 16! With new segments, a new visual set, and new episode format, the video podcast series is stepping it up a notch to make each episode jam-packed with lifestyle tricks, empowerment skills, and lots of laughs, so your life with any health struggle, chronic illness or disability is thrilling and fulfilling. And our first episode of the season is with a guest we’ve been fangirling over for a while, British YouTuber, National Champion trampoliner and Quadruple Amputee Isabelle Weall. At the age of 7, Izzy developed meningitis and as a result, needed to have both her arms and legs amputated. Now at 15, Izzy is a competitive trampolinist, won the 2017 Pride of Sport Young Achiever award, and runs a successful YouTube channel of over 120k subscribers! On this episode, Dominique and Izzy chat about her favorite YouTube videos, get life tips on how to boost your inner confidence and confidence to try new things--like adaptive sports, label a life playlist filled with scheduling tools, music soundtracks and disability sport opportunities, learn the history behind Izzy’s rise in YouTube, discuss how we have to continue using our platforms of all scales to remove the negative mentality behind chronic illness/disability stigmas in order to show the joys and fun of life with any health struggles, talk about the impact behind Izzy’s first TEDxTalk in America, and give tips on how to keep your power when others might stare with ‘curious eyes’ and how it’s okay for others to ask questions AND refuse to answer them. Izzy is fun, passionate, and a subtle activist, who’s hundreds of thousands of followers are learning about equality, disability capability and representation through her channel. And this episode has so much lighthearted energy and passion, you’ll be excited to see where each segment takes us from start to finish. See for privacy and opt-out information.
"One September 2nd 2018, the world experienced the great loss of one of its most brilliant, generous and loving voices, Cystic Fibrosis activist, YouTuber, motivational speaker and founder of Claire’s Place Foundation, Claire Wineland. Over the years I launched InvisiYouth Charity, Claire and I got to know one another and begin building a friendship while working together. Claire even became one of InvisiYouth’s first Global Brand Leaders! We talked so much about what our charities could do together, what we could forge together that would empower young adults with all chronic illnesses and, as Claire would say, “thrive in life.” One of our first plans we worked on was to have Claire be a special guest on the first season of InvisiYouth Chat Sessions. But we didn’t get that chance. Losing Claire brought so many emotions to those around the world that adored her on all scales. It was an absolute fact that all of InvisiYouth and myself especially wanted to still have Claire be part of our series. I made a promise to Claire earlier this year that no matter where life took us, our friendship would continue and we’d still work together. So this episode is how we get creative to keep working with Claire. We’re going to go through some of what Claire and I were planning to discuss, and some of the topics that Claire brought the most passion to in her mission. This is a showcase of Claire’s wondrous legacy. AND I have the blessing and fortune to interview a woman who’s not only one of the people closest to Claire, but also now forever part of the InvisiYouth family and my own, the Executive Director of Claire’s Place Foundation and her greatest role of being a mom of two, Claire’s mom, Melissa Yeager. I am forever changed by having Claire in my life these past three years, and while I will forever miss her laughter, humor, warmth and empowerment. Claire’s impact will remain for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Thank you, Claire, for truly motivating a generation to live a life they’re proud, to thrive with chronic illness/disability, and to always lead a life of love, humor and giving. This is the first of many creative collaborations in our future, Claire, and this episode is for you." ~Dominique Viel, founder of InvisiYouth Charity See for privacy and opt-out information.
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