Our Leadership

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ALEXA CHRONISTER

Founder, President

Alexa founded Fight Like A Warrior after creating the Cards For Warriors program in 2016. With the goal of creating a community of empowerment and improving the lives of those with chronic health conditions, she developed Fight Like A Warrior as a way to cope with her own health challenges, while giving back to others. She received her bachelor's degree with honors distinction in public policy from the University of Delaware and completed a thesis focused on health policy and disease advocacy. Alexa has a passion for working with individuals and communities to advance policy, advocacy, and entrepreneurial efforts, particularly within healthcare, focused on improving access and reducing inequity. When not working, Alexa loves to travel, write, and listen to music!

Contact: alexa.chronister@fightlikeawarrior.org

Instagram: @alexa.chronister

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REBECCA WHITELEY

Director of Operations

Rebecca has been a warrior for the past decade after being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and a variety of comorbidities as a teenager. To help cope with the unpredictable nature of her illnesses, Rebecca began creating content on social media showcasing her day-to-day life and searching for others she could relate to. Serendipitously, she stumbled upon the chronic illness online community, to whom she credits her passion for patient advocacy. Working with Fight Like A Warrior has enabled Rebecca to increase her personal impact on the community and give back to those who have given her so much. Rebecca received her bachelor’s degree with honors distinctions in her major and graduating class, and her personal goals include continuing to make a difference for those fighting ongoing health battles in any way she can. In her free time, you can find Rebecca reading, writing, and spending time with her 2 cats and husband!

Contact: rebecca.whiteley@fightlikeawarrior.org

Instagram: @beccawiththebag

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JAELIN PALMER

Director of Advocacy

Jaelin has had CRPS and Trigeminal Neuralgia for over 10 years and as a result has truly come to appreciate the online chronic illness community. Her own experiences, along with her Public Policy degree and experience in government, makes her an incredible leader for Fight Like A Warrior's Advocacy Team!

 

When Jaelin is not working for FLAW, you can find her reading a good book, crafting/painting, creating content for her personal Instagram account or belting to Broadway show tunes with her sister. 

Contact: jaelin.palmer@fightlikeawarrior.org

Instagram: @jaelinpalmer

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CIENNA DITRI

Director of Communications

Cienna has been a warrior since birth, but received her first diagnosis at age 5. Her doctors knew something more was wrong, which started the medical journey that has led to her being diagnosed with a variety of chronic illnesses including postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, migraines, central hypoventilation syndrome, hypokalemic periodic paralysis, and mast cell activation syndrome. Cienna loves sharing her daily life with chronic illnesses and service dogs on social media and passionately advocates for these topics and rare diseases nationally. When Cienna is not busy working on social media, she enjoys training service dogs, playing saxophone, traveling, surfing, running her book club (chronically bookish), fashion, and spending time with friends. 

Contact: cienna.ditri@fightlikeawarrior.org

Instagram:@chronicallypersevering

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KELSEY CALIMER

Deputy Director of Communications and Social Media Manager

Kelsey has been sick for as long as she can remember, yet doctors had always told her that nothing was wrong. In 2015 her journey as a warrior began when she mysteriously became bedridden and was unable to speak or move her body. She was diagnosed with Chronic Late Stage Lyme Disease later in 2016 after a doctor realized that the Lyme bacteria had infiltrated her entire central nervous system, including her brain. She has been on intensive treatment ever since. She was told that had she not started treatment when she did, she would not be here today. Throughout her journey of healing, she has also been able to help others. Kelsey has referred multiple people who were having similar symptoms, or had trouble finding proper help for Lyme Disease, to the doctors who saved her life. It was extremely important to Kelsey to provide these people an outlet to better health and a place to be heard, especially when they had suffered in silence for so long. This in turn fueled the realization that her true passion has always been advocating for all  whose voices go unheard within the medical community. She loves that she is able to expand her range of knowledge of all chronic illnesses and disabilities through Fight Like a Warrior. She firmly believes that her position within FLAW will enable her to better help all who need it and help make the world a more inclusive place. When she isn't busy running all of FLAW's social media platforms, you can find Kelsey working with her plants in her greenhouse, cuddling with her husband and cats or immersing herself in a good TV series. Kelsey is also an artist of various mediums and claims art has been her saving grace throughout some of the hardest moments in her life. She has 13 years of experience with photography and pottery and is always seeking out new mediums to try such as collaging, painting, and embroidery.

Contact: kelsey.calimer@fightlikeawarrior.org

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SHANNAN O'HARA-LEVI

Blog Manager

Shannan has been a Warrior since age 3 after being diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. She has battled JIA, RA and other related chronic illness for over 30 years. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work and is an active and passionate volunteer and advocate for autoimmune diseases and chronic illnesses both in her community and nationally. She has walked the halls of Capitol Hill countless times and continues to fight for those with Chronic Illness both on a National and State level. Shannan is also a certified yoga instructor and a graduate of the Yoga for Arthritis teacher training program in which she hopes to bring accessible yoga to those with chronic pain and arthritis in her community. In her free time, Shannan enjoys traveling with her husband, reading and getting all the snuggles from her 3 fur-babies. 

Contact: shannan.oharalevi@fightlikeawarrior.org

Instagram: @ShannieOHL

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SOPHIE EACKLES

Cards for Warriors Program Manager

Sophie was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 10. After over ten years of many different failed
medications, it was decided that the best route for her health was to have her large intestine removed.
After surgery, she began documenting her recovery and life with an ileostomy bag on Instagram with the
goal to raise awareness and help others.
At university, Sophie is currently studying communication with a concentration in media studies. In her
spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, hiking, collecting indie perfumes, drinking a good iced chai or
matcha, and hanging out with her beloved pets.

Contact: sophie.eackles@fightlikeawarrior.org

Instagram: @thestomalife

Additional Contributors

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SARA COHEN

Director of Program Development

Sara began writing for Cards for Warriors shortly after its formation and has remained involved through the program's growth and development into Fight Like a Warrior. Sara's battle with her own chronic illnesses has opened her eyes to the misunderstanding and underrepresentation of the patient voice in the healthcare industry. From the depths of her illnesses, Sara found her passion and recently received her masters degree in occupational therapy, while working as a research assistant in a program dedicated to training health profession students in the science and art of complex case management. Outside of Fight Like a Warrior, Sara teaches therapeutic horseback riding lessons, is an Adjunct Faculty in Occupational Therapy Department at her alma mater, and the State Chairperson for the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International. On weekends, Sara can be found at the barn with her recently adopted ex-racehorse, Q!

Contact: sara.cohen@fightlikeawarrior.org

Instagram: @fromthepatientperspective

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JAELIN TAYLOR

Podcast Producer

Jaelin was diagnosed with Chronic Tic Disorder, ADHD, Anxiety, Major Depression, OSFED, PTSD, and Psoriasis, all before graduating from high school, but none of that stopped her from pursuing a college education and graduating with honors. Using her degrees in Communication Studies and Cinema and Television Arts, Jaelin’s personal goal is to create a variety of inclusive content with relatable characters for everyone on all media platforms. When she’s not working on the Fight Like A Warrior Podcast, you can find Jaelin working on original screenplays, hanging out at Disneyland, and having fun with her sorority sisters.

Contact: jaelin.taylor@fightlikeawarrior.org