@JessicaGimeno

Patient Leader

Jessica Gimeno is a speaker, writer, & activist whose TEDx Talk, "How To Get Stuff Done When You Are Depressed," has 1.8 million views. Healthline named her Talk 'One of the Best Depression Videos of the Year' for two consecutive years. She launched her blog Fashionably ill ® in 2012, which is about surviving pain with style & humor. She also has a YouTube channel. Jessica sometimes visits readers in the hospital who have cancer and autoimmune illnesses and gives them makeovers. Jessica has been featured in NBC News, BuzzFeed, everyday HEALTH, MSNBC, and the White House's mental health blog. Jessica was featured in the White House's video campaign, "Stories of Hope & Recovery." For four years, she was a contributor to HuffPost and a panelist on HuffPost Live. Jessica is the Communications Director of the Healthcare Rights Coalition & an appointed member of Protect Our Care Illinois's Steering Committee. On a state-wide level and national level, she fights to save essential programs like Medicaid and fights for disability rights. Jessica was first motivated to get into advocacy after a friend's suicide that happened when she was 18-years old. The suicide prompted her to seek help for own recurring depression and Jessica was diagnosed with bipolar 2. In addition to bipolar, she has 4 other chronic illnesses: myasthenia gravis (for which she uses a cane), endometriosis, psoriasis, & asthma. Having worked in nonprofit, Jessica is passionate about helping people survive chronic pain and mood disorders. Since 2014, Jessica has been working with Rutgers University on their project HYPE, Helping Youth on the Path to Employment, whose goal is to help young adults with severe mental illness find meaningful employment. Previously, Jessica worked for the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation where she won 2nd Prize in the National Council of Community Behavioral Healthcare's Awards of Excellence. Jessica won Health Activist Hero in the 5th Annual WEGO Health Awards.

Location

Des Plaines, IL

Nominations

Best in Show: Facebook Healthcare Collaborator: Patient Patient Leader Hero Best in Show: Blog

Finalist

Best in Show: Blog Hilarious Health Activist Health Activist Hero

Winner

Health Activist Hero

Jessica lives with multiple chronic illnesses and in spite of that, manages to offer positive words of encouragement to others and hope to everyone who suffers. She is active in multiple physical and mental health communities. She has won at least one national award and it's so well-deserved. She is an inspiration to others and a source of positivity in the fight against illness.  — Natasha

It is difficult to imagine a blog more likely to empower and affirm its readers than Fashionably Ill, a collection of articles for women whose bodies have undergone major transformations as the result of diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders. Writing from her own experiences with Myasthenia Gravis, biopolar disorder, and polycystic ovarian syndrome, author Jessica Lynn Gimeno possesses both the real-life experience to win her readers' trust and the vivacity to raise their spirits. Filled with humor, poignancy, and practical tips for looking great while feeling less-than-great, Fashionably Ill represents a critical and unprecedented outreach to women whose self-esteem is all too often shaped by their illnesses and by other people's fears. Through Fashionably Ill, Jessica has offered these women the tools to reclaim their personal images and, in so doing, to face their medical battles with the courage that every woman possesses when she looks in the mirror and finds herself beautiful.  — Brittany

My friend, Victor, and I are nominating Jessica because she is a gifted writer and an inspiration to all those who know her and read her blog or follow her tweets.  — Jessica

My friend, Victor, and I are nominating Jessica because she is a gifted writer and an inspiration to everyone who knows her or reads her blog or follows her tweets.

Jessica is a bright, beautiful young woman who inspires all those who read her blog or follow her on Twitter.  — Doris

Jessica is a bright, beautiful young woman who inspires all those who read her blog or follow her on Twitter.

Jessica has gone beyond her own illness to educate, create awareness, and to be the ultimate health activist warrior! I cannot think of a better person to represent this award. Her life is a testament to the dedication she has in being a health activist and advocate for others.  — Mary

Jessica's blog is always enlightening and current. She not only advocates illnesses, but how to be the best "you" while being ill. Her blog is part of my daily routine. Jessica has a way with words which can make anyone feel positive. I recommend her blog to the groups I belong to and it is now on a list at my physician's office.  — Mary

No one can make being chronically ill as fashionable as Jessica can! Current issues which effect all types of chronic illnesses can be found center stage. If it effects the community, Jessica is on top of it. Jessica creates an environment in which one can feel positive about themselves. Jessica empowers the chronically ill.

I read the Fashionably ill article on the church and mental illness myths, and the more I look back on my own life,The more I see I may have symptoms myself!! Now, I will see what getting diagnosed entails. I appreciate the advice. It’s good to know someone understands this and doesn’t judge me! To find someone who understands these days is rare!

I am nominating Jessica Gimeno for Best in Show Blog because, as a warrior who stands strong against 4 illnesses, she speaks to the heart of living with adversity while rising above. Many times I have read her blog and have been encouraged to be strong and hold on. Jessica is a beautiful young woman that exemplifies what it means to be a champion.  — Kathie Lea

Jessica is an articulate, compassionate woman who is determined to use the pain in her life for purpose, as a catalyst to change others lives through education, awareness, empathy and support. She continually inspires me to keep going against all odds and approaches chronic illness with gentle grace.  — Rebekah

Jessica is a wonderful & caring activist for those of us that suffer from chronic illness (which she also does). She not only covers one specific illness but reaches to encompass the full gamut. She genuinely shares her personal ups and downs along with those of other sufferers, and highlights uplifting advice on how to make it through each day.  — Heather

Her blog Fashionably ill is extremely informative and helpful, though fighting illness herself she makes sure that others have a shoulder to lean on and that people with Illness have a voice and resources they need . I have learned so much reading her blog in regards to caring about those who may be struggling with Illness.  — Shannon

Jessica is an authentic voice for young people regarding chronic illness. She shares her stories with humor and dignity. Her creativeness shines through as she navigates medical life with ideas like "vacationizing your hospital stay". She is informative about the stigma that can follow illness and takes a brave stance to help others by sharing.  — Cynthia

Despite all her personal struggles, she still makes time for advocacy and helping others whether it's writing or with Ted talks. She is a true advocate at heart.

All illnesses are trying. If her life were a soap opera, it would be called “All My Illnesses.” In fact, she affectionately calls her cane Erica Kane. She is 28-years old. She has five illnesses—Bipolar II, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Myasthenia Gravis (MG, as fun as Multiple Sclerosis but harder to pronounce), asthma, and psoriasis.  — Lindsay

Jessica is always there for anyone to talk to. She talks about things (mental health) that other people are often afraid to talk about. She has made my life better by being my friend and supporting me in my own health advocating endeavors.  — Tyler

Jessica offers transparency and grace as she trailblazes the way for others in highly stigmatized areas of rare disease like mental health and she does so with humor and a fashion sense.  — Rebekah

One of the most motivating, inspiring individuals I have ever learned of.  — Timothy

Jessica is an inspiration to the Asian American communities, especially since mental illness is less frequently talked about in our API communities. Stigma is so strong, & yet she has been sharing her story for many years now. I applaud her in her efforts to alleviate the stigma to normalize the conversation.  — Emily Wu

Choosing Jessica's Facebook page was a choice among many places that she inspires all of us living with bipolar disorder. Jessica reminds us that we are brave, strong, and beautiful regardless of our mental health issues. Jessica educates and fosters community amongst activists and all patients. Jessica makes me smile when I think I can't.  — Julianna

Always shares tools and info that helps other as she goes through her own illnesses, put's others before herself and helps people feel better and informed.  — jeffery

Jessica runs a blog called Fashionably Ill and has run this blog for several years. It’s targeted not just to those with bipolar but several other autoimmune diseases that she battles everyday. She lets us know that despite the invisible illnesses or even the visible ones, we can still do things to make ourselves look good and feel good and boost our self esteem. Jessica does an amazing job and is an amazing advocate friend of mine and she not only advocates on her blog, but is a friend to others with mental illness outside the blog and can always be counted on for support when you need it!  — Christina

I've known Jessica for years and don't know anyone who suffers more on a daily basis from five chronic diseases. She doesn't complain despite countless setbacks in her health for several years. She always gets back up, goes out of her way to raise awareness about many chronic diseases that affect so many people, deserves massive respect for that.  — Edwin

@JessicaGimeno

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