Our mission is to improve the quality of life for BIPOC who are affected by IBD, Digestive Disorders and associated Chronic Illnesses; through Community, Research, Education, and Advocacy.
An ambassador is an enthusiastic and dedicated chronic illness patient or professional, or the family member of a chronic illness patient, who is interested in sharing his or her time and expertise to help elevate awareness for chronic illnesses. As an ambassador you are passionate about our cause and committed to keeping abreast of new, relevant issues that may impact the community.
The goal of the Ambassador Board is to engage patients and healthcare professionals in raising awareness about chronic illnesses within their communities and among their social networks.
Post on your social media page (FB or Twitter) once a month
Share COCCI’s Facebook or Instagram posts twice a month
Be willing to be interviewed once a year about your condition
Add "COCCI Ambassador Board Member" to your email signature
Be willing to participate in a photoshoot/video once a year for COCCI
Participate in 1 fundraising activity to seek contributions of time, money and/or in-kind support from individuals and corporate partners
Ambassadors will be displayed on our website with their photo, condition, and year of diagnosis
Be willing to lead a virtual support group 1 time a year:
Be willing to be a voice for the community, explaining why this community is relevant and necessary.
Click below to find out how many Ambassadors are near or even in your own State!
My name is Aarion Bell. I’m 32 years old, and I have an amazing 13-year-old son. I have endometriosis and enteropathic arthritis, and anxiety and depression. I’m so excited and honored to be a part of this fantastic organization that gives me purpose.
My name is Ana-Alicia. I am a Texas native that moved to the DC area to graduate from Howard University. My husband and I are the parents to a beautifully witty 11-year-old daughter and a vibrantly talented 25-year-old son. As a patient and Crohn’s survivor, I believe that I have a duty to serve our unserved communities and bring awareness to our fight for equity in black and brown communities.
My name is Ava. I am not a patient, but I am a caregiver, supporter, friend, confidant, and, most importantly, daughter. My mom was diagnosed with UC before I was born. Growing up with a parent diagnosed with UC presented challenges in all ways but most importantly mentally.
I am so full of joy that we found this organization, because it has made life just a tad bit easier. Knowing that there are other individuals that are just like us and that there are people researching and doing what they can to understand these diseases and the effects that they have in black and brown patients to hopefully help others not endure as much pain as my mother and family had to endure. With this organization we have Hope.
My names is Carlos Cabrera but I go by Cj papuro. I am 27 years old, and I am a USMC veteran, and IBD advocate. Before Ulcerative Colitis (UC), I served four years in the Marine Corps as an Amphibious Assault Vehicle operator.
Don’t be afraid to reach out or advocate. You never know who you are going to move or inspire. Make sure you work on yourself, mind body, and spirit. When all of those things are aligned, you will begin to thrive.
Hey, my name is Nicijia Pierce, but I go by Cijia. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2016. I have had biologic medications and others. In 2019 I had surgery due to my Crohn’s Disease. I am originally from Virginia, but I currently reside in Georgia.
Crystal Umaru is a patient care partner to her daughter, Mariama. Mariama was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in April 2021. She has been there every step of the way, advocating for her daughter’s physical and mental health. She is very passionate about helping other families navigate the difficult waters of IBD and believes creating a safe space for communication and the sharing of knowledge is the best way to do that. She is also a self-care advocate and believes it’s essential for patient care partners to nurture themselves to better support their loved ones. Crystal hopes to continue to work with COCCI for years to come to bring awareness and support to people of color struggling with IBD and chronic illness.
My name is Dominique Daniels. I’m 37 years old; I have a beautiful 8yr old daughter. I’m an entrepreneur. I have a background in healthcare that started in 2005. I have worked in schools, shock trauma, a pharmacy, hospitals, and clinics. I love to help and care for people. My reason for advocating is there are so many people who need and deserve excellent care regardless of race.
I’m Frank Hooks from Atlanta Ga, and I’m a care partner to my wife Kimberly Hooks of 12 years. In 2010, on our one-year anniversary, I witnessed the first symptoms of what we would later find out to be Ulcerative Colitis. Before her diagnosis, I had no prior knowledge or experience with the illness, which left me feeling very helpless. After the Doctor explained that UC had no cure, I immediately began my side of the journey with research, great optimism, and care. In this last decade, we’ve experienced many doctor visits, sixteen pills a day, biologics, three major surgeries, and now the JPouch, to name a few. As a Husband/care partner, my ultimate priority is to get through these obstacles together, one step at a time.
My name is Joshua Denton. I’m 36-year-old and have been living with Ulcerative Colitis for 17 years. I’ve implemented a plant-based diet which has helped me reduce my symptoms and achieve temporary remission. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and a strong support team are how I manage this condition now. I’ve also recognized the importance of mental and emotional balance, so intermittent counseling is vital for preserving my health.
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