By Rachel Reiff Ellis

Learning you have an illness can be a pivotal, life-changing moment. This year, we celebrate four people who have transcended their medical diagnosis to embrace activism and action in the wider health community and accelerate progress in research, understanding, and hope.

Hannah Davis

Driven by a desire to find answers about her debilitating diagnosis, she and a team of research-savvy long COVID patients formed the Patient-Led Research Collaborative to advocate, educate, and to one day hopefully cure the disease.

A tireless search for her own diagnosis — and her sons' — pushed her to create The Jansen's Foundation, an organization that brings awareness, research funds, and hope for a cure to this rare skeletal condition.

Neena Nizar


Co-founder and executive director of the Chordoma Foundation, he has helped accelerate this rare cancer's pace of research to new levels.

She is the first sickle cell patient to receive a revolutionary gene therapy using a tool called CRISPR. She now shares her symptom-free success story on a global stage.