About Charis/Contact Info

Unstoppable, award-winning advocate for the ankylosing spondylitis community since 2013, Charis is a professionally disabled writer, speaker and model living with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Charis’ story has been featured in mainstream media and in a 2019 documentary (Becoming Incurable). *She/they have spoken about disability and chronic disease at numerous events including the Sacramento Women’s March and the Sacramento Changemakers TEDx series; and has additionally spoken on healthcare panels, press conferences, in legislative hearings, and with members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Charis has been instrumental in creating spondyloarthritis disease treatment guidelines; designing and conducting patient-centered rheumatological research; forming international criteria for disease treatment outcomes; and is consistently involved in multiple nationwide/worldwide advocacy, awareness, and legislative campaigns to improve spondylitis education, funding, and access to treatment. She/they have modeled in both Los Angeles Style Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, and is on the cover of Féroce magazine in her/their wheelchair to raise awareness of rheumatic diseases and disability.

In 2014 Charis was awarded the Progress in Policy Award by the Arthritis Foundation, Pacific Region for efforts in statewide and national legislative advocacy efforts. She/they co-lead the Spondylitis Association of America patient educational support group in Sacramento, CA and is a volunteer member of the Spondylitis Association of America advocacy committee. Charis writes for various media outlets; with bylines at HealthCentral, Healthline, The Mighty, and This AS Life; including cover stories for both Arthritis Today and Spondylitis Plus magazine.

Charis graduated in 2009 from Meredith College, Magna Cum Laude, with a BA in Sociology and minors in Psychology and Women’s Studies. When able, she/they enjoy sewing, cooking, gardening, attending Burning Man, and loving two very furry Maine-coon mixed cats, Dora and Juno.

*Charis uses she/they/he pronouns, depending on the day or context. To learn more about non-binary pronouns, check out this link.


Charis is available for speaking engagements, awareness campaigns, press inquiries, and more.

Reach by email: Charis.Anna.Hill[at]gmail.com

Connect on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

To see Charis in the news, check out the News & Media Mentions page.

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23 thoughts on “About Charis/Contact Info”

  1. Hello to everyone with Ankylosing Spondylitis. I was diagnosed with AS when I was in my 20s. I really enjoy reading the messages. I didn’t realize how much AS has affected so many lives. I’m going to follow you on social media but don’t know which one yet. I struggle off and on with depression about the AS because I know a lot of people stare me down when I go to a store or anywhere. I am trying to keep a good attitude but it’s really hard. I’m glad I found this site.

    Darla

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    1. Darla, thank you for your comment! AS is indeed a pervasive disease, individually and worldwide. We will be *seen* one day for what we live with, if I have anything to do with it!
      I look forward to hearing more about your story sometime!
      – Charis

      Like

  2. I have a serious question. I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitus in March of this yesr. I also have sero negative rheumatoid arthritis. I would like to be involved and participate in the jingle bell run for arthritis but can’t walk that far. To participate I would need to use my motorized chair. I feel like it would be frouned upon that I am not doing what I am supposed to do if I don’t walk. I guess it’s pretty bad when you don’t feel like you fit in with the people your supposed to fit in with.

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    1. Hi Tony! Yikes, that does sound like a dilemma. I’m not sure what your question is, but it sounds like you’re asking for input on this. I have witnessed some Arthritis Foundation walks to be a bit challenging for people to navigate using mobility accessories like walkers, wheelchairs, and scooters because the Foundation chose a location that wasn’t suited for people with mobility impairments (I do see the irony in that!). At the same time, I’ve been to these walks and have seen and shared time with plenty of people who showed up with their canes, walkers, chairs, and scooters to open arms. I hope you’ll make the decision to go to the “walks” – I have a feeling you and your chair would be more than welcome. For me, when I began using a wheelchair it was an internal battle over whether I would feel accepted. It didn’t take long for me to really love my chair because it allowed me to participate in activities (like the Arthritis Walk), whereas otherwise I would have just stayed home. My chair is my freedom to be social again! Let me know what you decide!

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      1. Because of indecision on my part and waiting to hear from the local organization I missed the race this year. I will definitely take part next year.

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  3. Charis,
    Thank you for being a voice. Many have no idea what AS is and how it can affect a person. I was diagnosed at 19 and doctors thought that it was all in my head, I found it very frustrating as well as unfair. I played sports growing up and was very active. To have been diagnosed with this freaked me out. But each day is a new day and I will not let this overcome me. In the last two months my 7 year old son was also diagnosed with this. It’s been very hard for him recently and we are trying to find ways for him to understand while staying strong. This has been very hard for him, breaks my heart. Once again I want to thank you for your voice and words of encouragement.
    Thank you,
    Haley Hale

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      1. Currently we have a lot of family and our rheumatologist. But I haven’t really found anything online yet. My mother tagged me on an article about you the other day.

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        1. The Spondylitis Association of America is a great resource and has support groups (USA) on their site in addition to reliable information. Spondylitis.org. There are also a lot of private groups on Facebook for people with AS/SpA.
          I hope you are able to find both informational and emotional/community support soon!

          Like

  4. Hi Charis!
    Just wanna say thank you for your work with making AS more ‘visible’. I’m from Sweden, I was diagnosed 18 months ago and I recently found out about you 💕❤.

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      1. Chris,
        I’m not sure if I am doing this right but I wanted to thank you for your articles. I am newly diagnosed with AS. At first I thought it would just be a mild discomfort but some days I can’t walk. It’s terrifying. I rode in the MS-150 two years ago and now I can barely make it upstairs some days. Assist walking devices and a wheelchair felt like the end of trying and giving up but after reading your article I’m considering using them without feeling embarrassed. I hope you have a pain better day. Thanks again James

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        1. Hi James. Yes, you did it correctly! Bravo. I’m so glad you shared a little bit of your own story here. I’m so sorry you are struggling so much with AS and that it has affected you so heavily and quickly. Please keep me posted on how you continue to adapt to those assistive devices, both physically and emotionally. I think we all go through that phase where we feel we’re losing more by using the darn things, but then eventually we can get to the point where we realize how much more they allow us to live! I do hope to hear more from you soon. Take care,
          Charis

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  5. Charis – I loved reading your blog about AS. I was diagnosed with it 30 years ago and never read such an accurate description of what it is like to have AS and you described my symptoms and pain remarkedly on point. I appreciate all that you go through on a daily basis as you could have interchanged our names and it would be the same story. I would love to hear from you and more about your life and how you deal with it. I also have fibromyalgia, herniated discs, chronic pain syndrome and so on. I am 61, forced to retire from Disneyland and live in Southern California mountains in a cabin with my husband, two dogs and one cat. Write me back if you want as I would enjoy getting acquainted. Karen Anderson

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    1. Hi Karen! I’m so glad so much of this blog resonates with you. It’s always humbling to hear that so many people can relate to the same experiences. I hope to keep writing enough so that you can, indeed, learn more about how I manage and live with AS! Have you heard about the Spondylitis Association of America support groups? They are all led by people living with some form of Spondylitis. There is one in Van Nuys, perhaps it would be close enough for you to visit! You can learn more here: http://www.spondylitis.org/Community/Support-Groups

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi… very interested/intrigued by the story about Walmart leaving Oriental. I’m a retired NC native living in Rocky Mount, NC. Spent a fair amount of time in Oriental in the past when I was an avid sailor and fell in love with Oriental . I spent 30 years in the newspaper business and am very familiar with Walmart’s tactics. The newspapers I managed wrote a number of editorials trying to inform residents of small towns regarding welcoming a Walmart store to their community.
    For what it’s worth… I’d be very interested in helping the family that owned the grocery store in any way should they decide to reopen…. as well as the town with media concerns.

    Sincerely,
    Marvin Pike

    Liked by 1 person

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