San Francisco, CA
Maria was diagnosed with Severe Chronic Idiopathic Neutropenia in 2019 after years of frequent illness that eventually led to an infection requiring surgical intervention. Since being diagnosed, she looked for any information she could find on the condition, as well as community to help her understand and cope with her new reality.
Prior to becoming neutropenic, Maria worked as a (Master’s degree licensed) Social Worker, as well as an Online Marketing and Sales Manager. She currently spends most of her time writing and performing stand-up comedy.
Maria volunteers as an editor for her neighborhood’s quarterly newsletter. She also has volunteer experience with the San Francisco Animal Care and Control and a local hospice care center. Part of her hospice experience included volunteering as a camp counselor at a local camp for children of all ages dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.
Maria notes:“Finding the NNN really helped me in the first years of my diagnosis, especially after Covid hit and I had to transition to mostly online social interactions. Prior to attending the NNN retreat in 2023, I had never met anyone with my condition before – it was a life changing experience to be around people who understand what it felt like to live with this rare, exteriorly invisible condition. The NNN helped me better understand chronic neutropenia, how to treat it, and provided the emotional support of community. Now that I am more in sync with the reality of my condition, and more or less stable with my health, I would like to give back to the NNN community in whatever way I can be helpful.”
As a Senior Ambassador, Maria hopes to utilize her talents and experience to contribute to the community outreach efforts with patients/families, as well as physicians. Additionally, she hopes to work with the NNN newsletter publication and the Peer Support Volunteer program.
We are excited to welcome Maria to our Senior Ambassador team! Thank you for your commitment, Maria!!