If you had told me 12 years ago, when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, that I would be able to make a living sharing my patient journey and being a patient advocate, I wouldn’t have believed you. That changed in the weeks leading up to delivering my son, Reid. That’s when I came across a website promoting WEGO Health Experts, an on-demand hiring platform. I was immediately intrigued and completed an online profile describing my background and areas of expertise.
WEGO Health Experts provides me and others with complex health conditions an avenue to participate in freelance consulting opportunities on my own terms. While my disease may be a big part of my identity, it does not define who I am or take away from my professional skills and talents. At first, I thought the platform seemed too good to be true. Then, before Reid had even reached two months, WEGO Health’s director of marketing reached out to me about the possibility of doing media relations to help get the word out about the company’s mission and hiring platform. The opportunity was too good to pass up.
The WEGO Health Experts platform is empowering for all of us who are actively working as patient leaders in the chronic illness community. Since its launch in February, more than 400 patient experts have joined the network. Rather than feel isolated and alone in our experience, we have the ability to bring the patient perspective to healthcare innovators.
We have the added benefit of a flexible and comfortable work environment and the chance to bring our combined professional and patient experience to bear on big challenges in healthcare.
This platform is an enabler. It enables me to take a step back, reflect on everything I’ve encountered since the day I was diagnosed, and use that knowledge to inform and shape the future of healthcare. That’s powerful!
As a member of the chronic illness community, those of us with professional backgrounds are part of an untapped workforce. WEGO Health recognizes this and provides the tools to connect with forward-thinking companies who want to hire freelance consultants. It does my heart good to know that I’m able to stay home with my son, while still working part-time and utilizing my talents. It’s an emotional and thought-provoking revelation that those dark, difficult days in your journey can help us and our families thrive down the road.
We all have a story to tell. Our insight and our personal connections within our chronic illness communities sets us apart, and it’s incredibly rewarding to know we can help influence research and conversations. We can be a voice for those in our own community and inspire others. Instead of worrying about the unknown and when my next flare up or hospitalization may occur, this platform allows me to hold the reins and take charge. I can decide which projects make the most sense for me given my story, my skills and my busy days as a new mom.
With the uncertainty of healthcare and the expense of high cost medications, tests and hospital visits, this allows me to contribute to my rainy day fund and have confidence that when the going gets tough and I have the burden of getting healthy, I have some additional income to ease the burden of financial concerns.
Prior to Reid’s arrival, I worked full-time as a journalist and writer. I spent nearly 10 years at TV stations in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin as a news anchor, producer, and reporter. I then spent more than three years doing corporate communications and public relations. This meant countless days of putting a smile on my face, while my pain level escalated on the news desk or in the boardroom. Now, at this point in my life and career, as a new mom, I realize each experience, both at work and at home, brought me to where I am today as an independent freelance Patient Expert.
Interested in learning more? Check out the WEGO Health Expert platform, fill out an application and see where your valuable patient and professional experience takes you.