Our Team of Volunteers

Our volunteers have a variety of experiences with HSCT, with a range of different autoimmune diseases, who were treated at various clinics around the world.

Schedule a free, one-hour session with any of our Talk to a Warrior volunteers and gain insights through personal connections.

Click on our volunteer pictures and schedule a time to connect!

Zarko Bilal

Talk to a Warrior Volunteer

While in isolation during transplant, Zarko spent time DJ'ing on the internet to stay connected with family and friends back home in Toronto, Canada. He coordinated 5am sessions across the globe and enjoyed some coffee while playing music for his family and friends. ​

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: May 2021, Moscow, Russia

Vic Bonilla

Talk to a Warrior volunteer

Vic was diagnosed in 2019, pursued HSCT less than two years later, and already feels way better.

Interested to spread the word about HSCT and help remove the fiction of it, Vic is happy to share more about travel, transplant, returning and recovery at home, and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: October 12, 2020, Puebla, Mexico

Allison Carr

Talk to a Warrior volunteer

Allison pursued HSCT at Northwestern University with Dr. Burt in December, 2014. As someone who spent nearly twenty years battling the unknown, Allison was surprised to be approached by a stranger curious about her drop foot, and even more surprised when she was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After battling with insurance to pursue HSCT outside a clinical trial in hopes to avoid the transition to secondary-progressive, and dedicating time to healing her physical body post-transplant, Allison continues to find gratitude and spread hope to others along her journey.

Connect with Allison to learn from her personal, physical and spiritual reflections, and how she is faring post-transplant!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: December 2014, Northwestern University, Chicago US

DeWayne Durr

Advisory Board Member &
Talk to a Warrior volunteer

DeWayne was the first patient at the Cleveland Clinic to receive HSCT to halt his MS. He has already experienced improvement in cognition, walking and balance, though he still has trouble with spasticity and numbness.

DeWayne will be glad to answer your questions and share his experience regarding nearly anything related to HSCT - from experience with the disease and early symptoms to qualifying for the BEAT-MS trial, through HSCT and more than a year of recovery.

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: October 29, 2020, Cleveland, Ohio US

 Ron Gabrielli

Talk to a Warrior Volunteer

Ron feels so blessed by the love and support of so many on his journey, he is eager to pay it forward!

Diagnosed in 2015, Ron has been fortunate to experience many symptomatic improvements post-HSCT. His MS is in remission, no longer requires MS drugs and will talk about any HSCT topic (for days on end, if you let him!)

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: May 6, 2017, Puebla, Mexico

Rachel Gallery

Advisory Board Member
Talk to a Warrior volunteer

Rachel wants to give back and be a sounding board for people who are interested in HSCT. Before HSCT she needed plasmapheresis 3 times a week and was almost bed-bound. Now she is fully mobile, has minimal neuropathy, and works full-time as a research scientist and professor of ecology. Her life after HSCT is.. a new start!

Rachel hopes to answer most questions and connect people with reliable information about HSCT to help them gain confidence in their decision, just as listening to the podcast helped her find confidence with her decision to pursue HSCT.

AI: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy
HSCT: October 19, 2020, Denver, Colorado

Michael Lampdecchio

Talk to a Warrior Volunteer

Mike was diagnosed with an optic neuritis in the summer of 2006 right after completing his bachelor's degree. He initially did not fit the diagnostic criteria for an official diagnosis of multiple sclerosis so as a result was followed for a few years with regular MRI's but did not start any DMTs. He went from 2006 until 2017 without any symptoms. In 2017 he had a flare which resulted in right leg weakness from which he never fully recovered. From 2017 until 2022 Mike's MS had become aggressively active and resistant to some of the "big gun" DMTs such as Gilenya and Ocrevus. After feeling as though he was running out of options and only a matter of time before being wheelchair bound he started doing more research about HSCT. As a working father with two young children, Mike ended up going to Clinica Ruiz in Monterrey Mexico after deciding that the non-myeloablative protocol was better with regard to recovery time and being able to return to work. Mike is happy and willing to share his experience with anyone who is interested and hopes that his insight will alleviate many of the concerns and doubts that come with taking matters regarding one's health into their own hands.

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: January, 2022, Monterrey, Mexico

Jan-Marie Morgan

Advisory Board Member &
Talk to a Warrior volunteer

The first 6 months post-HSCT were a total roller coaster, and a slow decline ended up being attributed to bulging discs on her spine wreaking havoc on mobility. She is now getting injections into the discs and getting stronger daily. She was so impressed with the whole process, she wants to scream it from the mountain tops!

She would be happy to share more about her experience with MS and early symptoms, researching and talking to your doctor about HSCT, choosing a location and traveling for HSCT, the treatment protocol in Mexico, returning home, recovery, and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: June 16, 2020, Monterrey, Mexico

Brent Morgan

Talk to a Warrior Volunteer

Caregiver for his wife, Jan-Marie and part of the first cohort treated after the start of the COVID pandemic. Brent is glad to share his experience helping select a treatment location, visiting the clinic for treatment, travel and lodging tips, what to expect during harvest and transplant from the carer perspective, and more.

In addition to serving as a Talk to a Warrior volunteer, Brent leads the monthly virtual Caregiver's Community. He is Canadian and a super fan of hockey and skiing!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis Carer
HSCT: May 6, 2017, Puebla, Mexico

Anna Mosca

Talk to a Warrior Volunteer

Anna Mosca is a dog groomer and mother of 2 children from Maine, USA. Having a busy, active and healthy lifestyle, the diagnosis of RRMS in January 2022 after a massive relapse came as a complete shock. The future offer of a life on drugs with continued decline was not good enough. After discovering HSCT in an online support group, she became determined to make it happen.

Anna was treated and transplanted at Clinica Ruiz in Puebla on December 4th, 2022. She experienced many improvements in symptoms physically, cognitively, and with her fatigue gone, is able to work and do fun mom things again. She is happy to share more about her personal experience at the clinic with her mother, the care received, fundraising, post HSCT life with a family and pets and how she came to make this decision.

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: December 4, 2022, Puebla, Mexico

Heidi Peterson

Talk to a Warrior volunteer

Heidi has had no new or enhanced lesions since HSCT, and loves connecting with and meeting people to share information that will help people make an informed decision about HSCT.

She is happy to share more about her experience with MS and early symptoms, treatments prior to HSCT, researching and talking to your doctor about HSCT, choosing a location and traveling for HSCT, returning home and recovery, and so much more!

AI: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy
HSCT: August 5, 2019, Monterrey, Mexico

Michele Quiroga

Talk to a Warrior volunteer

Michele lives in Florida and is married with two teenage children. She was diagnosed with MS in 2006 and started DMTs in 2014, having taken Tecphidera, Tysabri and Ocrevus. Frustrated with medications that were not working to halt her MS progression and making her feel terrible, Michele started researching HSCT in 2020. She finally went to Monterrey Mexico in March of 2021 and has had many improvements such as the disappearance of her knee hyperextension, slurred speech and she is getting stronger daily. Michele had a very easy time through HSCT and credits this to the lifestyle and dietary changes she made prior to HSCT. She no longer eats Gluten, dairy or eggs.
Exercise, eating greens, and positivity is what everyone needs in her opinion. She has had no new lesions on MRI since HSCT and she is living her best life.

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: March, 2021, Monterrey, Mexico

Charissa Rigano

Advisory Board Member &
Talk to a Warrior volunteer

Charissa was first diagnosed in 1995 and wants to help people interested in HSCT and debunk a lot of the myths around the treatment.

She is happy to share more about her experience with disease and early symptoms, talking with your doctor about HSCT, choosing a location, what to expect for your first visit and scheduling treatment, insurance and paying for treatment, travel, and all aspects of the harvest, transplant, recovery at home and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: December 6, 2020, Puebla, Mexico

Lynn Rogers

Advisory Board Member
Talk to a Warrior Volunteer

Lynn was diagnosed in 2017 and believes that believe information is power; "the more we know, the best choices we can make for our health," she says. Lynn is a non-responder to HSCT, as her major symptoms returned within 3 months. However some symptoms have improved and she battles on!

Lynn is a scientist and an athlete and has been active with running, CrossFit, and Triathlon for decades. She continues to train and compete. Her science background is in Biomedical Engineering and Neuroscience. She geeks out on the science of HSCT and is happy to talk through nearly any topic related to HSCT!

AI: Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy
HSCT: October 2020, Monterrey, Mexico

Jen Stansbury Koenig

Advisory Board Member
Talk to a Warrior volunteer

During her time through transplant, Jen preferred to surround herself with all things positive. The team at Northwestern contributed to the calm environment and even embraced her nickname, "zen Jen". As she listened to podcasts to pass the time while inpatient, Jen imagined that creating a podcast might help ease the minds of other HSCT 'hopefuls'... thanks to her close friends and several brave HSCT Warriors, the HSCT Warriors Podcast has become a resource for people worldwide. Out of the podcast, the nonprofit organization HSCT Warriors, Inc. was incorporated in 2019 and we remain ever grateful for the dedication of our volunteers!

Jen is happy to discuss nearly any aspect of HSCT with you, and so much more!

AI: Multiple Sclerosis
HSCT: October 18, 2017, Chicago, IL