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Dr. Phyllisa Deroze is a global diabetes patient advocate, blogger, Founder of Black Diabetic Info, and Director of Content Strategy at dQ&A. She began blogging almost immediately after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011. In 2019, after becoming extremely ill, she learned that she had been misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes for eight years and was finally given the correct diagnosis—Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults.
In 2023, Phyllisa published a children’s book, Diabetes Helpers, with her daughter. The first of its kind, the book honors children who have loved ones with diabetes. Considered one of the most prolific writers on the representation of diabetes in African American literature and popular culture, Phyllisa builds community through storytelling by drawing on a Ph.D. in English Literature from Pennsylvania State University, a ten-year career as a university professor, her Fulbright Scholar expertise, and her own experiences living with diabetes. Her motto “Diagnosed Not Defeated” is an inspiration for all.
Jenna Cantamessa is from sunny Queensland, Australia. Diagnosed at 19 years old with Type 1 Diabetes, she is the personality behind the Instagram page ‘Typeonevibes’. Jenna studied a Bachelor of Business and works as a Marketing Advisor at a University. She’s also the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Young Leader in Diabetes for Australia and sits on the Diabetes Australia Community Advisory Council. Jenna’s unique and artistic approach to engaging with the diabetes community showcases her passion for advocacy through art and it’s what she’s passionate about – she’s excited to be a part of the 2023 judging panel.
Leonie (36) is a Dutch photographer. After she graduated from the Art Academy St Joost in 2011 she started working as a freelance photographer. Her mission is to contribute to a more equal, sustainable and tolerant multicultural society. At the moment she is working as a commercial advertising photographer while also finding her voice as an independent artist. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in May 2018.
Mateusz comes from the street trend of creating graffiti art and has years of experience in organizing art competitions, graffiti jams and music events. He works as an illustrator and a graphic designer. He is also a writer and a poet. In the past, he worked as a DJ and a host during art events. Diabetes is close to his heart as his dad was diagnosed with diabetes.
Gina Anzures, also called Gina Pillina, is a Mexican illustrator and comic artist who loves to tell entertaining and funny stories through charming characters and colourful palettes. Gina draws comic strips as well, in which she informs in a humorous way about Type 1 diabetes with her cute character Gina Pillina. Gina is currently doing her MFA in Illustration at SCAD, Atlanta. She did her bachelor’s degree in graphic design at Universidad Anáhuac Puebla and completed a master’s degree in 3D animation at Coco School, Spain. Her work has been awarded by the famous Mexican contest a! Diseño. She was also one of the shortlisted winners of This is Diabates Photo and Art Competition in 2021.