Leadership

Those who link hearts and hands to serve those affected by chronic physical and mental illness to THRIVE.

Pamela Piquette

Pamela Piquette

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Pamela is a leader and a visionary following God’s call to inspire those affected by chronic illness to discover hope, find purpose, embrace worth and encounter joy. She believes that every precious life affected by chronic illness is both vital and purposed.

Pamela is a wife of more than 30 years, mother of three married children and grandmother of three adorable grandchildren. Her work experience includes: banking, branch management, marketing, and development of comprehensive training programs. She has served in a variety of ministries within the church including: developing and coordinating a curricula team, organizing training events and in multiple leadership positions. Pamela worked on staff with No Regrets Men’s Ministry and in a large hospitality ministry as Volunteer, Communications and Events Coordinator. Pamela is passionate and gifted speaker.

Pamela is diagnosed with a list of invisible illnesses, including Ehlers-Danlos, dysautonomia, fibromyalgia and chronic migraines.

Cindee Snider Re

Cindee Snider Re

Author, Photographer, and Co-Founder

Cindee is a writer, photographer, wife, and mama of five (ages 17-25), whose work experience includes: communications, marketing, and volunteer management for the Arthritis Foundation, WI Chapter, copy-editing for Narada Productions, and content writing and photography for several ministry organizations and publications, including: The High Calling, Outside the City Gate, and C’est la Vie, The Magazine.

Cindee and four of her five children are diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos, Dysautonomia, and myriad co-existing conditions. She and her husband currently serve as patient representatives on a board of physicians and research scientists developing the Pediatric Consensus Statement on Orthostatic Intolerance Disorders.

Volunteers

Bettie Gilbert

Bettie Gilbert

Volunteer Prayer Coordinator and A Voice of Chronic Joy®

You can find Bettie blogging from her home in a small town in southeast Wisconsin - at bettiegraseasons.com, walking forward with Jesus, in the middle of her own pain and weaknesses from multiple chronic illnesses. The beauty of nature is a joy that calls to Bettie, as do her family and seven young grandchildren. She and her husband have been married for over 40 years and take great joy in their weekend coffee breaks together. In addition, Bettie is the Chronic Joy Prayer Pond coordinator.

Karin Fendick

Karin Fendick

Poet, Author, Poetry Coordinator, and A Voice of Chronic Joy®

Karin is a handmaiden of the Lord; saved by grace; a worshiper; a poet; a broken heart; a lover of words; hungry for truth; amazed by love; on the Potter's wheel His work in progress. After five years in Africa, Karin and her beloved husband of twenty years, Rick, are back in rural Canada where chronic pain drives her to the feet of Jesus. She is powered by prayer, love, and many cups of strong coffee. Author of From Ashes to Glory (A Psalm a Day).

Hailey Hudson

Hailey Hudson

Volunteer Social Media Coordinator

Hailey is a full-time freelance writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. At 21 years old, Hailey has been chronically ill for several years and has been diagnosed with several conditions that have primarily neurological manifestations - she deals with chronic pain, fatigue, GI issues, and other symptoms on a daily basis. Hailey is passionate about doing ministry and advocacy work in the area of chronic illness and is currently writing a book on how the American church can better support its chronically ill members. As her health allows, she loves to read, dance in shows at her local theatre, and write letters to her many pen pals. She is learning day by day how to dwell with the Lord. Check out Hailey's blog.

Sean Keller

Sean Keller

Volunteer Project Coordinator

Sean Keller is a creative entrepreneur passionate about empowering people through vulnerable storytelling. His drive to share raw, truthful content flows from wrestling through his own health journey since age 12. That struggle serves as his foundation for connecting authentically to Jesus, people and his craft.

Emerson Mertens

Emerson Mertens

Chronic Joy® Creative Contributor

Emerson is a graphic designer, photographer, and artist with over twenty years of experience in the arts. She began her artistic training in classical ballet and the performing arts, which led to a career as a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer. Emerson is inspired by her life-long love of the arts to create unique digital media and photo art, and she combines her years of experience with the skills gained from her college studies. She now works with HeatherMertens.org building websites and creating graphic media and digital art for clients. In 2019, Emerson graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Religion: Biblical and Theological Studies with an emphasis in Photography and Graphic Design.
Elyse Ogbourne

Elyse Ogbourne

Chronic Joy® Creative Contributor

Elyse is a college student with a fondness for the outdoors. After a simple slip on the ice left her with a chronic pain syndrome, she began to see how God really does work all things for good. Armed with Biblical truth and her TENS unit, Elyse uses her experiences to encourage young adults with the message that they can thrive in the face of difficult circumstances.

Dana Beth Stenholtz

Dana Beth Stenholtz

Chronic Joy® #PenToPaper Ambassador

Dana is a freelance writer and poet. She lives with Bipolar and Fibromyalgia, and believes firmly in the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, which states, “’I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.’” By sending hand-written notes to friends and neighbors, Dana hopes to encourage people to find joy in the midst of whatever struggles they find themselves. She stands firm on the motto that we are not alone, knowing that can make all the difference.

S.G. Willoughby

S.G. Willoughby

Author and Chronic Joy® Ministry Partner

Sara is the author of He’s Making Diamonds: A Teen's Thoughts On Faith Through Chronic Illness and the founder of the annual Diamonds Conference for chronically ill Christians. She loves to write and have adventures - be it a new board game with her family, trying a weird food, or diving into a fantasy book. Sara is a TCK, a Lymie, and a Young Life Leader. She is also a Chronic Joy Contributing Writer and a #PenToPaper Ambassador.

 

Megan Willome

Megan Willome

Poet, Author, Poetry Coordinator, and A Voice of Chronic Joy®

Megan is a contributing writer for Wacoan magazine in Waco, Texas, the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, and Magnolia Journal. She is also an editor at T.S. Poetry Press and the author of The Joy of PoetryShe lives in the Texas Hill Country, where she writes and edits from home. Links to her work can be found at her website, meganwillome.com and Twitter. Megan's day is incomplete without poetry and tea.

Voices of Chronic Joy

Sandra Heska King

Sandra Heska King

Nurse, Writer, Poet, and A Voice of Chronic Joy®

Sandra is a wife of over 48 years, adoptive mom to two, and “nama” to four (almost five.) She has worked in multiple nursing specialties, including family practice, OB/GYN, operating room, and public health. She writes from her home in South Florida where she lives on the edge of the Everglades. She loves to hike and photograph wildlife, and sometimes even kayaks with alligators. She is addicted to books, Häagen-Dazs® Coffee Almond Crunch ice cream bars, and jasmine tea. Sandra posts photos on Instagram, writes sporadically on her blog, and is a contributing writer and social media team manager for Tweetspeak Poetry. Her daughter is diagnosed with Crohn’s and RA.

Natalie Ogbourne

Natalie Ogbourne

Writer, Speaker, and A Voice of Chronic Joy®

Natalie is a writer, speaker, and reluctant hiker who’s discovered that finding her way in the woods helps her navigate the landscape of life by faith.  She weaves tales from the trail with biblical truths and practical tools to encourage and equip others. A lifelong Iowan with a longstanding fear of cows, she’s survived a snowmobile-windshield-to-nostril standoff with a half-ton bison, a trip into the backcountry with recreationally-unstable fishing guide, and a trek across a clifftop pursued by a bear. Her favorite adventure, though, is doing life with her husband and children, including two daughters with chronic illnesses. She shares about these experiences to inspire others to travel their own terrain by faith.

Jan VanKooten

Jan VanKooten

A Voice of Chronic Joy®

Jan and her husband divide their time between Sterling, Alaska and Sedona, Arizona, where she is a choir director at the Methodist Church, ministering through music, even in retirement.

Jan's love of words fills the spaces in between being a wife, mom, grandmother, and retired music educator. Equipped through years of experience teaching, conducting, and accompanying, Jan's goal is to raise awareness of music-making as avocation, delight, recreation, meditation, and calling.

Music is an avenue of personal and corporate expression, meditation, and worship - a way of opening God's creation to exploration, examination, understanding, wonder, and praise to the Creator, which is fulfillment of man's purpose to glorify God and enjoy Him forever!

Diana Gish

Diana Gish

A Voice of Chronic Joy®

Diana is currently a Learning Design Specialist for VIQ Solutions in the Phoenix metropolitan area. She is married 52 years to her husband who is a retired pastor. They have two children, four grandchildren, one great grandchild; a silky Yorkie, Maestro Lord Rockefeller, and a Goldendoodle, Oopsy Daisy, Crazy Daisy Genevieve Gish - each with delightful back-stories! She has been published in career journals and is halfway through writing her first (Erma Bombeck wannabe) book.

Board of Directors

Heidi Peterson

Heidi Peterson

Secretary

Heidi is a loving wife and dedicated mother to three beautiful children. Her journey with chronic illness began in childhood as a witness to the progression of a genetic, neurological disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth. She completed her BSN in 2006 and has been professionally assisting those with chronic illness since. In 2009, Heidi’s daughter was prenatally diagnosed with a complex congenital heart defect, PA/IVS. In 2014, Heidi’s son was diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder and food allergies. As an effort to gain additional knowledge, she went back to school and completed an MS in Health and Wellness in 2017. Throughout her experience with chronic illness, Heidi has learned that prayer is a powerful gift and that the presence of God is felt in many unexpected ways.

Eric Steingraeber

Eric Steingraeber

Board Member

Eric earned his BS degree in Architectural Engineering from MSOE. He has been employed as an Architectural Designer, an Architectural Project Manager and Construction Manager. Eric has been involved with both men’s and couple’s ministry with Elmbrook Church for the last 20 years. He has a heart for serving and missions, and traveled to Haiti to serve with his daughter a few years ago, reaching those in need through building both homes and relationships. Eric has been married for twenty-three years and has two teenagers, a son diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and a daughter diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Eric is an avid sports fan who enjoys coaching and mentoring kids in a wide variety of sports, believing that coaching, like teaching, is a means of helping kids find their true potential in all aspects of their lives.
Jenni Steingraeber

Jenni Steingraeber

Board Member

Jenni earned her BSN from Viterbo College over 30 years ago. She has spent time in cardiac nursing and much of her career has been spent in the operating room, ranging from staff nurse to charge nurse. She currently serves as a clinical liaison for a wide range of immediate and extended family members. Chronic illness is no stranger as Jenni has lived with and cared for family members since childhood. She has been active at Elmbrook Church in both women’s and couple’s ministries, and has served with a variety of mission groups in both a medical and non-medical capacity. The latest adventure was a medical mission trip to Haiti utilizing True North, a boat, as their main base to reach remote villages. Jenni has been married to Eric for 23 years, and they have a 19-year-old son who has Type 1 Diabetes and a 16-year-old daughter who is currently in remission with her Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Her husband Eric has a chronic condition, requiring multiple surgeries and life-long monitoring. Jenni is also affected by childhood scoliosis, which has become a chronic pain issue as she ages.
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Advisory Council

Mike Juneau

Mike Juneau

Treasurer

Mike retired from a 37-year career as CPA for Briggs & Stratton Corporation, where he developed the tax department, worked as assistant treasurer, chaired the company retirement plan committees and managed the plan investments. In addition, Mike is an ordained elder and has managed church finances at several churches. In 2006, he was on a team that assisted an inner city non-profit academy in developing its finance and strategy plans. Mike has been married to his wife Mary for 52 years. They have four adult children and six grandchildren, and have fostered more than 20 pre-adoption infants for Milwaukee County, before adopting their daughter Samantha, who has been on a ventilator for more than twenty-five years. Mike’s wife Mary has a chronic autoimmune disease. Daily, he experiences the role of caregiver, supporting and advocating for both his wife and daughter.

Julie Sheridan-Smith

Julie Sheridan-Smith

Pastoral Advisor

Julie is a mother, wife, ordained minister, and a founding board member. She and her husband have three adult children. Julie became personally aware of chronic pain when her daughter began experiencing constant and excruciating back pain, resulting in surgery. Yet the pain continued and other unexplained issues began – nausea, stomach pain, and inability to keep food down. During her senior year in high school, her daughter became gravely ill with gastroparesis and spent much of her senior year in and out of the hospital. The quest for relief and solutions, the ongoing struggle of chronic illness, and the anxiety that accompanies both has drawn Julie to seek to know and speak of God’s presence in and through the reality of chronic pain – both for the one experiencing it and for those who love them.

Jeff Piquette

Jeff Piquette

Information Systems Advisor and Volunteer Project Coordinator

Jeff began his partnership with Chronic Joy® as we took our first fledgling steps, answering technical questions, helping when needed, and most importantly teaching us so we can grow.

Jeff graduated from University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee with BS in Computer Science.

Jeff’s patient, unruffled demeanor, expertise, willingness to serve, faithfully and quietly behind-the-scenes continues today with his church, with Chronic Joy Ministry and with his family.

Jeff is a quiet, thoughtful, dedicated husband, father, son and IT professional.

Click here to read more about Jeff.

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