ABOUT INVISIBLE WARRIOR

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller

The road to creating Invisible Warrior began as many journeys do - with a diversion to what we thought was our path. In July of 2018, our founder, John Clark, was heading to an adult league basketball game, and suddenly found he could not keep his balance. Many weeks later, after countless doctor evaluations and diagnostic tests, he was diagnosed with Susac Syndrome, a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system is mistakenly attacking the lining of the smallest blood vessels in the brain, the retina of the eye and inner ear. This disease caused the sudden loss of a majority of his hearing (he has about 40% hearing in his left ear and only 10% hearing in his right), spots on his peripheral vision, and cognitive function issues (such as slurred speech, problems with gait, fine motor dysfunction, and short-term memory loss). 

After months of struggle, adjusting to his new body, feeling angry at his body and the world, John decided the time for self pity had passed, and it was time to take action to help others who are facing invisible illnesses. His goal with this organization is to give those who feel they do not have a voice the opportunity to speak; to give those who feel no one understands a chance to find someone who does; to give those who feel hopeless a reason to hope again.

Please join our growing ranks and help spread the word that your invisible fight has been seen and recognized!

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John grew up in North Carolina. Following college, he explored the country and the world via the Air Force, calling places like California and Guam home. Following his return to NC, John worked in a family business until his Susac Syndrome diagnosis, which left him unable to continue in his role. Following a period of recovery and self reflection, he is fully engaged in Invisible Warrior, has written a novel regarding his experience (to be published), and enrolled in nursing school, which furthers his mission to help those in need. When not involved with the above, John enjoys spending time with his family, including his daughter, his girlfriend, and two cats! John resides in the Charlotte, NC metro area.

Founder

JOHN CLARK

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Coming soon...

Thought Leader and Contributor

EMMA BECKEMEYER

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Born in Germany to American parents, Cathy had a love for words and language from an early age, writing her own stories from the time she was in grade school. Following the death of her father in 1975, her family permanently returned to the United States, living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. She got married, had two children (one of whom is Hannah, below!), and her subsequent divorce led her back from Texas to Maryland. In 2012, she was diagnosed with a stress fracture of her left femur with an idiopathic etiology (unknown cause), and has since been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Morphea, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis. She moved to the Charlotte, NC metro area with her family in 2015, works as a sales writer for a DC-based software firm, and loves reading, writing, and rescuing cats!

Editor and Contributor

CATHY THORNTON

Hannah grew up in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area Following high school, she pursued a degree in Opera Performance before withdrawing to care for her terminally ill grandmother. After the passing of her grandmother, she channeled her love for animals into a career as a veterinary nurse, caring for cats and dogs at a small-animal practice in Virginia. Once her daughter was born, she made the transition to a more traditional role, working as a sales writer for a DC-based software company. She moved down to North Carolina in 2015 and works remotely from her home. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, singing karaoke, spending time with her family, and continuing her work with animals by actively rescuing and rehabilitating feral cats! Hannah resides in the Charlotte, NC metro area.

Director of Operations

HANNAH SAUNDERS

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