Meet Our Ambassadors
Simran Bansal, Long Island
Hi! My name is Simran Bansal and I am 17 years old. I am currently a junior in high school and live in Long Island, New York. 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. In middle school, my life was constantly uprooted as I moved from treatment center to treatment center, away from my family, friends, and school. When my psychological health took a turn for the worst, I desperately needed treatment. However, the insurance company looked at me merely as a number, judging that I was too “medically stable” to receive intervention. It was not until I hit rock bottom six months later that they covered my stay at a hospital. My point is, we should not have to wait until we are near our deathbed to receive help. My experience of being denied treatment when I needed it most has inspired me to be a part of the Project Heal community. I know how essential getting treatment is for those with eating disorders—financial strains should not be blocking the road to recovery.
In my free time, I love to play piano, take photographs, volunteer at my local children’s hospital, and play tennis. If I am not found sleeping on top of my piles of textbooks or cramming for a test, I am probably writing for my blog, Numbers Don’t Define Us. Numbers Don’t Define Us is a site I made to help other adolescents struggling with body image and to foster recovery through language, imagery, and self-expression. When I grow up, I want to become a surgeon (inspired by Grey’s Anatomy) and an author. Ideally, in 20 years, I would be sitting on a beautiful beach in Hawaii writing my next novel!
Ayanna Bates, Queens, NY
Ayanna Bates resides in Queens, NY and is an Ambassador with the Project HEAL- NYC Chapter serving the Queens community.
Ayanna is a mental health advocate and a recovery warrior. She joined forces with Project HEAL to start a conversation surrounding eating disorders and other mental health issues within her community. Bates understands the struggle that comes along with having an eating disorder, as she went through it herself.
Project HEAL encourages us that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Ayanna Bates' greatest passion is helping people; and she believes that working with Project HEAL is a beautiful way to extend this help.
Addison Black, Utah
Addison Black resides in Orem, Utah
Addison is earning a degree in Public Relations in communication at Utah Valley University.
As a Project HEAL co-ambassador, Addison is dedicated to bettering education and prevention in eating disorders as well as raising funds for those suffering with eating disorders.
She can often be found teaching dance to her darling students, roller skating at her local rink, and jamming out to good music with good friends.
Addison's favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.
Brenna Briggs, South Shore, ma
Brenna resides in Rockland, MA and is the Boston Chapter Ambassador for the South Shore.
Brenna is a Registered Medical Assistant at a Family Medicine Practice. Brenna also plans to finish her degree in Social Work and is starting to take core classes, but my favorite job is being a Mom to my beautiful, yet super sassy daughter's Brooke & Cayleigh.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Brenna is dedicated to promoting a HEALing environment where everyone on the South Shore can have access to all of the amazingness that Project HEAL Boston has to offer. She is passionate about her recovery and makes it a priority to share her battle with anorexia, bulimia, and depression as a teenager and young adult. Brenna knows that recovery is possible and wants to make sure that others struggling know that they are strong enough to fight their inner demons too. Brenna had a great support support system who took it upon themselves to learn and educate themselves on eating disorders and how to help her in recovery. Brenna feels extremely lucky that she was able to get the treatment that she deserved, which saved her life. She knows that no everyone is quite so lucky which is why she will go above and beyond to educate and speak out regarding eating disorders, mental health, and the stigma that surrounds these disorders.
Brenna is a dancer by heart and you can find her dancing through life while doing her household chores and playing with her kids. Brenna's favorite ice cream flavor is Mint chocolate chip.
Tracey Buckley, Western Australia
Tracey resides in Perth Western Australia. Tracey is earning a Diploma in Counseling from Australian Institute of Professional Counseling.As a Project HEAL National Ambassador, Tracey is dedicated to advocating that recovery is possible. She is passionate about speaking and sharing her journey, blogging, singing and anything creative. She is also passionate about making a difference.
Tracey loves soft serve ice cream.
Sierralyn Cadima, Southern Massachusetts
Sierralyn Cadima resides in Fall River, Massachusetts. Sierralyn is a Group Leader in a School-Age Child Care program, as well as a Certified Private Tutor who works with children ages 5-14 years old to help them learn, explore, and grow. Sierralyn is earning a degree in Elementary Education from Bristol Community College.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Sierralyn is dedicated to raising awareness and increasing education about eating disorders and co-occurring conditions.
She can often be found at home, either doing homework or laughing with her little brother and sister (usually both at the same time).
Sierralyn loves almost all ice cream flavors, but will usually opt for Peanut Butter Cup.
Maya Chandy, Santa Barbara, CA
Maya Chandy resides in Santa Barbara, California. Maya is earning a degree in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. As a Project HEAL National Ambassador, Maya is dedicated to offering support, guidance, and information to those dealing with eating disorders and hopes to help people with loved ones who are struggling express empathy and understanding. She is passionate about reading, journaling, and visiting new coffee shops. Maya’s favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate-chip-cookie-dough!
Mackenzie Fox- Nashville, TN
Mackenzie Fox resides in Nashville, TN. Mackenzie is earning a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Mackenzie is dedicated to fundraising, education and helping Project HEAL start a chapter in Nashville.
Mackenzie is passionate about power lifting, exploring new places and eating disorder advocacy work.
Mackenzie’s favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip!
Amanda Frothingham, Northern Georgia
Amanda Frothingham resides in Athens, Georgia. Amanda Is earning a degree in Dietetics from the University of Georgia
As a Project HEAL ambassador, Amanda is dedicated to bringing a light to eating disorders through educating her community on the serious affects Eating disorders can have and sharing her story of recovering from restrictive eat and over exercising as a dancer.
She can often be found in the dance studio, studying, or baking up a storm in the kitchen.
Amanda’s favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate peanut butter cup.
Robyn Gonzales, Nebraska
Robyn Gonzales is a mom of five kids, yoga instructor, and her full time job is as a Data Manager for the Nebraska Department of Education. She has a degree in Political Science and Religion from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Upon graduation, she was awarded a State Department Fulbright Grant conducting research in Ukraine. When she isn’t working or busy with her kids, she can be found running races, and, in a rare quiet moment, likes to read.
Robyn knows the effects of eating disorders firsthand. She struggled with Anorexia Nervosa for nearly 26 years with various relapses and the most severe upon turning 30, over 3 years ago. Robyn understands the struggle of admitting having a problem, seeking the help of professionals, and most importantly having and relying on the support of others. She attributes the success in her two years of recovery to being open and honest about her struggles and, for her specifically, holding herself publicly accountable to people got her through. Her motto is Relentless Forward Motion, admitting that it is not always or often easy but it is so worth it.
As a Project Heal Ambassador, Robyn wants to spread awareness, education, and hope for anyone struggling with an eating disorder and those who serve in a support role to a loved one with an eating disorder. She wants to not only bring attention to this cause, but to help create resources for those in need and work to provide body positive supports and eating disorder awareness and education to local schools as they are a critical influence on our kids’ lives.
Emma Holland, Utah
Emma resides in Provo, Utah. Emma is earning a degree in Nursing with a double minor in Women’s Studies & International Development from Brigham Young University.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Emma is dedicated to educate and shift the culture around eating disorders in her community, as well as help those around her celebrate their bodies!
She can often be found meditating somewhere surrounded by trees, eating oreos dipped in peanut butter, or laughing with her family.
Emma’s favorite ice cream flavor is Graham Canyon from BYU Creamery.
Sarah Lee, Destin, FLorida
Sarah Lee resides in Destin, Florida, where she works full-time in the broadcasting industry. Her personal passion is for coaching young women to help them achieve peace with food and body. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Coach, specializing in Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy, Sarah is spreading optimism that full and lasting recovery is possible through self-discovery and trusting one’s unique gifts. She is also working towards a third certification in Eating Disorder Recovery Coaching from the Carolyn Costin Institute.
By being a Project HEAL National Ambassador, Sarah is dedicated to educating, bringing awareness, debunking misconceptions and making a huge dent in the relapse rate of eating disorders. She is on a serious mission and more convicted than ever to spread body positivity and aid in a healthy and balanced approach towards food.
Throughout her twenties, Sarah struggled with Bulimia and is now over thirteen years recovered. She knows that God helped her through her experiences and darkness to serve others in finding the light they desperately seek, making it her life purpose.
Spending time with the love of her life, especially exploring new restaurants with innovative cuisine, is one of her cherished activities. She has a son in college and two fur-babies at home that fill her heart with so much joy. Long walks on the beach and tuning in through yoga, rejuvenates her, invariably. Born and raised in Texas, where she still often visits, a love for guacamole and chips was in, of which at one time she was terrified. Now she can enjoy this favorite without that detrimental fear or guilt, reinforcing her firm desire to assist women in discovering this same freedom.
Rebecca Leung, Hong Kong
Rebecca Leung resides in Hong Kong.
Rebecca is an Actress and Writer who currently works with a magazine and shares personal accounts, both funny/outrageous or life-shaping, and the lessons learned from these experiences.
As a Project HEAL International Ambassador, Rebecca is dedicated to completely changing the negative food and body image conversation in Hong Kong to one that doesn’t include manipulating your body to feel a sense of worth.
She wants to build a powerful community of people in recovery who support one another and wholeheartedly know that they can make a positive impact on the world and do not shy away from it, in fear.
She is passionate about music, dance and poetry and is currently discovering ways on how to pursue a career which combines all three passions.
Rebecca's favourite ice cream flavour is chocolate chip cookie dough.
Belle Messier, Canada
Belle is finishing her final year of high school and will continue to pursue her acting career.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Belle is dedicated to improving education, changing the stigma and empowering people who struggle with eating disorders and mental health. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders and anxiety In the past she would love to be a voice to show that recovery is possible.
Belle is passionate about acting, dance, and equestrian she is always working towards her goals and competes at a high equestrian level. Belle also competes in pageants where her platform is centred on eating disorders/ mental health.
Belle’s favorite ice cream flavor is cappuccino by coconut bliss.
Brittany MuelleR, Houston
A devoted wife and mother, Brittany Mueller considers it not only her job but also her passion to raise a family who understands the effects of mental health and eating disorders.
Brittany, herself, is one of those of those who has been affected. As a teen and young adult she battled depression, addiction, self- harm, eating disorders and suicidal attempts. Brittany knows all too well the difficulties that face young men and women today to fit into a mold that has been created. Through this she was inspired to create her platform “Be Fearlessly Authentic” which teaches men and women of all ages that being true to yourself and who you are is more important than fitting a mold. Brittany partners with Project Heal as a National Ambassador and National Eating Disorder Association as an advocate to promote this platform.
As a Project HEAL National advocate, Brittany makes sure that those who struggle are aware of full recovery and the assistance that Project Heal provides.She is also vocal in the need for funding of this important disorder, it does not go unnoticed that for every person who is struggling and has been diagnosed the funding is $0.93/person.
Brittany credits her mother and grandmother for showing her what it takes to be a fighter and to never give up in the face of adversity.
Brittany lives in Katy, Texas with her husband Brad, her son Parker and her mini Aussie Bailee. Brittany graduated from University of Central Oklahoma with a General Business degree and works at Nalco Champion with her husband. When she is not working or busy being an Ambassador for Project HEAL she enjoys bible study, reading suspense novels, jogging, and cooking.
Jill Nolan, Pittsburgh
Jill Nolan lives in Mt. Lebanon, PA and is a wife and mother of two teenagers.
Jill earned a degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a law degree from Duquesne University. She practiced law for 18 years and is now active in the Pittsburgh non-profit community.
As a Project Heal Ambassador, Jill is dedicated to the prevention and recovery of eating disorders through raising awareness, education, and access to treatment. She is recovered from her past struggles with anorexia, but understands the frustration of suffering relapses and how isolating an eating disorder can feel. She wants others to know they are not alone on their journey to recovery.
Jill is passionate about her work with two health-related non-profit boards and supporting arts scholarships at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Bowling Green State University. She loves her morning coffee, long walks, and coffee ice cream with a little chocolate on the side!
Abigail O’Laughlin, Florida
Abigail O’Laughlin resides in Destin, Florida.
Abby is a National High School Ambassador for Project HEAL in Destin, FL.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Abby is dedicated to spreading awareness of eating disorders throughout her local community.
She can often be found discussing mental health, photographing her best friends, petting her 3 cats, and spending way too much at Starbucks.
Abby’s favorite ice cream flavor is Huckleberry!
Michaela Ozier, Pittsburg, KansaS
Michaela Ozier resides in Pittsburg, Kansas.
Michaela is earning a degree in Psychology from Pittsburg State University.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Michaela is dedicated to educating the community about eating disorders and spreading awareness against eating disorder stereotypes, including those involving race, gender, or sexuality. She believes everyone can find health regardless of size and full recovery from an eating disorder is possible.
She is passionate about sexual assault prevention and awareness, intersectional feminism, and psychology. She can often be found dancing at a concert, drawing in her sketchbook, or cooking with her roommates.
Michaela’s absolute favorite ice cream in the world is Blue Bunny's Birthday Party ice cream.
Eva Romanoff, New York, NY
Eva Romanoff resides in Manhattan, New York City and serves as a National High School Ambassador for Project HEAL.
Eva is a high schools student who works with teens to help spread awareness about eating disorders and hope that a complete recovery is possible.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Eva is dedicated to helping young adults understand the seriousness of eating disorders, while maintaining the belief that recovery is 100% attainable.
She is passionate about horseback riding, her friendships, and doing good in the world.
Eva’s favorite ice cream flavor is coffee with chocolate chips.
Florence Taglight, United Kingdom
Florence Taglight resides in London, England
Florence is a student who is studying fashion business
As a Project HEAL international ambassador, Florence is dedicated to bringing the the recovery IS possible mindset to London and the U.K. She is passionate about Dogs, Coffee & Writing ( + Glitter) and can often be found writing in coffee shops early in the mornings after walking her two english setters first thing to gain a mental perspective for the day to come.
Florence’s favorite ice cream flavor is Straciatella Gelato from the streets of Venice bringing back strong childhood memories.
julianne oliver, atlanta, ga
Julianne Oliver resides in Cumming, GA.
Julianne is in an educational gap year, and during this year she is volunteering at Grady Memorial Hospital and conducting clinical research.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Julianne is dedicated to ensuring everyone actively battling or in recovery from an eating disorder feels supported and empowered, and she is also dedicated to educating her community about eating disorders and the importance of mental health.
She is passionate about running, women's health, and playing with her four pound Yorkipoo.
Julianne's favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate chip cookie dough.
Rebekah Wheeler, Oklahoma
Rebekah Wheeler resides in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Rebekah is a wife, mom, and volunteer who works with young people to believe in themselves and promote positive self-image.
As a Project HEAL National Ambassador, Rebekah is dedicated to speaking to as many schools and civic groups as possible to raise awareness and funds for Project HEAL.
She is passionate about podcasts, glitter, and spending time with family and friends.
Rebekah’s favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate almond milk.
Zach s, great falls, mt
Zach resides in Great Falls, MT.
Zach is a senior from Great Falls High.
As a Project HEAL National High School Ambassador, Zach is dedicated to raising awareness of eating disorders within the Great Falls community and state of Montana, organizing preventative efforts to promote positive body image among young people, and fundraising to ensure that students around the country can benefit from the treatment assistance programs Project HEAL generously offers.
He can often be found awake at 2 AM finishing articles for the Great Falls Tribune and Affinity Magazine, volunteering for Key Club and Student Council, and travelling the state for speech meets.
Zach’s favorite ice cream flavor is rocky road, because it reminds him that even though life can be a bit of a bumpy ride, you should savor every minute of it!
Christina, Pensacola, FL
Christina currently resides in Pensacola, FL. She graduated from the Coast Guard Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and Computer Analysis. She aspires to be a Coast Guard Aviator at the end of her tour in Pensacola.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Christina is dedicated to promoting balance and hope to people struggling with eating disorders no matter what their background or profession. You are worth this beautiful life you were given and life is too short to struggle alone. She wants to encourage folks to be brave and take the first step to their freeing road to recovery. She can often be found hiking with her husband, playing with their adorable kitten and puppy, or on the yoga mat.
Christina’s favorite ice cream flavor is mocha chocolate chip.
Mona currently resides in Chicago, IL – being originally from Japan.
She holds MSc: Eating Disorders and Clinical Nutrition from University College London (London, U.K.) and is currently pursuing her second master in MS Coordinated Program at University of Illinois at Chicago to become a registered dietitian (RD) specializing in eating disorders (EDs).
Mona has been a recovery mentor at a few eating disorders organizations including ANAD for 2 years and has worked with over 30 mentees who are in recovery from various types of EDs from U.S., U.K., Canada, and Japan. Using that experience, she is now co-founding a mentoring service in Japan with her co-ambassador, Maaya.
As a Project HEAL International Ambassador, Mona is dedicated to destigmatizing EDs by spreading right and unbiased facts about EDs and to introduce and emphasize the importance of various types and levels of treatments including IOP, PHP, and residentials in addition to what Japan has now which is mostly an inpatient physical treatment at critical stage.
Mona is passionate about providing as many resources and recovery tips as possible to underserved populations and has translated “Eating in the Light of the Moon” into Japanese in 2016. She also continues to share her recovery journey and tips on regular basis on her personal blog. In addition, she runs a bilingual blog sharing recipes that are friendly for those in recovery with her friend who is a recovering RD in Japan. Other than ED-related works, she plays the piano and violin, dances classical ballet and enjoys tumbling/floor exercises.
Surasya, Clayton, Nc
Surasya is from Clayton, North Carolina. She has always had a clear fascination for health and physiology but it wasn’t until insecurities from feeling like an outcast in a rural Southern town led to her developing anorexia nervosa freshman year of high school that she came to truly appreciate the amazing resilience of the human body. Now in active recovery, Surasya is currently a junior at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina with the ambition of becoming a neuroendocrinologist in the future.
As a Project HEAL Ambassador, Surasya is dedicated to promoting the notion that health can be found at any size and raising eating disorder awareness against stereotypes involving gender, race, and sexuality. She is passionate about neuroscience research, contemporary flute music, artistic fashion, and vegan nutrition. She can often be found playing jazz on her flute, sipping exotic tea, listening to podcasts on a scenic walk, or reading the latest edition of Scientific American.
Surasya would gladly eat any flavor of ice cream (given that it's ethically produced) but if she had to make the impossible decision to choose her favorite flavor, she would say lavender-pistachio with a generous sprinkle of hazelnuts.