Meet Connie Stevens!
Connie is Operations Advisor for the DRESS Syndrome Foundation (DSF) and also the host of our podcast, Addressing DRESS.
Since forming DSF, Connie has been a vital part of our team. She consulted and advised us during our start-up and continues to provide innovative, strategic thinking as we grow.
Connie also lends her talents as a reporter by helping us bring our podcast to fruition. She further moderated the first DRESS Syndrome global conference in 2022. Her generosity and genuine concern for our mission is invaluable. We would not have accomplished what we have so far without Connie’s involvement.
DSF: What do you appreciate about your role as Operations Advisor and Podcast Host?
Connie: I am honored to be a part of a lifesaving mission that is so vital and innovative. This work — unfortunately for so many patients — has never been done before. In my role as Podcast Host, I’ve found it extremely interesting to talk to medical experts and leading researchers around the globe. I especially enjoy hearing firsthand about the bravery and determination of patient survivors and their loved ones.
Every year, more healthcare providers and their patients understand DRESS Syndrome and how to treat and prevent it in the first place. Although, we definitely have more work to do.
DSF: What is something that inspires you in your work?
Connie: The motivation for my involvement with DRESS Syndrome began with two mothers, Tasha Tolliver and Nancy Szakacsy, who both lost vibrant daughters to this disease (at opposite ends of the country.)
I am an awe of these women and their families who have devoted their lives to making sure others are spared the same pain. They are both true heroes who’ve given selflessly to help others, despite their own heartbreak. If the DSF and its resources existed back when their daughters became sick, they could both have survived. However, this type of support didn’t exist, and they’ve both worked tirelessly to change that outcome.
DSF: What interests do you have outside of DSF?
Connie: Outside of DSF, I work for Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC) creating communications materials. Everything VPLC does works to break down the systemic barriers that keep low-income families in the cycle of poverty. Many DRESS Syndrome patients know first-hand about unexpected and insurmountable financial emergencies, and the lasting impact they can bring. I appreciate this overlap in how my professional work can help others.
DSF: Anything else?
Connie: I am incredibly thankful to have so many outlets available for communications efforts now. I hope I can help in boosting understanding of DRESS Syndrome to the point that it becomes a household word — with a greater understanding of causes, symptoms, and treatments. To do that, we need to tell the stories of people who have fought DRESS. These stories are among the greatest tools this mission can use, so please reach out if you have a personal DRESS Syndrome story to share!