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Joanne Nickles

Joanne Nickles

Covid-19 Program Advocate

Hi everyone, my name is Jo-Anne Marie Nickles and I'm the newly appointed Covid-19 Program Advocate.  

Since the start of the pandemic, there hasn't been any data on whether people with disabilities have been vaccinated, or whether they have been able to do so, or what obstacles they may have been facing.  I will be here to assist with that, along with connecting with the health department, communities, and agencies in the 5 counties we serve.

Originally from the sunny island of Singapore, I moved to West Texas in December of 2005 where I began my life here in the US before moving here to Ellensburg in December of 2016.

Being the melting pot of cultures and ethnicities that Singapore is, I come from a multicultural background consisting of 7 ethnicities from both my parents!  I am therefore, a proud Eurasian who is Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, English, Spanish and Filipino, who understands what it feels to be a minority, and what challenges that may bring.

I have been blessed with 3 beautiful young children; a boy (b2012), a girl (b2014), and a boy (b2015).  I have been told by my loved ones, that since I have a huge heart, especially for the elderly and children, God particularly blessed me with both my boys WITH special needs!  My eldest has typical Down Syndrome, and my youngest has the rarest type of Angelman's Syndrome called Paternal Uniparental Disomy (UPD)) which consists of only 3% of the Angelman Syndrome cases.  So, I have a very good understanding of the challenges and disparities that disabilities brings.  Perhaps this is why my almost 11 years of advocating for what's best of my sons and people like them, has brought me to this position today.  


I have lead a very adventurous life beginning with my first love of the performing arts, having trained at the Royal Academy of Dance and the Royal Academy of Music, having performed extensively since I was 10 on television and stage and everything in between, then started teaching when I was 19.

I love music (I play several instruments including some guitar and ukulele), dancing, cooking, reading, gardening, arts and crafts, biking and riding my motorcycle, and most of all, spending quality time with my kids cuddling, laughing, or swimming at least once a week.
 

Simple dans ma vertu, forte dans mon devoir!  Simple in virtue, steadfast in duty......it's the motto I've lived by since I made my vows at school when I was 6.

 

Last but not least, I hope to change the narrative people use.  "Special needs person", "Disabled person", are not acceptable.  It is ALWAYS the person, first.  People are NOT defined by their disability or abilities!  Please use, "(Name/person) WITH special needs/Disability/Challenges".

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