My name is Danielle Alexis Cosgrove and I am a proud American Immigrant originally from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. Not a bad gig, eh? My extended family still live on this tiny West Indian island paradise, as they have since 1680, however I am a true rolling stone. From the age of 2, my father’s job took me all over the world - the Middle East (Qatar, Abu Dhabi), Colombia, Texas, the UK, California - and this is how I continue to live.
Currently, I travel to Nicosia, Cyprus working on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Project “Strengthening Asylum.” I am so thankful to my parents for my upbringing! Not only did they create a beautiful adventure for me, but they subconsciously forged my career path in Human Rights as I have never quite come to feel free from exposure to certain abuses.
I studied in England - first for undergraduate degrees of International Relations and Cultural Studies, followed by a Masters in Human Rights at University College London. I work primarily with asylum seekers and refugees and I am passionate about the many ways technology can improve healthcare for vulnerable populations. Indeed, as a chronic illness patient currently thriving with a diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, the intersection of healthcare and technology has literally been a lifesaver for me!
My chronic illness journey began when in March of 2010, I was involved in an accident which saw my left foot badly crushed. We’re talking bones broken and sticking out, skin ripped off, joint smashed and spun around, stuck on the border of Saudi Arabia with no pain-killers for hours - crushed…
Immediately, it felt as though someone had lowered me into a volcano. That burning feeling [to put it mildly] never went away. In fact, it just got worse, and within a year I was diagnosed with a rare chronic neuro-autoimmune pain disease known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (CRPS/RSD). If you had never heard of this horrifying condition, well neither had I! There’s a shockingly low awareness level that desperately needs to be remedied.
I aim to do this through TheProject3x5, an online platform I founded, which puts to work my skills as a human rights advocate and my experience as a patient. In conjunction with technology, TheProject3x5 seeks to empower patients while engaging healthcare systems in an effort to push research and create a community of hope, both locally and abroad. I am the founder of the #OrangeInitiative campaign to "Paint the World Orange" in order to raise awareness, and my chronic illness journey has been chronicled (if you will - I love a good pun) in renowned, diverse outlets that include: VICE Magazine, McCain Blogette, Ramshackle Glam, Facets Magazine, and iHeartRadio’s "America Now".
So, in short my mission is to advocate, educate, empower, and maybe even inspire those with CRPS/RSD, chronic pain, and nasty little invisible illnesses in general. Follow along at theproject3x5! Join my cause and spread the word.
Big love, Danielle xx