Board Members & Advisors

Brianne Dressen

Brianne Dressen

Co-Chairman

Brianne Dressen is a previously healthy preschool teacher, and mother of two young children.

Early in life she learned that setting challenging goals and accomplishing near impossible tasks was rewarding for her. She earned her Bachelor of Science in communications at age 20 and worked diligently to be the youngest project manager in her company’s history.

She has often been found taking the path less travelled, as advocating and helping the struggling and marginalized has been a lifelong passion. Throughout her life she has regularly participated in various developmental programs that help children and teens learn life skills and overcome their challenges. After having two kids of her own, she found her life calling in helping to transform the lives of those who fall out of the “norm” and built her own preschool centered around helping those children who struggled in a typical classroom environment.

As an educator, she qualified to be a participant in the clinical trial for the AstraZeneca Covid Vaccine. In November 2020, she got her one and only shot which changed her life forever. She experienced severe paresthesia, blurred and double vision, extreme sound, light touch and teeth sensitivity, teeth sensitivity. She was confined to her bedroom in isolation with her symptoms for months, removed from her family. She also experienced tinnitus, brain fog, memory loss, limb weakness, motor dysfunction of her legs, and loss of bladder control. When her legs failed her, she was diagnosed with “anxiety due to the covid vaccine” and was sent home with in-home physical and occupational therapy. As her condition evolved, she experienced tachycardia, blood pressure fluctuations, temperature dysregulation, and “internal electric shocks” or internal vibrations.

Her husband, a PhD chemist, got to work right away trying to figure out what was happening and reached out to lead Covid researchers all over the globe and combing the long-covid research for clues. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) took on Brianne’s case and she received testing and treatment in June 2021.

As her own condition improved, the community of vaccine injured continued to grow into the tens of thousands. Like her, these individuals were all experiencing life-altering adverse reactions with little to no help from their communities, their medical teams, or their governments. Brianne and others joined together to challenge the officials at the FDA, CDC and NIH to research, review, and communicate the potential side-effects which would then open the doors for medical care and research.

After months of inconsequential responses, she realized that progress was not going to happen soon enough and that the growing number of injured would need to figure this out on their own. A year into her own harrowing journey she founded the first 501c(3) to focus on helping the vaccine injured. Her goals are simple, to pave the way for a path to healing for all who are suffering lasting illness post covid vaccination. She believes that science holds the keys to getting people better.

Christopher Dreisbach

Christopher Dreisbach

Legal Affairs Director

Christopher Dreisbach has devoted his entire legal career to advocating for those facing some of life’s greatest challenges.

He sees his role as a board member of React 19, providing a voice for the vaccine injured, as a natural extension of his professional experience.

Chris began his career serving for four years as a Deputy District Attorney in the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office. In 2009, he was recognized as Dauphin County’s Victim Advocate of the Year. Following the district attorney’s office, Chris practiced primarily criminal defense for eleven years representing individuals throughout Central Pennsylvania. A highlight of his career remains successfully advocating for a client wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder. At the time of his vaccine injury, Chris had just accepted a position as in-house counsel for a drug and alcohol treatment network, specifically tasked with expanding jail diversionary programs for those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. His experience supporting and seeking treatment for those in need has uniquely qualified him to advocate for the vaccine injured.

Chris attended the Temple University Beasley School of Law where he completed clinical internships in the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office as well as the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to law school, he attended Dartmouth College where he played varsity lacrosse.

Chris and his wife of seventeen years live in Lancaster with their three children. Since his Pfizer vaccination on March 6, 2021, he has experienced symptoms including but not limited to involuntary muscle spasms, modified gate, back pain, occipital neuralgia, brain fog and electrical pulses from head to toe. Despite local hospitalization and treatment at the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins, his symptoms continue unabated.

Cody Flint

Cody Flint

Governmental Affairs Director

Cody Flint is from Cleveland, MS and has been an aerial applicator for the past 15 years.

Flying has been his dream from the very beginning. Immediately after high school, Cody attended Ag-Flight, Inc. in Bainbridge, GA. Within 6 months, he had gained his commercial pilots license and over 250 flight hours. He then came home, ticket in hand, and quickly landed his dream ag flying job near his hometown at the age of 19. He has been flying at this same location since he began his career and has compiled over 10,000 total flight hours.

Cody married his wife in 2012 and has two young boys. Before his vaccine injury, he could be found playing with his boys, coaching baseball, fishing, or working in his yard. He has been very active, fit, and has never had any underlying conditions.

Feeling a sense of duty to his family, friends, and co-workers, Cody proudly received his first dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine on February 1st, 2021. His reaction began as a severe headache almost immediately following vaccination. Over the next 2 days, the pain became almost unbearable at the base of his skull. He had his first flying job of the year to do on February 3rd. After adhering to the 48 hour no-fly rule following vaccination imposed by the FAA, he flew his plane for about an hour before both of his inner ears ruptured due to brain swelling. These types of injuries are career ending for a pilot.

Subsequently, Cody was diagnosed with 2 perilymphatic fistulas, Eustachian tube disfunction, and highly elevated intracranial pressure. He has had 2 surgeries to repair the perilymphatic fistulas and multiple lumbar punctures to monitor his highly elevated intracranial pressure along the way. He can no longer fly and can’t renew his FAA medical that is required for all pilots to stay current due to the medications he is required to take. The Pfizer Covid vaccine has taken his career, his health, and time with his family.

Joel Wallskog, MD

Joel Wallskog, MD

Co-Chairman

Joel Wallskog is an orthopedic surgeon from Mequon, Wisconsin.

He grew up in the Milwaukee area. He attended Marquette University for his undergraduate education. He married his college sweetheart immediately after college graduation in 1992. He then obtained his medical degree at the University of Wisconsin. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He elected to do additional fellowship training specializing in joint replacement at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He entered private practice in 2002. He became employed with Aurora Healthcare in 2009 where he has been employed since. He has developed a large successful orthopedic practice focusing on joint replacement, including shoulder, hip and knee replacement. He has extensive experience in revision joint replacement and hip resurfacing. For many years, he has been on the clinical faculty for the Medical College of Wisconsin, training fourth- and fifth-year orthopedic surgery residents on improving their surgical skills. Outside of his professional career, he is a proud father of four children.

Joel was exposed to Covid 19 in August/September of 2020, likely at his work. He was exposed to numerous co-workers at that time who were symptomatic and tested positive for Covid 19. He subsequently tested positive for Covid 19 antibodies in September of 2020. He was asymptomatic.

According to CDC recommendations at the time, he waited 3 months after his antibody diagnosis to obtain his first Covid vaccine. He developed numbness, weakness and balance difficulties soon after receiving the first Moderna Covid vaccine (received 12/30/2020). In the following months, he experienced periods of quite severe lower thoracic back pain. He was subsequently diagnosed with transverse myelitis with a demyelinated lesion at the T8-T9 level. He was treated with high dose steroids and IVIG with no improvement. He has participated in physical therapy. His symptoms are essentially unchanged since his diagnosis in January 2021. Prior to his diagnosis of transverse myelitis, he was an avid outdoors person. He enjoyed hiking, biking and numerous watersports such as wake surfing and water skiing. He has been unable to return to work as an orthopedic surgeon and has been on long term disability. He can walk short distances but is unable to return to any of his sporting activities that he enjoyed prior to his diagnosis of transverse myelitis.

Kristi Dobbs

Kristi Dobbs

Secretary

Kristi Dobbs is a Registered Dental Hygienist from Missouri, that has been practicing for over 17 years.

She devoted most of her career to serving in public health dentistry and pediatrics. Kristi and her husband have been married for over 17 years, enjoying life’s adventures, which includes raising their 4 children.

Prior to her Pfizer covid-19 vaccine injury on January 18, 2021, she was very active and energetic in multiple facets of life. She enjoyed camping, kayaking, crafting, and activities with her family. She also enjoyed her career as a Dental Hygienist.

Kristi’s vaccine injury happened immediately after inoculation, and on site at the hospital clinic where she received her injection. She experienced tingling in the injection arm, heart palpitations, pre-syncopal episode, with increased pulse, respirations, and heart rate, dizziness, and a stroke worthy blood pressure reading. She was merely monitored for an extra 45 minutes, where she was then released with ”having a hot flash, or panic attack”. She has been plagued with multiple neurologic and autonomic dysfunctions, which cascaded in the days following vaccination. She has suffered from over 22 different symptoms involving tremors, full body paresthesia’s, internal and external tremors, dizziness, tinnitus, menstrual irregularities, nocturnal convulsions, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle pain and weakness, just to name a few. It stripped away all quality of life that she had prior to vaccination. She has been diagnosed with small fiber neuropathy, as well as being antiphospholipid antibody positive, having multiple elevated cytokine responses, and a revolving high CRP (inflammation) rate.

It has been over a year since her vaccine injury, and she has slowly regained functions and is devoting her spare time to helping fellow vaccine injured. Kristi has been unable to work for the last year due to her injury but has been able to stay at home and recover, as well as be there for her children.

Kristi has a very scientific background, and because of this, she believed in the science and technology of the covid-19 vaccines. She did all the research available to the public when the vaccine program rolled out. There was no acknowledgement of neurologic or autonomic injuries to be a side effect of the vaccine. She will continue fighting for transparency from the drug companies, FDA, CDC, and all other government entities that help in the regulation and distribution of the covid-19 vaccines, so these injuries do not affect another life.

Shaun R. Barcavage, FNP-BC

Shaun R. Barcavage, FNP-BC

Research Director

Shaun Barcavage is a Research Nurse Practitioner from New York, NY.

Prior to joining the medical profession, he had a background in international development; having served in various capacities over 12 years throughout Eastern Europe during the Balkan War with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

He graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master in Sociology from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. After retiring from international service, Mr. Barcavage pursued a long passion and love of medicine. He graduated top of his class with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the New Jersey City University and received his Family Nurse Practitioner degree with highest honors from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Shaun possesses a strong passion in infectious diseases and has dedicated his work to community health and research.

Prior to receiving the Pfizer Covid 19 vaccine, he was healthy, with no significant medical issues and enjoyed walks in the park with his partner and two dogs. Immediately after receiving Dose 1 on December 29, 2020, he developed paresthesias along the injected right arm into his upper back and axilla. This progressed to include tingling in the right face, right eye irritation and a flushed ear. He was seen and evaluated by a neurologist who recommended he receive the second dose if symptoms subsided. The symptoms resolved after about 10 days and against his better judgment, he procedded to receive dose 2 on January 19, 2021in the left deltoid. The first 3 days he experienced normal injection site pain that radiated to his neck and back. By Day 4 he woke up with ringing in the right ear (tinnitus). He also developed prickling sensations in his throat and the right sided paresthesias returned with more intensity. He was instructed by a neurologist to “wait it out”. By January 30, 2021 he ended up at the emergency department with severe tachycardia, abdominal pain, fluctuating blood pressures, intense right sided headache, brain fog and increased tinnitus. Despite suggesting that he was having a vaccine reaction, he was dismissed and sent home to worsen with prescription for ibuprofen.

As a medical professional he knew something was “wrong” and went on a desperate search for care. He was confronted by a medical system ill-informed, ill-equipped, and often unwilling to recognize such reactions. Leaving him with misdiagnoses and improper treatment.

His symptoms continued to devolve into acute autonomic dysfunction (positional tachycardia and atrial fibrillation) as well as generalized, whole body neuropathies.

These reactions have robbed him of his medical career and many of life’s pleasures including his ability to sleep, watch TV and listen to music. The persisting tinnitus has stolen his silence. Shaun is dedicated to science and has been pro-vaccine his entire life. He believes reactions to vaccines, like all medications, are a reality and not recognizing them and researching them is both unethical and inhumane.

Amanda Damian

Amanda Damian

Development Director

My name is Amanda Damian, I am a 37-year-old wife and mom from Canton, MI.

During the covid lockdown, I spent my time grocery shopping and taking care of the elderly in my community. I served hundreds of clients and provided critical support to keep them safe and at home.

On March 11, 2021, I received the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Willingly, I signed up to get the vaccine and was happy to do my part in keeping myself, community and my family protected. I had an immediate reaction landing me in the ER… waking up on May 2nd with the inability to move my arms or legs at all was one of the scariest days of my life.

Lost in a medical world uninformed and seemingly uninterested, I quickly learned I had to advocate for myself. Over months, I have seen 2 cardiologists, 4 neurologists, 2 rheumatologists and allergists. I’ve suffered through a lumbar puncture, CT scan, brain scans, tilt table test and surgery to remove a device that controls my bladder in order to have a full MRI of my spine, the list seems to never end. I also learned how quickly medical bills can accumulate if you are uninsured or underinsured. This self-advocacy led me to more public advocacy efforts and to join React19 to raise awareness of the vaccine injured.

I bring a wealth of meeting and event production to the team. My 15-year dedication to the hospitality industry has allowed me to execute successful events around the country.

Suzanna Newell

Suzanna Newell

Treasurer

Suzanna has been in the Financial Services industry for almost 25 years.

She is currently in the Corporate Social Responsibility division. Her first job after graduating Cum Laude from Carleton College was teaching Special Education in South Louisiana. She was also valedictorian of her high school. She lives with her husband Pedro and their two teenage children in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Prior to her vaccine injury, she was extremely active. Suzanna participated in the YWCA Women’s Triathlon and she and her husband participated in the MS 150 Bike ride from Duluth to Minneapolis yearly.

Currently she is unable to bike on her own due to extreme leg pain, dizziness and fatigue and often needs a walker or a cane to walk. She is experiencing brain fog, increased extreme tinnitus and joint pain. She has been diagnosed by the Mayo Clinic with either Sjogren’s Syndrome or some other Autoimmune Disease unspecified. She has also been diagnosed with Small Fiber Neuropathy through the University of Minnesota Neuro Ophthalmology.

Suzanna is pro vaccine and pro science, but she would like social responsibility for those who are injured.