Advocates in Action: Monika Stedul
My name is Amy Collen and I have the privilege of writing about our wonderful volunteers and advocates here at React19. This month I am spotlighting patient advocate, Monika Stedul. Monika, a Nutritional Therapist with degrees in both nutrition and neuroscience, joined React19 in January of this year. She was inspired to join after the death of her father, Nikola Stedul, who passed away due to suspected vaccine injury.
Nikola received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and started to decline dramatically after his second dose. Prior to this Nikola was a very active 83 year old, and although he had prostate cancer, it was well managed. However, 10 days after his second dose, is when his health declined and his cancer numbers skyrocketed. Monika moved to Croatia, where her mother and father lived at the time, to help take care of her father. Nikola passed away to the music of Monika’s guitar, 8 months later.
Monika and her family deserved answers. She attended a business networking meeting at the Croatian Embassy, in which she had the opportunity to confront an AstraZeneca Executive Vice President directly. Sadly, their response was exactly what Monika expected. “I thought, OK, now is my chance to go in and ask one of the senior executives what AstraZeneca is going to do about the future safety of these vaccines. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I think it’s well within their pay grade to be asked such questions. It should be in their job descriptions – that they must take responsibility for reassuring the public about safety protocols, and how they plan to recompense those who get injured. She was quite defensive and said there was no evidence that the vaccines could cause such injuries. I said, “Well, I beg to differ.”
Monika goes on to explain her experience,
“A collection of 3400 peer reviewed case reports and studies across 24 general health categories citing adverse effects, some with suggested molecular mechanisms, that can be found on React 19’s website represents the beginning of a search for answers. In my correspondence with AstraZeneca prior to the meeting, I had been offered only standard forms requesting my father’s medical papers. I declined to fill them out. “How can I trust a company that doesn’t have the decency to talk to me in person, let alone offer condolences?”
Monika’s story is not unique to React19. Many patients and families are often gaslit, or faced with denial or disbelief. The medical community often fails to acknowledge vaccine injury so many feel they have nowhere to turn. Thankfully, through React19, that is no longer the case, and that is due in part to people like Monika.
As a patient advocate Monika brings her skills of nutrition, scientific research, and wealth of information to her patients. She is a listening ear and a provider of comfort, and knowledge. For example, Monika may offer general dietary advice, put patients in touch with medical providers in their area, or give them information on support groups throughout the nation and throughout the world. Most importantly, she is that connection, that hand reaching through the phone, or the face on the Zoom screen, that says, I believe you, I am here to help, you are not alone. Monika describes her patient interactions best, “It is so healing, it’s like lancing a boil, you [the patient] are letting all this stuff that needs to come out, and I think it is an energy form. There is anger, frustration, and disbelief. There is just a human need and I feel like crying again when I say that. A human need to be heard, to be understood, and not to be just abandoned.” And this connection between patient and advocate works both ways.
“It is so humbling. It feels like such a privilege, you know? If I can just support one more person. There often comes a point when you sense you’ve gained someone’s precious trust. You feel like you’ve known each other for years by the end of our conversation. You just sort of touch each other’s soul and engaged with what makes us truly human.”
When Monika isn’t talking to patients, you can often find her out in the garden accomplishing her dream of growing an “avenue of sunflowers”, along with watching her son grow up, taking care of her mother, and engaging in spirited debates with her husband. All under the loving eye of her sweet father, Nikola, whom she loved dearly.
At the moment I am working on my book Coronavirus Chronicles (working title), raising my two wonderful teenage boys, traveling, baking, immersing myself in Judaism, and writing for React19, a grassroots vaccine-injured advocacy group. In the past I also wrote for the musical group New Monkees, and on special education and disability issues.