QLD CHAMPION

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Elina Passant (she/her)

LIVED EXPERIENCE
Multiple Disabilities, Profoundly Deaf, Low Vision & Mental Health

KEY INFORMATION

Place of Birth: Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
Current location: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Age: 19 years old
Language/s: English, Auslan
LGBTQIA+: No
NDIS Participant: Yes
Diagnoses: Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (HEDS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), Profoundly Deaf, Low Vision, Post Traumatic Vision Syndrome, Post Concussion Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Dysphagia, Debilitating Periods, Severe Anxiety Disorder
Healthcare Access: Primary Health Care, Allied Health, Mental Health, Secondary and Tertiary care

BIO

Elina has made a greater impact in the first 19 years of her life than most other young people - she is a powerful activist, thought-leader, blogger, social enterprise founder, inclusion advisor, co-author and co-designer living with a multi-sensory disability and as a wheelchair user. Symptoms began at 8 years old, yet it took until Elina was 17 years old before she received a diagnosis for what by then had become a debilitating illness. After diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome in 2020, she experienced a rapid decline, becoming profoundly deaf and losing the ability to walk and control her face and limbs. Elina has spent the past year re-learning how to do everything, while continuing to apply the same determination and courage to her advocacy. As someone who has experienced the world with all senses, and now vision and hearing loss, from non-disabled to now as a wheelchair user, Elina has unique insights to share and improve universal design in all areas and industries. She wants to be involved in educating workforces through her lived experience - from paramedics who have been unable to communicate with her because of her hearing loss - to retail workers who haven't been able to create an inclusive or welcoming environment. Elina is motivated to ensure other young people do not experience the same isolation and barriers as she has - as disability impacts education, employment, relationships, travel and more.  She is a big believer that the media, fashion and entertainment industries are powerful tools for starting conversations and changing perceptions around disability, and that disability should be normalised, not glorified. Elina embodies a co-design mindset with creating and leading change, 'nothing about us, without us!'. 

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Running personal blog 'Just so Elina' for 5 years

  • Global Brand Leader for InvisiYouth charity for 3 years, and currently the youngest in the apprenticeship program

  • Founder and Director of Social Enterprise Apparel Brand 'Chronic Youth Australia' 

  • Member of the 2022 Children and Young People with Disability. Australia (CYDA) Disability Summit Co-Design Committee

  • Writer and blogger published across platforms

  • Inclusion Advisor and Intern (2020) for 'She is the Universe' - movement for Female Empowerment

  • Co-Author 'Our Infinite Power to Heal' Book

  • Featured in media

LINKS