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Jess Van Zeil (she/her)

Disability, Chronic Illness & Cancer Survivorship


Place of Birth: South Africa
Current location: Cranbourne, Victoria, Australia
Age: 29 years old
Language/s: English only
NDIS Participant: Previously an NDIS participant
Diagnoses: Ocular melanoma, Stage 4 melanoma (Brain Mets), Addison’s disease, Anxiety, Precancerous changes to cervix, adenomyosis, endometriosis (stage 4), infertility (complicated due to cancer), facial difference, monocular, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (in childhood)
Healthcare Access: Primary Health Care, Mental Health, Allied Health, Secondary and Tertiary care


Jess Van Zeil is an eye patch wearing, 29-year-old best-selling author and resilience expert who has been featured in media internationally. She has faced a multitude of challenges in her life, including being diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer when she was 22. Jess has become a passionate and highly respected advocate for cancer survivorship, early detection and prevention, and lives with an acquired disability, facial difference (monocular) and various chronic illnesses. As a result, she’s learned a lot about resilience and the art of bouncing back! Jess realised she didn’t want anyone to face life’s challenges unarmed. The art and science of building resilience has become her passion. Jess developed the PATCH system which will gives people the skills and tools to grow and thrive when faced with change. She has shared her story and the PATCH methodology on stages across Australia to audiences up to 7,000 people, including the NAC in 2018 alongside Tony Robbins, Turia Pitt, Michelle Bridges and Naomi Simson. In 2019 Jess’ book “Eye Won” was published internationally.


  • Published author in 2019 'Eye Won'

  • Graduated Bachelor’s degree in nutrition with Vice Chancellors Medal of Excellence while undergoing stage 4 melanoma treatment

  • Completed Post graduate studies

  • Hiked the Kokoda track 2 years after relearning to walk.

  • Relearning to walk after brain surgery.

  • Professional speaking training.

  • Spoken on many stages with audiences up to 7000, average audience of 300 people.

  • Been featured on Channel 10 news, 9 news, 60 minutes and more.

  • Featured in lots of media articles internationally

  • Wrote a blog and featured in promo content for Shameless media

  • Collaborated with Sony Foundation as an ambassador.

  • Ambassador roles for multiple cancer/melanoma orgs.

  • Former co-chair of the Vic Youth cancer advisory board for 2 years.

  • Currently the National Operations Manager for Little Dreamers 


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