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Tiffani Deguara (she/her)
Disability, Chronic Illness & Mental Health
Place of Birth: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Current location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Age: 27 years old
Language/s: English only
NDIS Participant: No
Diagnoses: Neurological Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, chronic gut issues
Healthcare Access: Primary Health Care, Allied Health, Secondary care, Tertiary Care, Mental Health, Community services.
Tiffani Deguara is a chronic illness, disability and mental health advocate, entrepreneur and founder of 'Consider Me Box' and co-founder of 'Against the Grain Coffee', based in Melbourne. When Tiffani became unwell in her early twenties, she was unaware that her diagnosis would bring with it challenges to treatment access and recognition from the Australian medical profession. After a nasty sinus infection while travelling in Europe in 2016, Tiffani's health declined over the next 2 years. She sought various medical opinions and testing from dozens of practitioners, desperate to find the cause or answers to her deteriorating health condition, at only 21 years old. Put in the 'too hard basket' and facing significant meedical misogyny, Tiffani was dismissed as depressed and burnt out, and prescribed many medications in attempts to mask chronic pain, brain fog and insomnia. After extensive research, and considering her international travels, Tiffani discovered Lyme Disease and had her bloods sent to the US for the most accurate testing possible, where she received her diagnosis.
Unfortunately after diagnosis, treatment and management became a major challenge. Due to the lack of awareness and outdated research, doctors aren't being educated about the severity of the illness and Lyme existing in Australia. As Tiffani connected with the patient community, she found others like her were also being ignored, gaslit, and left to fend for themselves. Over the last 5 years, she has travelled
interstate and overseas twice to Cyprus and Switzerland to seek basic treatment at a huge financial cost. Unfortunately, the follow-up treatment could not continued back in Australia, and any improvements she gained quickly dissipated.
Challenges with diagnosis, treatment and management has become Tiffani's driving force to raise more awareness about the debilitating impacts of Lyme Disease and its co-morbidities. Tiffani brings the perspective of being a healthy, thriving and successful young woman in her early twenties with the world at her feet, to being struck down by debilitating illness, requiring her to completely change her lifestyle and outlook, while being unsupported by the medical system. She has insights into rebuilding a career, navigating relationships and empowering others with invisible disabilities and illnesses.
Since becoming unwell, Tiffani founded and created 'Consider Me Box' to provide healthy gift boxes for people with different dietary requirements, because she believes everyone should be considered when it comes to gifting - no one should be left out. A key driver of her business is to raise awareness for chronic invisible illness, and with every Consider Me Box sold, a portion of profit is donated to the Lyme Disease Association of Australia. In 2023, Tiffani co-founded disability-owned Against The Grain Coffee aimed at supporting a women-led supply chain and creating meaningful conversations about disability and chronic illness through the everyday purchase and consumption of coffee. Additionally, Tiffani co-hosts The Adaptable CEO podcast where she interviews guests, and leads conversations on disability, career and entrepreneurship.
ACHIEVEMENTS & EXPERIENCE
Co-Host The Adaptable CEO Podcast
CEO and Co-Founder - Against The Grain Coffee
Bachelor of International Business - RMIT
Worked in Product Development (fashion & accessories) prior to acquiring chronic illnesses
Overcoming traumatic Lyme Disease treatment received overseas over the past 2 years. Tiffani is very passionate about improving access to Lyme Disease treatment on our own home soil in Australia.
Founding 'Consider Me Box' - healthy gift boxes that Tiffani carefully curates for the health conscious. CMB specifically cater to people with special dietary requirements i.e vegan, gluten free, refined-sugar free, low-tox.
Self-advocacy as a young woman - through multiple misdiagnoses, not being believed, mental health and diagnosis
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