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PI Conference offers candid conversation on being immunocompromised

September 23, 2022

Have you ever wondered how others cope with being immunocompromised and what it’s like for them living with an “invisible” illness? Then you’ll want to attend the Immune Deficiency Foundation’s upcoming PI Conference session, “Immunocompromised Status: It’s Complicated,” a candid conversation

between four people affected by very different conditions that all have one thing in common – an immune system that fails to support them. The PI Conference is primarily virtual and takes place Oct. 6-8, with this session offered at 1:30 p.m.(ET) on Oct. 8.

Listen as they tackle topics like:

  • Has the pandemic allowed people in your life to understand your condition better?

  • Do the steps you take to protect yourself or your loved ones from infection prevent you from living your life as you want?

  • What kind of support systems can you recommend to patients and caregivers affected by immunocompromised health?

  • What sort of advocacy work related to your immunocompromised status have you found most fulfilling and effective?

  • How do you navigate life with an “invisible” condition?

Below are the biographies of our panelists, who hail from all locations across the U.S. and are ready to discuss their immunocompromised status (or that of their loved ones) and how it’s the same as – and different from – others experiencing a weakened immune system.

Shonda Berry

Shonda Berry is an entrepreneur and owner of BIYOND Apparel, a business that offers clothes promoting

Shonda Berry

statements of self-affirmations, motivation, and positivity. Berry is diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) caused by an autoimmune condition. Berry is an IBD patient advocate, Color of Crohn’s and Chronic Illness ambassador, and member of DrugViu. She is passionate about IBD awareness and health equity. Berry lives in Atlanta with her teenage daughter.

Harper Spero

Harper Spero is a business coach who specializes in working with service-

Harper Spero

based solopreneurs and small business owners in the health and wellness space. She is also the host of Made Visible, a podcast dedicated to people living with or affected by invisible illness, and a facilitator for the Made Visible Writing Class. Spero is diagnosed with Hyper IgE Syndrome, a rare primary immunodeficiency characterized by eczema, recurrent skin abscesses and lung infections, eosinophilia, and high serum levels of IgE. She serves on the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) Board of Trustees and splits her time living in New York City and Tel Aviv.

Nate Appleman

Nate Appleman is a chef and the director of culinary innovation for Chipotle

Nate Appleman

Mexican Grill. Appleman is a caregiver to teenage son Oliver, diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body. Appleman served on the Kawasaki Disease Foundation Board for five years and raised funds for the organization by sponsoring cooking events and providing donations. Inspired by the improvement in Oliver’s health thanks to immunoglobulin therapy, Appleman is also an advocate for plasma donation. He and his family live in San Diego.


Geoff Grubbs

Geoff Grubbs is an independent environmental services professional who worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 1972 to 2005, retiring as the agency’s office of science and technology director. He is diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common leukemia in the U.S. which can result in

Geoff Grubbs

an increased risk of infection and autoimmune conditions. Grubbs experienced vision problems and seizures until treatment resulted in the remission of his disease in 2019. He served as an ambassador for the Lymphoma Research Foundation, joined the organizing committee for the Lymphoma Research ride, and participated in clinical trials related to CLL treatment. Grubbs lives with his family in the Washington D.C. area.

Register to attend the PI Conference, a hybrid conference event that brings together the entire PI community including patients, caregivers, and clinicians for three days of connection, learning, and networking in a fully engaging virtual environment with in-person sessions at three locations. 


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