Shira Strongin

Shira StronginCommunity Contributor

Shira Strongin curated an anonymous blog, The Sick Chicks, that has expanded into an international support group that empowers young women with rare illnesses and disabilities and gives them a platform to express themselves while forming a community of their own.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

‘Sick Chicks’ Is Empowering Young Women With Disabilities, One Story At A Time

Society teaches young woman to sit still, look pretty, and wait for Prince Charming, yet their beauty is determined by the standards society sets. What happens when you can’t sit still? What if you’d prefer to be your own hero?

I started the international community Sick Chicks in 2015, after years of writing an anonymous blog under the pen name “Sick Chick.” Sick Chicks was designed to unite and empower women with varying illnesses and disabilities because women, especially chronically ill and disabled women, deserve better than what society is teaching us.


Sick Chicks is a sisterhood with both cyber and in-person components. We have social media support groups, cyber campaigns and giveaways, and a Spotlight program, which gives our girls a platform to become published writers about topics they’re passionate about. We host in-person events, have approximately twenty ambassadors worldwide working with Sick Chicks to expand our in-person opportunities, and have committed to giving three young women per year $600 to get to the Dysautonomia International Learning Conference.

College was always my goal, but because of my health, not to mention finances, it seemed impossible. I’m thrilled to say I will be attending George Washington University in the fall with the help of a merit scholarship to study political communications. Through my own application process, I realized how limited scholarships are for chronically ill and disabled women, especially ones like me with rare diseases. Even if we have the grades we have a hard time getting academic scholarships because often we don’t attend school regularly and athletics are a bit out of the question. There are some disease specific scholarships, but unfortunately those are very limited and exclusive because they’re disease specific.

My goal is to start a Sick Chicks College Scholarship to help bridge the gap in scholarship opportunities for people like me. I am so honored and beyond grateful to be among the fifteen recipients of this year’s Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards. With the extremely generous award from the Helen Diller Family Foundation, I will be able to officially make Sick Chicks a non-profit to help expand our programming and start funding the Sick Chicks College Scholarship.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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‘Sick Chicks’ Is Empowering Young Women With Disabilities, One Story At A Time

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