5 Chronic Illness and Disability YouTubers to Binge-Watch Now
I spend a lot of time on YouTube. In addition to being a content creator, I often get sucked into a click-hole of vlog after vlog for hours on end. One of my favorite things about watching YouTube is seeing how other people live their daily lives. YouTube, a space where anyone can create and share their own content, presents a unique opportunity for exploration and peer education. On Youtube, you’ll find everything from beauty bloggers and daily vloggers to cooking shows and productivity hacks. Some of my favorite YouTubers to watch are those who dedicate a portion of their programming to disability advocacy and education. If you’re looking for ways to learn more about disability and advocacy all from the comfort of your internet connection, look no further than these five YouTubers to watch:
The Frey Life
Husband and wife duo Peter and Mary vlog daily about their life with cystic fibrosis. Mary, who has CF, shares everything from medical tips and tricks to emotional support. If you’re a dog lover, you’ll appreciate that Mary’s service dog, Oliver, makes regular appearances on the vlog. And if you’re also a media buff, you’ll enjoy Peter’s drone footage.
The Dale Tribe
Follow a family of six — John, Amy, Anna (17), Eli (13), Shae(12) and Aspen (10)–as they navigate Aspen’s life with type 1 diabetes (T1D) from diagnosis through management. The fun family lives in Colorado with their cat, Iroh, and service-dog-in-training, Phoenix. In addition to sharing their experience with T1D, they frequently share their outdoor adventures, their affinity for Star Wars and their love of K-Pop.
Some of their highlights include:
A Trip To The Emergency Room – Life with Type 1 Diabetes Day 1
First Day With an Omnipod Insulin Pump! A Day In The Life of A Type 1 Diabetic
Life With Type 1 Diabetes: Check Up With The Doctor!
YT: Molly Burke
If you want to spend some time with a young, bubbly, super smart young woman, look no further than Molly Burke. Molly creates content about blindness and advocacy in addition to her ever-popular makeup tutorials. In her two short years on YouTube, Molly has grown her community to nearly 200,000 subscribers by creating fun and informative content about her life with a disability.
If you’re familiar with YouTube, you probably know of the viral Youtube family, Bratayley. With nearly 5 million subscribers, their content mostly focuses on their worldly travels, their pack of animals (three dogs, a horse and a rabbit!) and gymnastics competitions. However, their loyal subscribers were also watching when their 13-year-old son passed away unexpectedly almost two years ago. Since then, they have shared their grief and health precautions they’re now taking with their two daughters. Their channel offers a mix of YouTube stardom with honest, real life. Some of their videos relating to health and grief include:
Known for her over-the-top personality and nearly professional make-up tutorials, the 13-year-old gained over a million subscribers, a contract with CoverGirl and a spot on Ellen in her time on YouTube. Talia had childhood cancer and frequently shared her health updates with her viewers. While Talia tragically passed away a few years ago, her videos are still available on YouTube and do great justice to the truly amazing person she was.
What I love most about YouTube is that it provides a peek into real people’s lives. So often in media, we see disability and chronic illness as a singular defining characteristic. On all of these channels, you’ll find that while disability is a huge part of their lives, it’s not everything. They all have hopes, dreams, aspirations and interests that may be influenced by, but are certainly not limited to their disability. Online content made by and for disabled people offers a look at life we rarely see anywhere else. I hope you’re in a comfy spot and have a bowl of popcorn ready to go — let the YouTube binge begin!
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