Author Archive


Written by Katie Jaskolski on . Posted in News

OKEMOS, MI – Dr. Christine Tenaglia is proud to announce that her dentistry practice’s September fundraising efforts will support Life as a Zebra Foundation.

Dr. Tenaglia and her team have monthly appreciation gifts for their patients. For the month of September, the office will be decorated with University of Michigan and Michigan State accessories. Patients get to choose a University of Michigan or Michigan State accessory and will have the opportunity to add money to their school’s donation bank. The school with the most donations gets bragging rights as having the most generous alumni or patrons and will raise money for a great cause.

“My team and I chose to donate the proceeds from this event to Life as a Zebra Foundation after hearing the president and co-founder of the organization, Katie Dama Jaskolski, speak at the Lansing Rotary Meeting,” said Dr. Tenaglia. “My team and I were inspired by her personal story and her dedication to helping people with similar invisible diseases by establishing the foundation.”

96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with a condition that is invisible. Invisible illnesses are chronic conditions that are not easily observed by the general public, and are often not readily seen by medical professionals. Invisible illnesses include lupus, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, Crohn’s disease, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, among others.

About Dr. Christine Tenaglia

Dr. Christine Tenaglia has been given the “People’s Choice Award” as the area’s favorite dentist by the Lansing Community Newspapers, and been featured on Fox News, WLNS TV, WKBD TV in Detroit, and in the Detroit News, The Lansing State Journal, The Michigan Dental Association Magazine, and on WJIM AM Radio. Dr. Tenaglia chaired the Michigan Association’s Annual Meeting in 2006, when the organization commemorated its 150th anniversary.

Dr. Tenaglia graduated from the University Of Michigan School Of Dentistry in 1992. She has studied at the acclaimed Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies; The Pankey Institute, in Miami, Florida, Dawson Center in Tampa, Florida, and Louisiana State University.

She has maintained a private practice in Lansing area since 1993. Since establishing her general dentistry practice in Okemos in 1997, she has focused on cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry. Dr. Tenaglia’s office is located at 3985 Okemos Road in Okemos, Michigan.

LAAZF Meets With Congressional Leaders

Written by Katie Jaskolski on . Posted in News

LANSING, MI – On July 22-23, 2014, Life as a Zebra Foundation Co-Founders, Katie Dama Jaskolski and Allie Dama, will meet with congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. to discuss the prevalence of invisible illness in the United States.

Meetings have been scheduled with: Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI8), Representative Kerry Bentivolio (R-MI11), Representative Tim Walberg (R-MI7), and Representative Justin Amash (R-MI3).

This trip follows the success Life as a Zebra Foundation experienced after championing a resolution in the Michigan Senate declaring the week of May 25-31, 2014 as Invisible Illness Awareness Week. The Michigan Senate adopted the resolution unanimously on May 21, 2014.

Download the full release.

LAAZF Spearheads MI “Invisible Illness Awareness Week” Resolution

Written by Katie Jaskolski on . Posted in News


The Michigan Senate has unanimously adopted a resolution formally declaring the week of May 25-31, 2014 as Invisible Illness Awareness Week in Michigan. The resolution was introduced by Senate Majority Leader, Randy Richardville of Monroe, MI, on Wednesday, May 21. Senator Richardville also introduced Katie Dama Jaskolski and Allie Dama, co-founders of Life as a Zebra Foundation, to the Senate floor.

Katie Dama Jaskolski, who has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and her sister Allie Dama, who has been diagnosed with polyarteritis nodosa vasculitis (PAN), started the Life as a Zebra Foundation after both women spent months with debilitating symptoms and running into dead-ends while searching for correct medical diagnoses. The sisters began blogging about their lives and journeys with these chronic illnesses, and growing popularity of the website led to the creation of the Life as a Zebra Foundation. The Life as a Zebra Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness for illnesses that are “invisible” to the outside world, as well as to raise funds for the research of these conditions.

Since 96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with a condition that is invisible, the 2014 Invisible Illness Awareness Week is themed “Everybody Knows Somebody” to reflect the widespread scope of the issue. The purpose of Invisible Illnesses Awareness Week is to raise awareness of invisible illnesses among the general public and medical community, while reducing the stigma surrounding these illnesses.

Dama Jaskolski commented, “The adoption of Invisible Illness Awareness Week in Michigan is an important step in getting dialogue started in the community. It will get people talking about what it’s like to live with an invisible illness, how friends and family members can support their loved ones, where someone can go to get accurate advice and information, and about the importance of earlier, more accurate diagnosis.” Dama added, “Not only will this week be about raising awareness, but it will serve to let others who are living with invisible illnesses know that they are not alone, and that there is hope and help out there.”

Individuals can participate in Invisible Illness Awareness Week by conducting outreach in their communities, providing information and resources, encouraging community members to model acceptance of individuals living with invisible illnesses, donating to invisible illness awareness organizations such as the Life as a Zebra Foundation, and/or joining Life as a Zebra Foundation’s planned social media campaign.

Upcoming Life as a Zebra Events

Written by Katie Jaskolski on . Posted in News

May, 2014: Zebra friend Kelley Lubovich VanHorn is hosting a month-long Thirty-One party for Life as a Zebra Foundation in honor of Ehlers-Danlos Awareness Month! Proceeds from each sale will go to Life as a Zebra Foundation to help fund Ehlers-Danlos research and awareness! For more information or to place an online order, visit: and click on “My Parties”.

June 4, 2014: Invisible Illness Awareness “Zebra Day” at Wexford Montessori Academy in Lansing, MI.

June 21, 2014: Life as a Zebra team of 40 walkers/runners at the Get Healthy Now 5k in Lansing, MI.

August 23, 2014: GymPalooza 2014 at Gedderts’ Twistars Gymnastics Club in Dimondale, MI. This is a FREE community event that will bring kids and families together for a day filled with fun, festivities and entertainment! The event will feature a music DJ just for kids, super fun games and contests, bounce houses, prize give-aways, obstacle courses, supervised gymnastics play, a climbing wall, circus style performances, costumed superheroes and princesses, face painting, a hula-hoop show, and much, much more! Life asa Zebra is proud to partner with Twistars for this exciting event. For tickets and info, visit

April 11, 2015: 4th Annual Invisible Illness Gala & Concert at Kellogg Center in East Lansing, MI. Save the date! More details to follow.

Live Love Michigan Partners with Life as a Zebra Foundation!

Written by Katie Jaskolski on . Posted in News

Life as a Zebra Foundation is so excited to announce that we will be continuing our partnership with Live Love Michigan! For their Hold on to Hope Campaign, Live Love Michigan has designed unique, one of a kind, Life as a Zebra apparel! Through the sales of the merchandise, and the Hold on to Hope campaign, Live Love Michigan will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the apparel back to Life as a Zebra Foundation to help us continue our mission of raising awareness and funds for research, for various invisible, hard to diagnose illnesses. Check out Live Love Michigan and the Hold on to Hope campaign by clicking the link below! Get your limited edition zebra apparel now!

Check out the Live Love Michigan, Life as a Zebra Apparel Here

About Live Love Michigan: Live Love Michigan was founded in 2013 by Dexter, MI native Jacob Prusakiewicz.  Due to recent economic turmoil across the state, Jake set out to prove that The Mitten is truly the best place to be. From tourism to daily life, from the UP to Detroit, Jake wanted to support his state, local businesses, and foremost, the community he loves. To ensure community building was at the center of his company, Jake decided to create products that show love and support of Michigan through high quality apparel and accessories. He wanted to create a product that he could stand behind 100%,  and also make a difference in the state he cares about so much. To do so, he launched the Hold On To Hope Campaign where a different local non-profit/ charitable organization is selected each month to partner with Live Love Michigan. Through the partnership, Live Love Michigan designs apparel and accessories contoured to the organization at hand, and offers support by promoting them through their website.  50% of the proceeds from those sales are donated back to the organization they are partnered with so they may continue giving hope those who need it most.


Dysautonomia literally means dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is the master regulator of organ function throughout the body. It is involved in the control of heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, respiration, digestion and other vital functions.

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Individuals with EDS have a defect in their connective tissue, the tissue that provides support to many body parts such as the skin, muscles and ligaments. The fragile skin and unstable joints found in EDS are the result of faulty collagen.


Vasculitis is a family of rare and chronic autoimmune diseases, all characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels. There are more than 15 different vasculitis diseases, all of which can affect people of various ages, races, and genders.