We each have our own version of a connection to autoimmune diseases—whether personally suffering, or witnessing a close friend or family member. Read about our team members below to learn more about us and how we share our experiences; we certainly look forward to hearing from you and learning about your story, too. To contact us or submit a general inquiry, please click here.
Audrey Fisher, Founder, and Executive Director
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009, Audrey immediately began focusing on filling her time with positive ways to deal with this whirlwind of a life-changer. With her father already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, she quickly realized the autoimmunity connection between the two and jumped into action, creating Operation Shooting Star from scratch to begin a fight against all autoimmune diseases. To read more about how Operation Shooting Star began, please click here.
In addition to running an organization, Audrey stays active in other ways—dedicated to many passions—all while maintaining a full time job. As an avid believer in physical, mental, and emotional self-care and healing, she spends time working to continuously replenish her positive energy levels. She pursues this through her lifelong loves of swimming and participating in community theatre, while also running, practicing yoga, spending time with her dogs, and connecting with horses through equine therapy. She loves being close to her family, as they are very important. With no children—only fur babies—Audrey often refers to Operation Shooting Star as her “baby” as it is such an important focus in her life. As her number one “passion project,” Audrey is determined to make a difference in the world of autoimmunity and its diseases, and she is thrilled that you have come here to join her on this mission.
To contact Audrey directly, you may reach her via email at [email protected].
Gretchen Schoenstein, National Ambassador
Gretchen has dealt with multiple autoimmune diseases, including but not limited to Hashimoto’s and Sarcoidosis. She was diagnosed with Hashis when she was a young adolescent and Sarcoid struck her down in the Fall of 2006, unable to walk or breathe well. As someone who has to pay close attention to her body, Gretchen has tried to maintain her health for both physical and mental benefits. After her sarcoid diagnosis, she was told she’d never run again – which initially she was ‘okay’ with but it led to living a very fear-based and cautious life. After 3.5 years of this new normal, and some big unexpected life changes, Gretchen decided to train for a half marathon in 2010, against doctors orders. The emotion and accomplishment Gretchen felt upon completion of that goal, and a recovery that did not kick her out of the game but was simply more information to process, she then decided to run another and another all across the country. In October 2016, Gretchen ran her 50th half marathon exactly 10 years to the week she’d been laying in the hospital bed for eight days on a morphine drip. As that event approached, Gretchen knew she wanted the milestone to mean something more than a number and so she reached out to Operation Shooting Star and Audrey in hopes of connecting with the organization and making her 50th half marathon a fundraising effort to help OSS’s mission of raising funds and awareness about the more than 80 auto immune diseases that affect more than 24 million Americans, in many cases severely hampering their way of life. Gretchen is extremely proud to be a National Ambassador for Operation Shooting Star, and more importantly to consider Audrey a friend and ally in this fight for awareness and a cure.
To contact Gretchen directly, you may reach her via email at [email protected].
Michele Fisher, Marketing Coordinator
Michele brings a unique perspective to Operation Shooting Star. She coordinates market and community events and assists with the development and execution of all digital platforms and content marketing campaigns. She has excellent communication skills and brings creativity to the role. Michele has a Bachelor of Science in communications and supports Audrey on raising awareness.
To contact Michele, you may reach her via email at [email protected].
Michael Adkins, Advocate
Mike’s life changed forever in September of 2018, when after 10 wonderful years of marriage, he lost his wife due to severe complications with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was only 35, and had been wheelchair bound since the age of 29. As the care-giving hero that he is, Mike took care of her everyday without hesitation and with endless love. But, although he had to take care of her, he wants the world to know that Amanda was not a meek victim, she was a fighter and warrior and never gave up. Through her challenges, she faced life head on with joy and lots of laughter. The strength and determination she had is why he continues to work hard to help those afflicted with autoimmune diseases, and to fight against these illnesses, until a cure is found. By joining forces with Operation Shooting Star, Mike says he now feels empowered to continue his mission of celebrating Amanda’s legacy, and to enlighten the public on the daily hardships of the people who suffer from as well as the family members of those with autoimmune disease. His goal is to honor his late wife’s love of family, friends, music, and comedy, to raise funds for this cause. He has spent his life taking care of the one he loves…this is just one more way he can continue on with that care and devotion.
To contact Michael, you may reach him via email at [email protected].