As Cysters is a volunteer led charity, we are grateful to all those to give up their time to support our mission. We are by the community for the community. Without the support of our volunteers we would not be able to continue with our work.

Our Trustees are responsibility for the management and overseeing the work of Cysters, to ensure it remains true to its ethos and vision. They are instrumental in providing strategic vision and leadership to grow our work across the region.

They are all from racialized diverse backgrounds and all live with chronic illnesses. We felt it was important for this community to be run, managed and held accountable from and by our community. We are growing as an organization and would love to have more people as part of our trustee team, we are small but ambitious.

If you feel you could add to our mission – then please do get in touch!

Neelam Heera

Neelam Heera a Tedx Speaker, founded Cysters after facing her own battles around getting her diagnosis and care for PCOS, Endometriosis and PMDD. She saw first-hand the disparities in healthcare for people of colour and other marginalized groups, thus Cysters was born. Neelam felt that issues around reproductive health was often trivialised by healthcare professionals and sexualised by racialized communities due to outdated cultural beliefs, male dominated spaces and patriarchy.

The work Cysters do is constantly evolving to reflect the diverse population serviced for example, most recently the organisation changed their name to show their commitment to the trans communities by removing the word “woman.” Due to this Neelam was faced with weeks of online abuse, all because she dared to act and create safe inclusive places. Our logo reflects our need to create our own tables, reclaim our narrative and ultimately stand together to make a difference.

Often marginalised communities are left out of conversations around health that concern them, they are not reflected in research, and they are never invited to the table to co-develop solutions that will filter down to grassroots communities. Neelam’s work has been recognised by the Pride of Britain and Point of Light awards from the Prime Minister and was named as ones of Birmingham’s 30 under 30. Neelam is also the Birmingham lead for the Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnerships.

Faye Van Heeren

Fayee is a solicitor by profession and has been one of our first trustees since the charity was founded in 2016. Fayee has been crucial to its inception and has been instrumental in supporting the many changes Cysters has gone through.

Fayee had met our founder Neelam a few years before at a networking event, where they discovered they both had very similar values and cultural upbringings, whilst also navigating chronic health issues in an underrepresented community. They decided the best way to tackle this was by creating these safe spaces.

Fayee takes great pride and passion in acting as a trustee, to offer guidance and assist the charity with its strategy and plans in achieving its objectives, to support and helping others in the chronic illness [and reproductive health] community.

Dr Aziza Sesay

Dr. Aziza Sesay is an NHS General Practitioner, GP educator, Honorary Senior Clinical lecturer, public speaker and health content creator. She has a strong passion for health education, awareness, advocacy and empowerment, and channels this through her platform ‘Talks with Dr. Sesay’ – where she shares short informative videos, infographics, live discussions and tips on a variety of topics.

Dr. Sesay is the Vice President and Creative Director of Black Female Doctors UK organisation, Charity fundraising lead for Keep it Fax charity, one of the Board of Directors of Prevention First Initiative, Trustee of Cysters Group charity, Ambassador for the Eve Appeal and Wellbeing of Women charities; and was a UN Women UK delegate for CSW 67 (volunteer role).

She’s been featured on BBC News, Metro News, Stylist magazine, Women’s health UK and many more, and has collaborated with several different organisations including NHS England, DHSC, CoppaFeel!, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Black Women Rising UK, PANDAS foundation and many more to help make this a reality.