Jacqueline Ko, OMF and OMF Canada Ambassador, is a multi-award-winning Canadian performer, producer, and disability advocate. She is known for her roles in opera, theatre, musical theatre and film, and is also the founding artistic director of Opera Mariposa, a Vancouver-based performing arts company that showcases opera’s rising stars.
Jacqueline came down with ME/CFS at age six and was diagnosed at age 10. Throughout the worst years of her illness, her love of music is what kept her going. Despite being bed-bound for a large portion of her childhood, she debuted with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at age 9 and made her operatic role debut at age 16. At age 17, she merged her love of music with advocacy by presenting her first Benefit & Awareness concert for ME/CFS. A decade later, Opera Mariposa’s annual Benefit & Awareness events have become a cherished tradition in Canada, and have raised over $80,000 to date for ME/CFS treatment, research, education, and patient support.
Says Jacqueline of her role as OMF Ambassador, “I hope that by becoming an Ambassador for OMF and OMF Canada, I can add my voice to the global movement for ME/CFS healthcare equality. I’m incredibly excited to support OMF’s pioneering work, and to partner with them to promote better recognition, inclusion, and aid for those with complex chronic diseases.” Jacqueline is also committed to pursuing accessibility and inclusion through Opera Mariposa, which is led and run entirely by individuals with disabilities. For example, Mariposa Livestreams select performances online, making their shows available to homebound ME/CFS patients throughout the world.
You can learn more about Jacqueline via the Opera Mariposa website, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Her story is also featured in the 5-star Clarion Review book Lighting Up a Hidden World: CFS and ME by Valerie Free.