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Joep Welling is born and raised in the Netherlands, from 2010, he has been actively involved as a patient representative and advocate in many national and international projects aiming to improve research and health care for patients with scleroderma years, including the Patient Research Partner project of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). Currently, Joep is no longer actively employed, but instead puts his energy into advocacy for the NVLE and the provision of information on scleroderma to professionals and patients. His professional background as a nurse (specializations intensive care and anesthesiology), infection control practitioner, as well as his work as an IT consultant for pharmacies and a pharmaceutical wholesaler, helps him achieve these goals and gain more attention for scleroderma and is active for the Patient centered Intervention Network (SPIN).

Joep is the proud recipient of SPIN's first Maureen Sauvé Inspiration Award in 2018.