EMMA

VACTERL

From Virginia, United States of America

My name is Emma and I am 14 years old, from Virginia. I was born with a complex condition called VACTERL where each letter stands for a different condition; Vertebral defects, anal atresia (missing opening), cardiac defects, trachael-oesophageol fistula (join between my food pipe and air pipe), renal and limb. I have all of these conditions except limb. 

Despite my many hospital admissions and over 20 surgeries, I feel like I am living my life to the fullest. I have recently completed Middle School, and am a huge fan of equestrian. I have a great support network of family, friends and my fellow WEMbassadors. 

Being a part of WEM has been incredibly special for me - I have made meaningful friendships with others with a range of chronic illnesses from all around the world. 

For me, the Wellness Empowerment Movement is here to raise awareness and advocate for mental health issues and all health issues. I am so happy to be the youngest person on this wonderful team of amazing ladies and gentlemen who are so strong and so confident as a result of accepting and embracing their disabilities and chronic illnesses.

I find it amazing to stand alongside so many of my idols that I talk to almost every day, and never fail to have a laugh with. I love learning from these people and their experiences, as well as increasing my own understanding of different medical conditions. 

I stand with WEM to start the conversation about all disabilities - mental and physical. You may not be able to see someone else's struggle, but it does not mean that they have not experienced difficulties with their health - and in their life.