To inspire hope and possibility in young adults who are living with life-threatening illnesses

Meet Aubrey

I first got sick at age 10. After many tests, doctors determined I had a birth defect, which for unknown reasons didn't show up in the first decade of my life. The result was painful and life-threatening bowel obstructions. Over the next nine years, I had approximately 15 surgeries, seven of which were on the intestines. I had over three quarters of my intestines removed and was left with what is called short bowel syndrome. The actual diagnosis for my condition has not been determined. Whenever the doctors test for things with similar symptoms, the tests usually comes back negative or just partial. So, the search continues to find out what is going on inside my body - if it can ever truly be figured out - how to go about fixing it. Hey, maybe they will end up naming it after me! In the mean time, I'm trying new things and weighing out the positives versus the negatives to decide what course of action to take. It's a struggle to say the least. But then add the everyday struggles of growing up, becoming a part of the world, and trying to feel like I have a life outside of the medical field. I have the wonderful support of my family and friends. I know my illness has been hard on my mother. She has been by my side the entire way. She's my best friend, reminding me to hold my head up and keep fighting. And my sister has given up so much. Putting my needs first, always making sure I am taken care of, and sometimes having to battle the world by herself when my mother's focus and energy is on me. Then one day I had the pleasure of meeting Cameron Siemers. Soon, I was helping him and his friends start the Cameron Siemers Foundation for Hope. When I attended my first meeting and heard what Cameron was trying to accomplish with his foundation, I knew immediately that hope for me wasn't lost. I was so eager and excited to get the chance to help him realize his vision. One of the many positive things I recognized is the people who all came together to start the foundation all shared something: passion. The passion to help people caught in a situation they have experienced first-hand, whether it is personally having the illness or being the mother, brother, best friend, aunt, or uncle to someone with a life-threatening illness. We have all been so close to the heart of why this foundation exists. For me, it really is about reaching out and being what we wished someone had been for us. I feel lucky to be apart of that. It has changed my life and helped make the dreams for my future possible.