Last month we introduced you to the 2016 Dysautonomia International Summer Research Interns. This month we’re pleased to announce that Ms. Emily Deaton will be interning with Dysautonomia International’s Board of Directors this summer, helping with writing projects, educational programs, web development, conference planning, and more.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: My name is Emily Deaton and I’m majoring in English with a minor in nonprofit studies at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. I’m 20 years old and have lived in Virginia for most of my life. I love writing, editing, and spending time with my family (and pets).
Q: What motivated you to get involved with Dysautonomia International?
I’ve had POTS for four years, and Dysautonomia International was one of the first resources I came across when I got diagnosed a year after getting sick. Ever since then, I’ve tried to learn as much as I can about POTS and have worked to advocate for myself and for others with POTS and other chronic illnesses.
Q: How do you balance your school and work activities with your health?
A: It’s difficult! I’ve had to learn when I can push myself and when I need to take a step back to skip out on a social event to ensure I can go to class the next day. There will still be days where I push myself too hard and have to pay for it the next day (or three). Having a supportive network of friends and family has made all of this much easier, however, and I’ve also been lucky to have professors who have accommodated me.
Q: What are your plans after college?
A: I want to continue to advocate for those with chronic illnesses. I’d love be a copy writer at a nonprofit in order to educate others about how to be as well as possible while living with life-altering conditions.
Q: What do you hope to get out of the Dysautonomia International Internship?
A: I’m looking forward to learning the ins and outs of a nonprofit, and I’m also hoping to learn how to better reach people who are in need of resources to better deal with their condition(s). I want to be able to use my communication skills to connect with patients and educate people who are unaware of what dysautonomia is.
Q: If you could give one bit of advice to a newly diagnosed patient, what would you want them to know?
A: Know you’re not alone. There will be good days and bad days, but you will learn to live a new normal. Seek support from doctors, friends, and family; you know your body best, so trust your intuition. If you need to rest, know it’s okay, and you can still live a meaningful and happy life.