Reflections from the 22q Awareness Ambassador
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by: Kristina Buchholz
I have decided to do a reflection of my internship so far with the Dempster Family Foundation. Back in January when my internship started it has been nothing short of AMAZING! I actually was speaking with someone today that has known me since I was a child and she’s watched me grow up. I was saying to her “Who knew that my health (something that could have been meant to hold me back) has given me the incredible opportunity to travel the country and meet so many amazing families that forever hold a special place in my heart.” She responded “nothing can hold you back”
At age fifteen when I was diagnosed with 22q, it wasn’t until six years later I met Michelle Breedlove Sells and my very first 22q families at the Orlando conference back in 2012. Side Note: I had to make the decision between competing at a National Baton Twirling Competition happening that same weekend up in Ohio. I chose the conference and all honesty it was the BEST decision I have ever made! At the time little did I know how impactful and amazing those three days would turn out to be. Sitting here writing this to you all three years later as the Dempster Family Foundation’s Awareness Ambassador and I couldn’t be more honored. Since the conference I try my best to get the Florida families together as often as we can but, due to schedules it’s difficult to get together as often as we would like to but when we do get together it’s always an awesome time and just like a family reunion; Every Time it gets harder and harder to say goodbye.
This internship has blessed me with the incredible opportunities to expand my network connection of the 22q families from around the world, travel with Michelle and the Dempster Family Foundation, meeting all of you families is just the icing on the cake! I can’t express enough what a blessing it is to be a part of your children’s lives (all of them) and watching them grow up into incredible individuals with such bright futures ahead of them. They are THRIVING, beating the odds and leading your normal lives all while facing significant health issues with SMILES on their faces, which is so encouraging to so many. These kids are my inspiration, I am SO proud of them all and know they have the power to make a difference in the world!
Parents, I thank YOU for allowing me to be a part of your children’s lives. You guys show incredible strength, hope, courage and faith that inspires us all more than you will ever know. You guys are amazing, I look at your courage and strength and am inspired!
22q Awareness Ambassador 2015
I did not grow up with aspirations of one day becoming a mentor... However, as time has passed my personal journey, combined with God's plan for me has led to just that. My name is Kristina Bucholz I am 25 years old and I have 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. I am currently a Baton Instructor in Boca Raton, FL. My greatest pleasure as a coach has been to hear my students say “I want to be just like you when I grow up”! Equally as fulfilling are the experiences I've gained attending and sometimes helping organize events for families affected by 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. As a result, I have recently come to recognize I have in fact become a mentor. It is one of my greatest passions and has filled my heart with so much joy. Being a mentor has been such an incredible blessing and I wouldn’t change it for the world. If my journey has taught me anything it's that we ALL have the power to positively impact someone’s life. Throughout my life God has blessed me with countless outstanding mentors. They are amazing and inspire me to do the impossible. They have individually and collectively guided, supported, strengthened, and encouraged me. Some of then played and intentional role and others may not even know the impact they've had on my heart, my life, and my goals. I truly believe it is SO important for everyone to experience the power of having a mentor(s) in their life. I see how impactful and beneficial mentors have been to me and it's probably why I feel confident and excited to accept the DFF's Young Adult Awareness Advocacy 2015 Internship. I believe every persons story has the possibility of being a powerful testimony of hope for another person's journey. My prayer for this internship is to inspire those affected with 22q (especially us adults)to not be afraid to share their story, especially to those within the 22q community. By doing so we can highlight the wealth of powerful stories of children diagnosed with 22q who have overcome a doctors early predictions of ability or health. Despite what doctors have said, many of you have OVERCOME challenges and hurdles associated with 22q Deletion Syndrome. It may not be easy but it’s definitely POSSIBLE...