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Guest post by Kristina Buchholz

Driving awareness for any cause can be fun, and of course includes hard work, consistency and a passionate person behind it all. There is not one specific way to raise awareness but, there are various ways and it can be as easy as standing in line at a grocery store and talking to the person in front of you, or waiting in airport security lines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had delayed flights for long periods of time and have wanted to randomly ask the person sitting next to me, or across form me if they’ve heard of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome but never did. I’ve missed countless opportunities that have been placed right in front of me but, no longer plan to miss those opportunities any more. Even if you speak to one person a day and educate them on 22q it makes all the difference in the world. Some of us it might take just a little more confidence to randomly ask people if they’ve heard of 22q and other times God will just have you casually talking with a friend or two who you have known for years but, never heard of 22q deletion syndrome and it will come up in conversation. So, as you can see there are various ways you can help drive awareness and help make a difference in people’s lives you interact with on a daily basis. Don’t be afraid to stand out.

-Kristina Buchholz

Awareness Ambassador

Dempster Family Foundation

Guest Blogger Photo: 

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...

                                                                                                                                                           -Kristina Buchholz

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