Astra loves to dance. It’s her favorite thing to do but she has missed classes, rehearsals, shows and competitions because of her illness. Spending long periods of time in the hospital for issues related to her Crohn's disease, gastroparesis, interstitial cystitis and permanent feeding tube, she often felt very alone.
“I never knew anyone my age who was sick or had to spend so much time in the hospital like I did,” said Astra. “I felt very isolated and no one I knew could really understand what I was going through or how hard it was to be so sick all the time.”
After becoming a member of the Starbright World® online community (SBW), she began making friends with teens all over the world who understood what it was like to be chronically ill.
“Starbright World instantly felt like home,” said Astra. “For the first time I had other people my age who I could talk to and bond with over our shared experiences, stories of medications, painful procedures and the long hospitalizations we'd all had to endure.”
SBW helped Astra by surrounding her with an amazing community of other young people who, like her, are determined not to let their illnesses stop them from accomplishing all of their goals in life and following their dreams.
After graduating from the SBW community, Astra was such a fantastic mentor to the younger kids that Starlight asked her to stay on and be an adult volunteer. She is also a Huffington Post blogger for Starlight, and you can read Astra’s most recent post “Dancing through Illness.”
“I hope sharing my story inspires other teens who are on their own medical journey to connect with others.”