Full Name: Kira Noël
Hometown: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Tell Me About Your Strength!
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with a type of dysautonomia, called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS); an incurable and life-changing chronic illness. I went from overachieving student, to bedbound overnight. The medications barely helped. Any self-confidence that had managed to survive middle school crumbled away. I became depressed, anxious, and suicidal--as if chronically ill wasn't enough.
Little by little, my condition improved and, with it, my mental health. I returned to some semblance of my old life for nearly six months. The thing about chronic illness is that it's chronic; it doesn't stay gone. But when my health took a turn for the worse again, I didn't let it take over my life. There are still days I cannot walk or stand, and others where my brain fog prevents me from speaking in complete sentences, days where I cry for the life that I could've had. Even on good days, I cannot stand for long, but I refuse to let this illness define me or my life.
Today, I am at the top of my class, an advocate for youth, especially girls, in STEM, and an author. I know that I can never win against POTS, but I don't need to; I just need to keep on fighting.