Kira Noel Stays Strong, Even With a Life-Changing, Chronic Illness

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Full Name: Kira Noël

Hometown: Ottawa, ON, Canada

Age: 17

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.

Kira, thanks for writing such an eloquent piece for the "Strong Young Woman" series! Keep fighting. You've already done so much in your seventeen years; I know you can make your life whatever you want it to be. XOXO - Kelly

Are you a strong young woman? Click here to tell me your story and you could be featured, too!