Macy Stahl (Virginia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

School: University of Virginia

Major: Biology

Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia

My name is Macy Stahl, and I am a first year at the University of Virginia. I have always been fascinated by science, and my experiences with IBD have inspired me to pursue a biology major on the path toward a career in medicine or nutrition. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at age eight, which launched me into a confusing world of medications, doctors, and symptoms. Through the years, my journey with IBD has had many highs and lows. From hospitalizations to frightening biologic reactions, UC has been a tough beast to fight. But I have also gained immense strength and lifelong bonds as a silver lining. Over time, I have made the effort to not let IBD dictate my actions, but I have allowed it to drive my passions. Due to the time I have spent in the hospital, I’ve had the chance to learn about Seacrest Studios, a full-professional radio and television studio inside Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. The studio filled me with joy and solace at a time that was so difficult for me. Years later, I had the opportunity to intern in the studio and to provide daily interactive programming for patients in the hospital.While I gained significant experience using professional audio and video equipment, I found my true passion through interacting with patients and families. In my free time, I am a lover of dancing and all things contortion. I was able to use my excitement for dance to build an organic social media platform centered around the art of dance. As Ulcerative Colitis flare-ups took place through the years, it became difficult to hide my invisible illness from the world, so I decided instead to embrace it, and transformed my account into an outlet for not only dance, but for awareness. I was amazed when countless followers reached out to share their own struggles with IBD. It was in this moment that I recognized the power of community in fighting a chronic illness. These experiences have shaped my desire to cultivate a community of awareness that reaches all those who have been diagnosed with IBD. Although all of our stories may be vastly different, we are all in need of support and love.