Hello everyone! I am your 2016 Princess of America Sweetheart, Laura Seibert! I am so excited to represent POA for the next year! I love that Princess of America is “a crown with a cause” and gives its titleholders the opportunity to make a difference during their year of reign! The cause behind my crown is my non-profit organization, POTS to PANS. POTS to PANS is a global awareness and scholarship program for the millions of Americans, like me, who suffer from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (or POTS to for short!) About three and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with POTS, and it turned my world upside-down. My chronic illness caused me to collectively miss half of my high school career. I went to countless specialists who told me nothing was wrong, and I began to lose hope. Finally, after months of unhelpful doctors visits, I was able to get into Mayo Clinic, where they correctly diagnosed me, in under 20 minutes! They gave me my health and my life back. You see, there is no medical “cure” for POTS. You have to retrain your body to function how it should normally be able to, you need to force it to regulate things as simple as your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and sense of pain. Learning how to live with POTS is like trying to learn how to walk again. Mayo Clinic knows that it is hard for POTS patients to make a recovery on their own, so they have designed a 3 week intensive program to help jumpstart the process. I went through this program, and it was life changing. During the program, I saw miraculous things happen right before my eyes. Some people would come into the program in wheelchairs, and on feeding tubes. Within a week, they were both walking and eating again. Seeing this kind of drastic change in such a small amount of time made me realize how many other people could be helped. I wanted to help everyone who suffers from POTS to be able to have the same opportunity I had; the chance to live a normal life. That’s when I knew I would do whatever it takes to turn Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) into Perfect And Normal Syndrome (PANS).
When I am not busy sporting my crown at events in my community, or working with POTS to PANS, you can catch me in the library working hard to pursue my next dream of becoming an international event planner! As a double major, and a first year student at the college of my dreams, there is always something to keep me busy, and motivated, in pursuing this next chapter in my career. I do, however, manage to make time for the things and people I love as well. If I am not back at home visiting my loved ones, I am on the tennis or volleyball courts, shopping, or traveling as a Student Ambassador. Among all of these responsibilities, I cherish my role as Princess of America Sweetheart the most, and know I will treasure this year of my reign for the rest of my life.
For more information on POTS to PANS please visit our website at www.potstopans.org and on social media @potstopans