EmPOWERThePATIENTS Foundation advocates, educates and provides community support for chronic and rare disease patients.
To fund the scientific development and root cause of chronic and rare disease while becoming the number one resource and community for such patients.
Meet Founder Emily Hartstone
If you're visiting my page you're either a fellow Spoonie, a family member or friend of one, or a healthcare professional hopefully trying to learn how you can help advocate for us... but either way, we are all here for the same thing - We need better from the medical industry and we need support from each other. I have seen so many frustrating and painful things on this journey that I had do to something. So sharing my story and coming out of my comfort zone for the benefit of others, even if it meant for one second another spoonie didn't feel alone, was something that I had to do. I am doing anything and everything I can to advocate for every chronic illness patients and spreading awareness about autoimmune disease because sometimes invisible illness is the worst kind... yet some people don't even know about it. I've seen malpractice, neglect or the worst, people's pain just disregarded. Well this is where the story really all began.
One typical afternoon in my meeting planner life, I was running though Atlanta airport when my heart started pounding out of my chest - I knew something was really wrong. Thankfully my nifty Samsung S8 had the health app I could check my heart rate so when I finally found my seat on the plane I pulled out my phone to learn my BPM was 145... not good. I was on my way to thyroid storm except I didn't even know what a thyroid was at the time.
I know what you're thinking, hurry the story up and get to the part where you help us... Ok Ok, I told you I had an overactive thyroid! So long story short I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. I was put on medication and bounced all over the place with my blood levels before being severely crashed into hypOthyroidism and checking into the ER. It was there I looked the severity of the healthcare crisis. My neck was popped out and pressing on a nerve so bad i could barely move and all the doctor wanted to do was tell me I had a pulled shoulder muscle and write me a prescription for Xanax and Valium. Are you kidding me? My levels were scary low once he finally looked at my labs and they ended up pulling me off all of the medication I was on and scheduling me to have my thyroid removed.
The things I saw while being in the hospital and later while being treated disgusted me. I watched doctors treat thyroid patients like mental patients, mentally ill patients like regular patients... everything was so wrong. It made me question if anxiety and depression were really side effects of these illnesses or if they were secondary to how they were being treated. Even I was getting anxiety just watching it. It wasn't right and something needed to be done.
This is when I thought of EmPOWERThePATIENTS. As an Events Manager, Meeting Planner and working for association management companies for over 10 years, I couldn't sit and do nothing. Even if it meant running myself into the ground because, I too, am fighting an illness, I had to do something. So now here I am, taking on everything I possibly can, advocating for ALL chronic illness warriors, invisible illnesses and everything that goes along with it. WE ARE WARRIORS. WE ARE UNITED. AND WE WILL SUCCEED. Help me spread this movement by hash tagging YOUR stories with #EmPOWERThePATIENTS