Community is paramount to living a full life, but so often is taken for granted. For a young person like Ethan who is living with a rare genetic disorder and needed a major surgery each year of high school, finding a community was next to impossible.
To make matters worse, young people like Ethan can feel invisible or less than. Snap judgements and assumptions are made and doors to opportunities are closed. The weight of not having people in his corner outside of his family, ultimately impacted his mental health.
“In high school it really hit me. I came to an understanding about what my illness was doing to me and I started to struggle mentally. A lot of kids just didn’t get me because I’m not your typical kid, and I was alone. -Ethan-
Having a community of peers to talk to peers about things happening in your life, both good and bad, such as dating, going to college, getting a job and wanting more independence, is crucial to living a fulfilling life when you’re a seriously ill young person. This is where your support of Next Step programs come in.
“It was great to be around people that had that “get it” factor. They were so easy to talk to, you could vent to them, you could say anything, and over the years people have given me advice.” –Ethan after his first Next Step Campference-
You are an important part of a community that has helped Ethan take the next steps to becoming the person he wants to be.
Please make a donation to the 2022 Next Step Annual Fund and help us connect with even more young people in the coming year. Thank you.