The Senior Ambassador Program members act as a liaison between the NNN and the community at large by serving as advocates to raise awareness of neutropenia, provide general education of the disease process, and raise funds to support research and support. Their term will be for one year and is renewable upon completion.
Please click here to view the position description and application. The next application period will be later this fall.
Vanessa Ploederl ~ Menasha, Wisconsin
Vanessa (35) was diagnosed with Autoimmune Neutropenia at age 16. She is a mom of two young children and is a Lead Spa Concierge at a local Spa. Vanessa has started a Facebook group, Severe Chronic Neutropenia Support, to help provide support to others dealing with Neutropenia. As a Senior Ambassador for the NNN, Vanessa looks forward to helping others with this condition and to raising awareness. Her goal this year is to hopefully create a new fundraiser to benefit the NNN and to join the Peer Support Volunteer program.
Heidie Rothschild ~ Alexandra, Virginia
Heidie (60) writes, ” I was diagnosed with Neutropenia in 2001. I had been fighting off infections, fatigue, stomach ulcers and malaise. There was no diagnoses. Finally, I moved from Germany back to the States and ended up in Washington State where I went to see Dr. Dale at the University of Washington. He diagnosed me with Idiopathic Chronic Severe Neutropenia. I have been living with and managing it ever since.
I was a Major in the United States Air Force when I was diagnosed. I fought to stay in the military when they tried to medically discharge due to my disease. I retired after a 20 year career; it took me two years to recover after I retired. I worked for one more year-though it was from home. Then I decided to go back to school for my doctorate.
When I was first diagnosed with this disease, I knew I could become either a complacent patient or remain a fighter and live my life. I have always chosen to live and thrive even though most times it is a struggle. I have continued to travel the world even though I was told I should not. It is a choice, though I am quite aware of the risk.”
As a Senior Ambassador for the NNN, Heidie states that ” I would like to share my knowledge of the disease and my experience with it. I want to offer hope and educate those who are newly diagnosed and educate those who have never heard of this disease. Knowledge is power. I have suffered with this disease for almost 20 years. It is time to give back.” Her goal for this year is to join the Peer Support Volunteer Program and help out however she can.
Jessica Lauren Robards “Lauren” ~ Newnan, Georgia
Lauren (32) was diagnosed with Severe Congenital Neutropenia when she was younger. She was previously a volunteer support firefighter and currently volunteers as an EMT with the Medical Reserve Corps in Georgia. Lauren enjoys fishing, hiking, camping….anything outdoors. As a Senior Ambassador for the NNN, Lauren states “I want to help make a difference in the lives of people that suffer from Neutropenia. I also want to raise awareness about Neutropenia and the daily struggle (and sometimes hidden struggles) that come with this disease. I plan to organize a fishing fundraiser to benefit the NNN.” She would also like to join the Peer Support Volunteer program and help out where she can with the conference/virtual seminars.
We greatly appreciate these Senior Ambassadors for giving their time, talent and experience to help engage their communities and to shine a light on Neutropenia. We can’t wait to see all that they do this year.