A Rare Collection – Remember Who You Are

Once Upon A Gene

A Rare Collection – Remember Who You Are

June 16, 2022

A Rare Collection – Remember Who You Are


A Rare Collection – Remember Who You Are

There’s power in storytelling- for the listener and the storyteller. A Rare Collection is a monthly series featuring people from the rare disease community, sharing a story with a common theme. 


Madeleine Oudin

When her daughter Margo was born, Madeleine couldn’t wait to take her on adventures across the world. As Margo’s due date approached, Madeleine had already applied for her passport and received it by the time she was only two months old. Her first trip to France was booked when she was three months old. Just two days before the trip, Margo had her first seizures and she was diagnosed with epilepsy. When Margo’s genetic testing results were processed, she was diagnosed with two mutations in the SCN8A gene, one of a number of genes that can cause epilepsy. Despite Margo’s medical complexities, extra planning and equipment, Madeleine has made her dreams of enjoying the magic of adventures with her family come true. 

Alyssa Poskarbiewicz

As a new mom to a son, Alyssa embraced her new title of mom. When she became a mom to her daughter, born six weeks early, her experience was much different. At just a couple days old, Alyssa learned that her daughter had multiple medical complexities. She had her first surgery at only five days old and was diagnosed with CHARGE syndrome.  Navigating hospital life, forced to face painful and gut-wrenching moments, motherhood didn’t look like Alyssa imagined.The expectation of what motherhood would look like wasn’t reflected in being a mom to her daughter-  it was terrifying. Shifting roles from mom to her son and mom to her daughter is complicated, messy, confusing and exhausting, but it’s changed Alyssa. Her son made her a mom, but her daughter makes her a better mom. 

Kaitlin Walden

We’re not just rare disease parents. We’re still individuals who long for things, who need to feel fulfilled and nurtured. As a parent of a medically complex child, Kaitlin found herself losing touch with who she was, and instead, found herself navigating a world of advocacy and living the life of an active duty military spouse. The journey with rare kids is hard work and nothing detracts from the sacrifices that have to be made, but we’re capable of being someone else too. Don’t lose sight of your seed in the garden, water it, nurture it, and let it blossom.

Erin Monast

Early in her rare disease parenting journey, Erin recalls the guilt of doing anything besides parenting. After redefining the meaning of self care, Erin rediscovered the voice inside-  the one saying “I’m still here”. Self care is doing anything that makes you feel most like yourself. Erin now puts herself at the top of the list so she can be better at all that she does. Listen to the voice inside and let it guide you back to the truest version of you.





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