Name : Laura Seibert
Birthday : June 22, 1998
Year : Freshman
Major : Double major SEE (Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management) and international relations
Hometown : Springfield, Illinois
Relationship status: Single
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a student here at JWU?
A: I absolutely love that JWU is an experiential, hands on school! Seeing as I am very passionate about my major it is great to have classes relative to the SEE industry my first day campus. Another thing I love is that JWU encourages students to go out into the world! With dreams of becoming and international event planner, traveling is a must! I love that JWU encourages students to study abroad as early as their second trimester on campus!
Q: How do you like double majoring so far?
A: When people hear that I am a double major, I can see the look go across their face as they think “you poor thing, you must have no free time!” But I am very passionate in pursuing my dreams whether it be through my non-profit organization, pageantry, or my future career. That being said, I am so happy with my choice to create a “dynamic duo” of majors to best suit my goals and plans for the future.
Q: What is your nonprofit POTS to PANS?
A: POTS to PANS is an awareness and scholarship program for the millions of people, like me, who suffer from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, or POTS for short. Our mission is to change Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) to Perfect And Normal Syndrome (PANS) by providing POTS patients with scholarships to go through the Mayo Clinic PRC program.
Q: What does it mean to you?
A: POTS to PANS is very near and dear to me, seeing as I suffer from POTS. I like to say that I was diagnosed with POTS for a reason, God knew I was strong enough to not only make a full recovery, but to then take the next step and help others do the same. Some POTS cases are much worse than mine; I was considered lucky to be correctly diagnosed in 6 months. The average diagnosis period for POTS is about 5 years. Mayo Clinic was able to get me back on track before I was completely bed ridden. I went through their PRC program, which is an intensive 3 week outpatient program where I learned how to better control and manage my symptoms so that I could once again lead a healthy life. To me, the program was miraculous. I watched fellow patients come in on feeding tubes and in wheelchairs; after just one or two weeks at Mayo, they were eating and walking. To see that kind of change in some one in such a short time is very touching. It made me think of the other 1-3 million Americans, and others across the world, who suffer from POTS. It made me want to be able to give as many people as possible the opportunity I had.
Q: How did the creation of your nonprofit sprout?
A: While I was going through the Mayo Clinic program, my mom said that we were going to turn my POTS to PANS. I looked at her confused, and she replied “We’re here to turn your Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome to Perfect And Normal Syndrome. POTS to PANS.” Since that day, 3 years ago that remained in my head. After I got better, I knew I wanted to help others, but didn’t know how, or where, to start. That’s when pageantry played a big role in helping POTS to PANS become a reality. After winning the title of Miss Illinois in 2015, I felt I had more of a voice, this is what finally pushed me to start the process of founding my own NPO.
Q: What are your plans for your nonprofit?
A: To help as many people as I can. And to also make POTS better known, it’s the most common medical condition that no one has ever heard of, and I hope to change that. The first step to helping POTS patients is helping people know what POTS is.
Q: Did pageants play a role in your recovery and/or your nonprofit, POTS to PANS?
A: Pageantry definitely played a huge role in the creation of POTS to PANS. It gave me the confidence and skills to know that I could turn that small idea into an actual organization that helps actual people. If you asked me two years ago if I knew I would have founded my own non-profit organization at the age of 17 I definitely wouldn’t have believed you! I am so blessed for all the opportunities and doors pageantry has opened for me, and can’t wait to continue to see how I grow and what else I may accomplish!
Q: What was it like to experience winning Princess of America Sweetheart National Title?
A:Winning the title of Princess of America Sweetheart 2016 at nationals was like a dream! Sometimes I still have to pinch myself and say “This isn’t a dream. This is real.” I keep my crown in sight every day to remind me that Princess of America is “A crown with a cause” and that this is why I was crowned, not for myself, but for others. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to take POTS to PANS to not only the national, but the international level as I raise awareness and funds this year as Princess of America Sweetheart.
Laura inspired me in so many ways, that she almost gave me goosebumps! When you see her on campus make sure to say hi! Stay beautiful, Laura! Xoxo.