Hi! I’m Amanda Fielder-Lembke. I’m 34. I live in the Des Moines Metro with my husband Rob, our two foster children, and our cat Sienna. This is our third year coordinating Walk for PI: Des Moines. The walk will be virtual again this year, but I can assure you it will be a lot of fun!
I tend to write a novel on my fundraising page every year, so I’ll try keep it short and sweet this time. (ha!) I was diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) on my 30th birthday. It’s likely that I had this for many years before ever receiving a diagnosis. The easiest way to explain it is by saying that I have a broken immune system. Mine just doesn’t quite work the way it’s supposed to and because of that, I get sick easily, often and it can take me a while to “get over it”. Treatment for CVID is immunoglobulin (IGG) replacement therapy, which comes from donated human plasma. (Shout out to all the plasma donors!) I give myself subcutaneous IGG infusions, twice a week, in either my abdomen or thighs. I’ve been doing infusions now for about four years and expect to be doing them for the rest of my life. It used to seem like such a tragic thing, but now it’s just what I do on Sunday and Wednesday nights.
I’m incredibly grateful to have found the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF). My diagnosis gutted me, I felt really depressed and alone, and they helped me through it. My involvement with IDF also helped me realize (even more) that I want to make a difference with my life. I enrolled in grad school about two years ago and am working towards my MPA (master’s in public administration) in large part because of my involvement with IDF and Walk for PI. (I'm almost done!)
It may sound cliché, but you can take the bad experiences in life and use them to create beautiful things. My story isn’t a tragedy. My story is full of hope, compassion, empathy, and a desire to live my best live.
Please consider donating to support IDF, so they can continue to help other people the way they have helped me.