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I was born with cyclic vomiting syndrome and a segmental hemangioma on the left side of my face that extends into my airway all the way down to my sternum. I had a tracheostomy and a feeding tube for five years. I received over 20 surgeries in hospitals in Edmonton, Arkansas, and New York City. I’m fortunate to be in great health today and active in many sports including playing hockey for the Minot State University Women’s Team for two years.

In 2013 I attended AboutFace Camp Trailblazers in Manitoba and had a remarkable time. It was so unique being at a camp with many people who also had facial differences. It was great to be accepted, make lifelong memories and not feel ostracized because of my appearance.

The amount of effort and care people put into helping me along my medical journey inspired me to enter the health care field and to give back to those in similar situations. As it is not offered in Saskatchewan, I am attending the Speech Pathology Program at Minot State University. I am grateful for the AboutFace scholarship which will provide great financial assistance in enabling me to continue my educational path.

I am a sister, a friend, and student.

I am excited for my own success.

I am looking forward to helping people like me.

[AboutFace note: Nadya is one of the winners of the 2020 AboutFace Anna Pileggi Post-Secondary Scholarship]