A Fire from Within: Emily Anhalt Continues to Dream Despite Her Battle with FSGS

Emily AnhaltWhen I first met Emily Anhalt, I was struck by how calm she was. She was a very mellow individual despite all that had happened to her. Now more than ever, I know the strength of the neighborhood girl who grew up across the street from me.

Since she was two-and-a-half years old, Emily has been battling Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS, a kidney disease that has put her through multiple surgeries and infections. Recently, she’s had an even greater stay in the hospital (since the beginning of this year). 

But Emily is a survivor. And a dreamer.

She has inspired the Waunakee, Wis., community. At the Waunakee Community High School graduation, the class of 2013 wore orange ribbons on their gowns in Emily's honor, since she couldn’t join them. There are orange signs in the front yards of many homes in Waunakee, with a kidney shape around the words “Orange4Emily”, the title of an organization started to raise funds for her medical bills and kidney illness awareness overall. 

My dream is to get Emily's favorite band, One Direction, to visit her at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wis. The band is on a North American tour, and they’ll be coming through Madison sometime between July 13 and July 18.

The boys of One Direction wrote a book about their life stories and rise to fame. Emily is inspired by their stories and dreams of writing an autobiography as well. If she’s able to meet them, she’ll be newly energized to publish her story, and get her message out there for other kids fighting chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

By getting One Direction to Emily, I want to make sure another American Dream is met. It's also what my company stands for.

Emily’s dream is not just her own, but the dream of her family, her friends, the hospital staff and her community. Now we're taking that dream on as our own.

You can help! Use social media to share Emily's story. I've even written a few tweets you could send - and share with Emily's favorite band - One Direction:

Sometimes a dream passes from an individual to a community (link to this blog) #1DMeetEm  

Help us help Emily reach for her dreams despite FSGS (link to this blog) #1DMeetEm  

Survivors are beautiful. Em is a survivor. Beautiful people do not just happen (link to this blog) #1DMeetEm  

Emily’s a BIG fan. She’d love to see 1D to help move her towards her dreams (link to this blog) #1DMeetEm  

RT if you know of Em’s strength and dream (link to this blog) #1DMeetEm  

One community, one family, one girl, one dream (link to this blog) #1DMeetEm  

Send your tweets to these people to generate the buzz we need to bring One Direction to Emily!

@ModestMgmt (One Direction’s management company)
@paulyhiggins (One Direction’s tour manager)
@onedirection (the band)
@Harry_Styles (Harry Styles, band member)
@zaynmalik (Zayn Malik, band member)
@Real_Liam_Payne (Liam Payne, band member)
@NiallOfficial (Niall Horan, band member)
@Louis_Tomlinson (Louis Tomlinson, band member).

Tweet as many times a day as you want. Tweet at as many different band members as you want. My only request is if the band or its management show any interest in meeting Emily, please direct them to me at cjuergen@amfam.com.

Thank you so much for your support and tweets!

Let’s make Emily's dream come true. 

Editor's note: Learn more about Emily's story on the Orange4Emily website, Facebook page and Twitter account.  

by Carrie Juergens on Fri, Jul 05 2013 2:07 pm
Posted by Carrie Juergens on Fri, Jul 05 2013 2:07 pmCarolyn Juergens is a summer intern at American Family Insurance. She's currently studying at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

1 Comment

Alex Masica said on Jul 09, 2013
What an inspiring story. Let's help Emily with her dream! I'm so glad to see American Family sticking by its promise of protecting dreams and in this case, helping people accomplish their dreams. My hat goes off to both of you, Emily and AmFam!

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