“Living with Dysautonomia” gives us a glimpse into the life of Aubrey McLin, who is an educator and advocate for dysautonomia awareness. Dysautonomia impacts the autonomic nervous system and “automatic” functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, dilation and constriction of the pupils of the eye, kidney function and body temperature control. For Aubrey, it means that any stress, whether good or bad, affects her body. She gets easily confused during these times; her blood pressure may spike causing her to faint, and her body may shut down leaving her paralyzed for a period of time. Other side-effects include headaches, stomach pain, extreme muscle cramps, face streaking, etc.
Despite all the pain and discomfort that is a part of Aubrey’s daily life, she still remains positive and refuses to let Dysautonomia rule her life. She is a dominant goalkeeper for a competitive soccer team — Davis Alliance’s ’08 Shooting Stars — and a pitcher/first baseman for Woodland Girl’s Fastpitch All-Star Beast Mode team.
Through her activism, she was able to get the City of Woodland, the City of Davis and Yolo County to proclaim October as Dysautonomia Awareness month. To help in her effort to raise awareness, Aubrey and her father designed a turquoise shirt — the color that Dysautonomia International uses to distinguish the condition — that reads “Team Aubrey” on the front, on the back, it reads “Support Dysautonomia Awareness”. After Aubrey was featured in a local newspaper, she received many requests from people for the purchase of Team Aubrey shirts and donated proceeds to Dysautonomia International. She has made the news several times in her efforts to help others like her get a quicker diagnosis and to feel like they are not alone. Dysautonomia typically takes years to be diagnosed as it affects many different organs and/or bodily functions.
Aubrey will continue to spread the word as one of the youngest people speaking on behalf of those diagnosed with this condition. She takes pride in her role as champion for this cause and will gladly discuss the condition with anyone who will listen. And she will get a Team Aubrey shirt to anyone that wants one.