WOODLAND, Calif. — An 11-year-old girl from Woodland is hoping the community will make her birthday wish come true.
Aubrey Mclin was diagnosed with dysautonomia when she was 6 years old. She's one of about 70 million people in the world living with the condition that affects the autonomic nervous system.
"You feel it from the inside," she explained. "You feel a lot of stomach aches and constant headaches."
The 5th grader, who turned 11 on Friday, is hoping to raise $5,000 that will go toward research and awareness efforts for what is often referred to as an "invisible illness."
Aubrey has already raised $4,000 with the help of her friends, family, and several bake sales.
Her condition affects her breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. Despite having to make some life adjustments since she was diagnosed, Aubrey says she's never let her health issues stop her from doing what she loves, like playing soccer.
"I used to play forward when I was little, and now I play goalie," said Aubrey.
Aubrey told ABC10 she wanted to share her story because she wants to help those who have her same condition live their lives to the fullest.
"I was lucky enough to get diagnosed so early, but some kids and adults are not lucky enough to get that kind of treatment," Aubrey added. "I wanted to spread the word so that people get earlier diagnoses and there's more awareness about it."
Aubrey's mom, Julie Hunter, says she's extremely proud of her daughter for not allowing her condition to stop her from living a happy and meaningful life.
"She's taken something that could have been really scary and changed her life in a negative way, she's taken it in another direction and is doing amazing things for other people."
The young advocate aspires to one day be a speaker at a TEDx Talk. For now, she'll continue to use her voice to help others not feel invisible or misunderstood.
"I just want to tell people with dysautonomia that you just have to know to have mind over matter all the time," Aubrey said. "Just think, I can get through this, and I can do this."
If you'd like to help Aubrey reach the rest of her goal, click here.
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