Starlight Children’s Foundation: Meet Emilie and Briana

Meet Emilie and Briana, Best Friends through Starbright World

My name is Emilie, I live in NC and have three younger brothers and a dog named Squirt! I have been sick all my life at 5 days old I ended up in the hospital and was put on a sleep apnea monitor and also had difficulties meeting normal developmental milestones such as rolling over, standing up and learning how to walk.   Eventually I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which is a genetic connective tissue disorder; as well Gastroparesis, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and osteoarthritis which are all secondary conditions associated with EDS.

I joined Starbright World a little over a year ago and fell in love with it! I’ve made many amazing friends including my best friend Brianna, who even though I had only known for a short time, I felt like I’ve known forever. Having someone to talk to that understands what you’re going through is really helpful and being able to become best friends with them is just amazing! We found so many things that we have in common such as our shared love of music and theme parks and have been there for each other through good times and bad. I’m so thankful that Brianna is in my life and being able to meet her in person would be the opportunity of a lifetime!

It was my dream to be able to meet Brianna in person and The Bachelor made it come true!

My name is Brianna.  I am a member of Starbright world and I have Mitochondrial Disease.  I also have severe sleep apnea and scoliosis.  I have a trach for my sleep apnea and sleep with a ventilator at night.

At age two I was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease (which is a disease of the cells).  My symptoms of the disease are primarily weak muscles and low energy, which contributed to the development of my scoliosis (curvature of the spine).  From age 2-8, I had to wear a hard body brace but even with the brace my curve progressed to 120 degrees.  I have had 10 spinal surgeries, with rods and over 30 screws in my spine to correct the curve.

Through Starbright world I have met so many awesome people and they are now among my closest friends, such as Emilie.  I have known her for what seems like forever but really has been only a few months.  It’s so nice to have someone there for you that know what you’re going through. We talk everyday but we had never met in person.   I am so thankful that The Bachelor made it possible to meet her!

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  1. Best thing that has come out of the show yet! This is such a wonderful charity that many people probably never heard about.

    Thanks for featuring it ABC!

    Best wishes to these beautiful young women whose dreams became reality!

    Comment by songleader — January 23, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

  2. This date with Sean and Ashlee taking Brianna and Emilie was the best part of this shows entire history!! Thank you for doing something worthwhile! Even though I will always be a sucker for the show- Its nice to see them take the time to put other people first, to make someone else happy! i hope to see more of this! Thank you

    Comment by Carri — January 23, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

  3. I agree, best thing on the show yet! Loved this so much! Very moving

    Comment by Vanessa — January 24, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

  4. Thank you ABC for making it possible for these two very brave young ladies to meet. It was a joy to watch.

    Comment by Judy — January 26, 2013 @ 10:01 am

  5. My 4 year old has mitochondrial disease. Thanks for getting the word out about the disease. It gives me great hope to see you both doing so well and living life to the fullest.

    Comment by grace — January 27, 2013 @ 9:32 pm

  6. Briana and Emilie: You were the best part of the season so far. So real, and so glad you got that fun day together. Much love to you both!

    Comment by tamara — February 1, 2013 @ 9:05 am

  7. I don’t even watch ‘The Bachelor’ but this article definitely makes me want to find this episode online to watch !! You ladies are such inspirations! Glad ABC did this for the both of you.
    Does anybody know the episode name, or what season number and episode number I could look up by any chance?
    Andrea <3

    Comment by Andrea — February 1, 2013 @ 9:15 pm

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