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Abby Klosterman 2010

Comeback KidsTM Award Recipient - United States

Abby Klosterman was a healthy 10-year-old, when she started feeling ill. Within a week of noticing symptoms, her life changed when what she and her parents thought could be a regular tummy ache was actually ulcerative colitis.

Over the next few months, Abby tried to treat her disease with medication. When that failed, she opted for a J-pouch procedure.

When Abby learned she would need surgery, she was worried how her peers would react — she already felt insecure about her appearance as a result of her medication. Fortunately, she found encouragement through a friend she met at the hospital. Coincidentally, Abby’s friend was the same age and was having ostomy surgery within months of her. They provided each other with the strength to go through their treatments together. “My friend’s support made me feel better when I was feeling bad,” says Abby. “Now I want to make other children feel the same way.”

“My friend’s support made me feel better when I was feeling bad,” says Abby. “Now I want to make other children feel the same way.”

Though Abby’s life has not been easy, she never asks, “Why me?” Instead, she remains upbeat about her illness and ostomy and realizes that her experiences can help other children have the same positive outlook. Abby makes a point to give back to others through volunteer work. Currently, she sews pillow cases and teddy bears for patients at the Cardon Children’s Medical Center. In the past she has donated her time babysitting at YoungLives meetings for unwed teen mothers and the Salvation Army. She has been honored for her volunteer work on numerous occasions by organizations such as the Gilbert Boys & Girls Club.

“Why me?”

Today, Abby, 12, lives in Gilbert, Arizona. In addition to her volunteering, she also enjoys playing soccer and spending time with her family. She hopes to work in the healthcare field when she grows up, so she can help others facing similar health challenges. “I tell people to think positive, because if all you think about is the negative, everything you go through will be much worse.”

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