News & Events

To Always Be Brave, by Emma Detlefsen

Hi, I’m Emma and I’m 7.

I was born with lymphedema in my legs and feet. I don’t like having lymphedema, there’s really nothing good about lymphedema. I’ve been getting a lot of infections this year and they hurt and make me feel really sick. Sometimes even the doctors don’t know how to help me. My mom gets sad because she knows I’m sick but the doctors don’t believe her; it makes me sad too.

I like pretty shoes but they hurt my feet and I don’t like when kids ask me why I always have to cover my legs, because I don’t want to talk about it. Lymphedema is not fun. But that’s what I’ve learned about my disease, the only way to be ok is to always be brave.

Even though I have lymphedema I can do mostly everything I want. I can swim and take dance class and I’m getting to be good at baseball because my brother helps me.

You can’t just be bummed out that you have lymphedema so I’m going to always try to find a cure. If I can do something hard for me, like walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and back, then maybe a smart scientist can do what’s hard for them and find a cure.

I try to raise money so we can research my disease and make it better. I even made a lemonade stand for LE&RN this year so we can raise more money. We cut the lemons, add water and sugar, and shake-shake-shake.

My team to kick lymphedema’s butt (mom, can I say that?) is called Emma’s Incredibles, because mom and dad say I’m a superhero. I think till I’m about 87 I’ll walk the Brooklyn Bridge until we find a cure…or maybe if I’m lucky I’ll only be 14.

I have to try my best to raise awareness so me and Connor and Kathy Bates and all the people that have lymphedema don’t have to get sad and hurt and have swelling anymore. My mom said I’m getting an award at the walk and I should make a speech. But I know she didn’t make any speeches when she was 7, so I think my dad should do it, because my mom will cry (what mom? You probably will!).

It’s pretty exciting to know that I’m only 7 and I can help people. I like to make people feel happy and smile. I always want to raise money to find a cure because I’ll always have lymphedema. I hope everyone knows that I’m always going to work my hardest until more people realize that even if we don’t find a cure, we need more help to stay healthy. I don’t know what insurance is but I want to tell them that my nighttime wraps would actually help me even though they tell mom they’re not necessary. Then I can be more of a normal kid at school during the day and do therapy at night.

I’m not going to stop living life even though I have lymphedema and I’m always going to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge because it’s important to everyone who has lymphedema. LE&RN makes me feel really special that they want to make me a Youth Ambassador this year. It sounds very important and I am very honored.

Thank you Mr. Bill and Colleen and Ms. Kathy and Connor and everyone on my team and to everyone who donated to my walk this year. I’m going to walk the whole bridge there and back and make everyone very proud.