by Vicki Heisser |
PWSC outdoor leadership student Auj Bulow recently moved to Valdez from New Lenox, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Auj Bulow draws a lot of strength and inspiration from her mother, Fran.
“My mom is the pillar of strength…growing up my mom had pulmonary alveolar proteinosis (PAP) a syndrome that blocks air from entering alveoli and oxygen from passing through into the blood, which results in a feeling of breathlessness. Life has been very tough for her. She has battled cancer, a stroke, both of her lungs collapsed…Throughout my childhood growing up, she's always inspired me, because no matter how sick she was, she always wanted to make sure that she could be a mom for us and help provide for us.
In March 2020, my mom underwent a double lung transplant. She received one of the last transplants before everything shut down due to the pandemic. We were not allowed to visit her for 100 days. During that time, we had so much support. My mom’s recovery was tough…she never gave up.”
When Bulow decided to come to PWSC, her mom, and her aunt, came right along with her. Helping her embark on a new journey.
“It was my mom and my Aunt Beth that came and dropped me off [in Alaska]. I'm so, so glad that I get to come out here to live my life… and she gets to see what I'm doing. It inspires her to keep doing stuff.”
Bulow’s family is one where each member serves as an inspiration to the others. While her mother has motivated her, so too has her father.
“If my dad didn't …work so hard, I think I'd have a completely different life. I probably wouldn't have been able to come to Alaska. It's been really important to me that I have such incredible parents. I've been inspired to truly try to live as intentionally as possible because of them. I wouldn't trade this journey for the world, and it's been super sweet being here. It just means so, so much being in Alaska.”