One student has turned her illness into an opportunity to educate and inspire others.
Amanda Kronhaus, acting freshman, was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in Spring 2013 during her sophomore year of high school. As a result, Kronhaus founded Project Neck Check in November 2014.
Prior to her diagnosis, she had trouble managing her weight and suffered from depression, but wasn’t sure why.
“You have a lot of symptoms including hair loss, weight gain, and your moods can be very dramatic,” Kronhaus said. “I struggled with depression and people just thought I had something wrong with me, but it’s a physical disorder that has varying effects on your entire body.”
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which thyroid tissue is attacked by the body’s immune system. As a result, the tissue dies and there is a decrease in the production of hormones.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism.
Initially, no doctors tested her thyroid, Kronhaus said.
It wasn’t until she went to a different doctor that she discovered there were problems with her thyroid.
Kronhaus started Project Neck Check as a result of her experience to advocate for treatment and awareness of thyroid issues.
“I was misdiagnosed with a lot of different things,” Kronhaus said. “One of the reasons I wanted to start Project Neck Check is because a lot of doctors do not think to check for thyroid disorders.”
Project Neck Check is Kronhaus’s platform when she competes in pageants. Kronhaus has competed in pageants since she was 8 years old.
She said she hopes to raise awareness for thyroid disease and inspire others suffering with thyroid problems.
“It’s so much more common than people think, and I just really want to raise awareness for it,” Kronhaus said.
Project Neck Check became an official non-profit organization in October.
The next step for the organization is to develop a board of directors and begin promoting it, Kronhaus said.
“I think it’s great that she could turn her passion into a real organization,” said Phillip Oliver, entertainment business junior.