Meet Ausra, a resilient and driven Changemaker from Cork. As a personal trainer, Ausra is passionate about fitness, which she considers her therapy and a way of releasing her emotions. Living a healthy lifestyle is of utmost importance to her.

Ausra's journey with a rare disease, Gaucher disease, began when she was diagnosed in 2012, at the age of 27/28. Despite the challenges of living with a rare disease, Ausra has remained mentally strong and determined. She successfully juggles her role as a mother with her job as a personal trainer and manages her condition with regular treatment.

Ausra chose to be involved in the I am Number 17 campaign to raise awareness about rare diseases and to provide support to others in similar situations. She believes that sharing her story can help newly diagnosed individuals understand that they can lead a normal life, have children, work, and pursue their passions.

Her hope for anyone living with a rare disease in Ireland is that they understand that although the diagnosis can be scary, they can learn, adapt, and continue to function as best they can. When asked to describe her experience of living with a rare disease in four words she chose: Empowered, Confident, Resilient and Driven.

Photography by Julien Behal