img_9171Amber Turner, 35, originally studied health sciences and received a BA from UCCS. Her goal was to be a high school athletic director. The birth of her son in 2007 set her on a different course. Born with a rare genetic condition called Townes-Brocks syndrome, Cortland required round the clock care. Life began for Cortland in the NICU for 6 weeks, but soon transitioned to having Amber not only as his mother, but as his medical caregiver.

In 2009, Amber became a paid caregiver for her son through a Medicaid waiver program. This allowed her to receive reimbursement for the nursing care she was giving her son. Becoming a paid caregiver required taking CNA classes and getting certified as a CNA.

After working as a CNA caregiver to her son for seven years, Amber began working at The Independence Center as Home Health Assistant. Amber’s ambitions began to shift from health sciences to medical advocacy.

She has a vision to become a medical advocate for parents with children in NICU. She bases this on the need she felt when Cortland was in the NICU. What was particularly difficult for Amber during that time was the fact that she had to navigate Cortland’s medical diagnosis and care, while trying also to simply be Cortland’s mother. This sadly caused her to miss enjoying and recording several early milestones in her son’s life.

Of the chaotic time when Cortland was in NICU she said, “I unfortunately felt like I was on an island alone with Cortland,” and her vision is to change this for anyone else who goes through a similar situation. Through tuition reimbursement at The Independence Center, she plans to pursue her nursing degree as a stepping stone into medical advocacy. Ultimately, her passion for caregiving for her son has given her a new direction for a fulfilling career.