Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa Eickel

Volunteer Spotlight: Lisa Eickel

Tell us about your professional/educational background.
I received my Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology in 2010 from James Madison University.  I have worked in Early Intervention, charter schools, private practice, and most recently in the Public School System. Right now, I’m a stay at home / part-time work from home mom to three boys.

What makes the National CMV Foundation's mission powerful for you?
When I was 8 weeks pregnant with my middle child, I found out I had a primary CMV infection that may have transmitted to my baby in utero.  The next 6 months were spent in countless doctor appointments to monitor my baby’s growth and potential transmission.  Owen was born symptomatic at 37 weeks gestation and received a congenital CMV diagnosis with the virus present in his urine, saliva, and Cerebral Spinal Fluid.  Increasing awareness about this disease is vital to prevention! It breaks my heart to hear moms say they haven’t ever heard of CMV (I was one of them!) – knowledge is power AND prevention!

What made you decide to get more involved with the National CMV Foundation, as a Community Alliance Chair?
My family lives in the DMV (District/ Maryland/ Virginia) area and we are blessed to have access to some of the best medical care around. But when I found myself grappling with the potential of a CMV diagnosis, the reality hit and I felt isolated and alone. I didn’t know a single parent who had a child with CMV. I want to help build a network of parents affected by CMV to support moms and dads with new diagnosis so they can feel empowered and supported in their journey parenting a child with special needs due to CMV. 

In your role as CMV Community Alliance Chair, what goals have you set for 2020?
One of my biggest goals is to get the word out! I want Early Interventionists, Speech Language Pathologists, Occupational and Physical Therapists, teachers, parents… everyone to know that CMV is real and its effects can be devastating. I want to also spread hope that a diagnosis of CMV opens up a network of support to parents and therapists alike. I hope to partner with local hospitals and NICUs to let them know that the National CMV Foundation is out there and we are here to be a resource and support. 

What does success look like to you?
For me, success looks like supporting my family, raising kids who are happy, love others, and care about the community around them. It is changing the perception of congenital birth defects and educating others on CMV through my family’s journey. 

What motivates you?
My kids! My oldest is so caring toward his younger brother who was born with cCMV and is such a protector for him and his well-being. My middle son is tenacious and sensitive and has overcome so much- he has fought so hard for each milestone and I can’t wait to see what the next years of his life will bring. And we have a newborn baby in the house!

As a volunteer leader, what advice do you have for people who want to work on CMV advocacy, but don’t know where to start?
Don’t be afraid to start somewhere.  Talk to your medical team, National CMV Foundation members,  neighbors, school parents, ask questions and don’t shy away from sharing your story. Sharing our stories is a powerful way to connect with others and spread the word to stop CMV!

Favorite quote?
“You never know how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have.” ~Bianca Olthoff

What do you like most about living in Ashburn, Virginia?
We are just an hour outside of Washington D.C. and all the sights it entails, but in Ashburn we have the space to let our kids loose to run and play and explore nature. 

You're happiest when?
When I’m outside, watching my kids play together (hopefully harmoniously), adventuring to a park or trail, eating great food or getting lost in a good book.