Hospital Essentials For Inpatients

For those that have ever been diagnosed with disease or disability, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of hospital sleepovers. For obvious reasons, being an inpatient is never very comfortable, and you always seem to forget something you need for your overnight stay(s).

Bella Soul’s UW-Chapter Secretary Kym is the Queen of Comfy!

Next time you’re expected to be an inpatient at the hospital, whether it’s for some sort of procedure or surgery, don’t be unprepared! You want to be as comfortable as you can, so here is a list of hospital essentials to improve the quality of your stay:

  1. Wear comfy and easy clothing. If you’re getting surgery or any kind of procedure done, you’ll want to wear comfy clothes that you can easily slip out of when you arrive to the hospital.
  2. Bring extra clothing. If you’re at the hospital for more than a day, you’ll be happy you brought an extra pair of clothes. Make sure you pack comfy/stretchy sweatpants and a loose fitting t-shirt or sweatshirt, your favorite pair of underwear (we all have our favorites), and a warm pair of socks. When you wake up from your procedure, often times your incision sites are sore. Wearing comfy, stretchy, and baggy clothes will help reduce agitation to these areas.
  3. Bring extra blankets and pillows. I don’t know about you, but whenever I stay overnight at the hospital I’m always freezing! Also, hospital pillows are not fluffy whatsoever, so I highly recommend bringing one from home.
  4. Bring your tablet, laptop or books. Obviously if you’re stuck inside a tiny room all day you’re going to get bored very fast. Play games, watch movies, chat with your friends from your tablet or laptop, or read your favorite book while you recover. If you’re really feeling optimistic, bring your homework!
  5. A necessity: Your phone charger. Take it from me; I’m the queen of forgetting my charger at home. If you’re texting your friends from bed all day, you’re definitely going to want it.
  6. Never forget your own toiletries. The hospital usually has generic sample-size shampoo and conditioner bottles. This will NOT do if you are a female with long hair. There’s nothing worse than getting a procedure done and then laying in bed for days without showering. If you plan on being at the hospital for multiple days, bring your own bathroom essentials to help your stay be more comfortable.
  7. Most importantly, bring your patience and positive attitude. Surgery, or any kind of procedure for that matter, is obviously never fun and usually the last resort when all other options have failed. Understand that you may feel pretty crummy after you wake up from the procedure and that it takes time for you to heal and feel like yourself again. Keep your head up and know that the hospital staff are there to help you with anything.

If you bring anything for your hospital overnight stays not mentioned above, tweet them to me with the handle @lauren_wilmet; I’d love to hear them!

Bella Soul’s founder keeping her head held high after her procedure!


How To Become a Bella Soul “Featured Story”

Bella Soul encourages college students from all over the nation to open up and share their medical stories. By doing so, these students gain support that they may never knew they had!

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Here’s a picture of my story featured on Bella Soul’s website!

Bella Soul believes that those facing disease or disability while also being a student deserve some recognition and praise. That’s why every month the nonprofit organization features a student and their personalized story on its websiteFacebook and Twitter.

Interested in becoming Bella Soul’s next featured story? It’s simple! All you have to do is write about your own story- share your journey from the time you were diagnosed with your ailment to where you are now.

Here are a few things you may find beneficial to incorporate:

  • How have you improved from the time you were diagnosed?
  • What have you learned from your disease?
  • Do you have any advice for other students battling disease or disability?

The final step is submitting your story to Bella Soul’s email:!

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Picture of me super happy and thankful for all of the support I received after posting my story to Bella Soul! (It’s really from my birthday).

When I was first diagnosed with my disease, I never wanted to talk to anyone about it (and that’s all it seemed people wanted to talk about). Writing about my journey through kidney disease was my form of therapy. It also was an easy way for my friends and family that were concerned about me to understand (in detail) what I was going through. After being featured on Bella Soul’s website, I got an overwhelmingly large amount of support from people all over the nation. To me, although talking about my disease was not always the easiest, sharing my journey on the Internet was 100% worth it.

I hope it’s worth it for you, too.

Want to learn about my own journey? Check it out, here!

If you have any further questions, or would like for information about sharing your story with Bella Soul, feel free to tweet me: @lauren_wilmet.

Bella Soul: The Meaning Behind The Palm Tree

BS Drawing

Many of you may have been wondering, “What the heck is the significance behind the palm tree in Bella Soul’s logo?” Well, it comes from this beautiful quote:

 “It is the nature of the strong heart, that like the palm tree it strives ever upwards when it is most burdened.” ~Philip Sidney

Some of you may be thinking it’s just some silly quote. But, I think that anyone who has ever had to face obstacles in their life can relate to it.

Ring I bought that says, “I promise to stay positive.” I wore it everyday through my toughest times.

When I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease, there were times it was impossible to keep an optimistic mindset. However, I would not be where I am today if I lived my life with a negative mentality. I kept my heart strong with my chin held high, even when I was going through the toughest of times. In that way, the palm tree symbolizes myself in the quote.

If you ever run into some bumps in the road just remember to be strong, be positive, and live in the moment. Stand tall like a palm tree, even when you are most burdened. If I can do it, you can do it, too!

I might not be the most inspirational speaker/blogger, so take it from Katy Perry and the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock:

As always, you can reach out to me on Twitter by using my handle @lauren_wilmet.

Racing For Those In Need

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On your mark. Get set. Go!

This summer, Bella Soul is teaming up with the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation to put on a race in Germantown Hills, Illinois. The 2.5-mile walk or full 5K run is to help raise money for cerebral palsy research, as well as to provide scholarships to college students living with physical disease or disability.

Bella Soul and the CPIRF hope that this race will not only raise money for those in need, but also raise awareness of these organizations that strive to improve individuals’ lives!

Registration for the race begins at 6:30 AM the day of the race. The registration packets include t-shirts and goodie bags! Those participating in the race are also welcome to join Bella Soul and CPIRF for breakfast after the run.

WHO: Bella Soul and the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation

WHAT: 2.5-mile run or 5K run

WHEN: Saturday, July 18th 2015.

  • Registration is from 6:30-7:30 AM
  • Race kicks off at 8:00 AM

WHERE: Jubilee Lane in Germantown Hills, Illinois

WHY: To raise awareness and money for developmental brain disorders and college students battling disease or disability.


  • $25 for those 17 years old and under
  • $30 for adults
  • No credit cards accepted race day

To register, visit Bella Soul’s website to sign up or download the pdf form here: Bella Soul 5K Race Registration Form. Please bring your completed registration form to the race and pay with cash or check, or email the form to by June 30th.

So get out your running shoes and meet us bright and early on July 18th. We hope to see you there!

For any further questions, tweet me, @lauren_wilmet or @livebellasoul!

Al running
Pictured is Bella Soul’s Secretary, Alex!


Introducing Bella Soul, UW-Madison Chapter

BS DrawingThe 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Bella Soul, is officially a registered student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison!

 Bella Soul’s mission is to provide mental and financial support to college students battling disease or disability. I know before I found Bella Soul, I felt like I didn’t relate to anyone on campus. That’s why Bella Soul’s UW-Madison chapter was formed- to create a social environment for students battling physical ailments. However, the chapter welcomes and encourages all individuals from any background who have an interest in being involved!

As a student org, Bella Soul hopes to build a community for students with disease or disability so they know they’re not alone on campus. It’s a great way for students to get to know fellow Badgers bucky bella soulthat have been in their shoes. Being part of this organization could also be a learning opportunity for those never diagnosed with an ailment to recognize the struggles some students live with every day.

Bella Soul, UW-Madison Chapter will hold community service and fundraising events. The money raised be put toward the not-for-profit Bella Soul’s scholarship fund in order to reward students in need of financial support.

Meetings for this student organization begin fall semester of 2015. Check us out at the student org fair (September 8-9th) for more information, or head to Bella Soul’s page on the Wisconsin Involvement Network website.

For any further questions, tweet me with the handle “@lauren_wilmet.” I hope to hear from you or see you at the org fair!

The Importance of Working With Your Disease

“The sooner you are open to the reality of your disease, the sooner you’ll be able to work with it, instead of in defeat of it.” –Ilana Jacqueline

When I saw this quote, or rather, tweet from blogger Ilana Jacqueline, it instantly hit home for me. It made me think about my past, and it reminded me that I’m glad to be where I am today.

When I was first diagnosed with my disease in 2012, I was put on so many meds to try to get my flare ups under control. I was taking around 20 pills per day, and each of them had their own set of side effects.

One medication called “prednisone” really took control of my body. As I explained in a previous blog post, this drug works wonders for the body but comes with side effects that can really alter your body image. Being on this medication, I gained almost 50 pounds of water weight. My whole body was swollen and poofy to the point where I couldn’t fit in my winter boots. I even got nasty stretch marks all over my body.

Spring break in San Diego, 2013.

Now, I know that’s not the end of the world and that I’m lucky to be alive and healthy today. However, as a freshman in college when you have to crawl out of your shell to meet people, I wanted to do the exact opposite and crawl deep into a shell that was non-existent until this medication invaded my body.

About a month or so ago, the picture to the right resurfaced Facebook for some odd reason and I was NOT happy about it. I was embarrassed of what I used to look like while on all of my meds and I couldn’t understand why someone dug through my pictures to “like” one that looks nothing like I do today. The picture kept getting more likes, and I (once again) felt like crawling back into that shell.

Seeing this quote on Twitter reminded me of how embarrassed I was when that picture went viral on social media (in my eyes, anyway). I clearly was not open to the reality of my disease, and therefore my disease had defeated me. Seeing this quote made me realize that even when I’m presented with memories of my rocky past, I have to face them. Without those bumps in the road I wouldn’t be where I am, or the person I am, today! Most of all, I wouldn’t have been led to the nonprofit organization Bella Soul, which has really helped me grow as a person.

If you’ve ever been diagnosed with disease or disability and have ever felt this way, I hope this quote has opened your eyes as it did for me! Also, be sure to check out @IlanaJacqueline on Twitter; she is awesome and very relatable to college students battling disease!

My roommate and me, 2015.

Scholarship Open to Students Facing Disease or Disability

BBW Bella Soul ScholarshipThe nonprofit organization Bella Soul’s mission is not only to support students battling disease or disability, but also to award these hardworking students with scholarships. These scholarships can be used as the individual pleases, but are given out to support the student and their families who are battling the expenses of college tuition and medical bills.

Bella Soul has officially opened up the application for its Bourget, Bieber and Wilmet scholarship. This scholarship is in remembrance of the families who have donated to Bella Soul and have helped the organization be able to provide financial aid to students in need!

So, if you’re a college student living with physical ailments or disease, this scholarship may be just for you!

Here are the scholarship requirements:

  1. The applicant must be a college student living with a physical ailment, disease and/or disability.
  2. The applicant must be enrolled as a full time student at an accredited university or college.
  3. The applicant must not be on academic probation.

Finished applications must be turned into by 11:59 pm on August 3rd, 2015!

If you are interested in applying, check out Bella Soul’s Scholarship page for more information. The application (Bella Soul Small Scholarship Application) is also uploaded for students wanting to apply!

Chelsea rockin’ it in the doctor’s office!

Want to learn about our last scholarship winner? Click here to read Chelsea’s story. The obstacles she has overcome are truly inspirational. She is a fighter!

For any further questions, tweet me with the handle @lauren_wilmet and I will get back to you ASAP!