- Amber Strong The Castleton community rallied around one of their own in a time of need. It's who we are, it's what we do. #AmberStrong

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Our Faculty Fellow The Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees recently honored Castleton Director of Choral Activities and Music Department Chair Sherrill Blodget as the…
Director of Choral Activities Earns Faculty Fellow Distinction · Castleton University
Music · Castleton University
Preston Garcia Earns Grant Dr. Preston Garcia (far right) was awarded a $300,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation.
Preston Garcia Earns $300,000 Research Grant · Castleton University
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Collaboration, Innovation, and Transformation Castleton University officially installs President Karen M. Scolforo in front of capacity crowd.
Castleton University Installs President Scolforo · Castleton University
eSports Starting Fall 2018 eSports is one of the fastest growing industries in the world and counts millions of gamers, fans, and some of the world’s largest investors among its…
eSports Headlines Club Sports Growth · Castleton University
The Vermont Academy of Fine Arts at Castleton University Growing the Arts A competitive, innovative, and immersive new program seeks to cultivate students with a passion for the arts.
Vermont’s First Fine Arts Academy Coming to Castleton · Castleton University
VIDEO Together, We Will Change the World We are Castleton, a university where individuals matter, differences are celebrated, and relationships are central to everything we do.
Together, We Will Change the World · Castleton University
Keeping it Green “My education at Castleton helped me to have the confidence it takes to become an entrepreneur."
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Healing Honduras “To be so openly welcomed and to make such deep connections with people who don’t even speak the same language as me was an amazing feeling. I was…
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Study Abroad Program Honored More than doubling the number of Castleton students taking advantage of study abroad opportunities, the Castleton Study Abroad Office was recently awarded…
Study Abroad Program Receives Seal of Excellence · Castleton University
Science at the Statehouse Castleton University students present scientific research created side-by-side with their faculty mentors at Vermont Statehouse.
Science at the Statehouse · Castleton University
Next Level Storytelling Castleton University's innovative new Content Lab seeks to take experiential learning to the next level.
Innovative Content Lab Focuses on Storytelling · Castleton University
Castleton Beast Pass Spartans Ski Free Castleton is an incredible place to live, learn, work, and play. We've made it easier to connect all four through a partnership with Killington.
Students Ski Free Thanks to New Partnership · Castleton University
Creating Global Change Isaac Devoid ‘17 is taking his volunteer efforts to a more global level as he begins a two-year of volunteer service for the Peace Corps.
Creating Global Change · Castleton University
From Castleton to the Caribbean Sarah Babin '05 took her love of the earth and its oceans on a successful, yet unexpected journey.
Castleton Degree Leads Alumna to Successful Entrepreneurial Venture · Castleton University
A World of Faces Showcasing the many faces of diversity at Castleton, international student Zhenting Wang focused her final project on sharing the heritage of her peers…
A World of Faces · Castleton University
Amber Strong The Castleton community rallied around one of their own in a time of need. It's who we are, it's what we do. #AmberStrong
Amber Strong · Castleton University
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Amber Strong · Castleton University News & Media Calendars Library Directory Alumni & Giving Castleton MenuWell-nighCastleton Quick Facts Our Campus President Karen Scolforo Our Leadership Our Faculty Our Academic Philosophy Host a Conference or Event on Campus Public Disclosure Employment Opportunities Academics Undergraduate Programs Graduate Programs Our Faculty Professional Development & Continuing Education Study Abroad Research Educational & Cultural Events Career Services & InternshipsPolityEngagement Academic Support Academic Resources Campus Life Campus & the Region Residence Life Clubs & Activities Arts & Culture Student Resources Campus Safety Religious Life Inclusive Excellence International Student Office Castleton StorePolityCommunity Engagement Center forPolityEngagement Sustainability & Green Campus Initiatives Spartan Arena Fitness Center Arts The Casella Theater Arts Facilities Art Galleries Arts Reach Performing Arts Calendar Becoming a Fine or Performing Arts Student Supporting the Arts at Castleton Contact Us Athletics Become a Spartan News & Updates Athletic Facilities Sports Camps & Clinics Hall of Fame Spartan Shield Society Give to Athletics Spartan Arena Athletic Bands Admissions Request Information For First-Year Students For Transfer Students For International Students For Graduate Students For Veterans Early College & Dual Enrollment Visit Tuition & Fees Financial Aid & Scholarships Contact the Admissions Team Home News & Media Amber Strong This Section Amber Strong News The Office of Marketing & Communications Social Media Hub Make a Web Request Submit an Event or Story The Castleton Spartan Press Room Share Your News or Event! Want us to help spread your news or event? Tell us more, here! Submit Newsletter Archive Did you miss one of our monthly newsletters? Catch up, or largest yet sign up to get the next one! Browse the Archive Amber Strong January 31, 2017 Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Print This In May 2016 Al and Micki Lees watched their only daughter navigate the stage underneath the Castleton Pavilion to receive her bachelor's in health science. That summer they witnessed Amber transition into the professional world as a pharmaceutical representative in dermatology for Bayer HealthCare with territories in the Queens, Long Island, and the Greater New York City Area. Six months later they found themselves on a family vacation in Park City, Utah, 2,138 miles from home, forced to wordplay questions well-nigh her wishes concerning life support. “I remember thinking, ‘I’m so sick, I finger like I’m going to die,’” Amber said. An alumna of the Castleton women’s tall ski team, Amber said she has defended nearly every winter to her ski racing career, and the last four to competing at the collegiate level.Consideringof the time required to prepare and perform at this level, the Lees family was never worldly-wise to take wholesomeness of holiday breaks together. Seizing the opportunity this year, Amber surprised her parents and brother, Tyler, with an all-expense paid week-long ski trip to Park City. Despite ringing in the New Year with the stomach bug, Amber and her family took flight for their dream vacation on Jan. 3. An hour without the plane touched lanugo Amber said she noticed a rash on her lower legs and wasn’t feeling well. A trip to the local medical clinic identified the symptoms as a virus but well-considered her to visit an emergency room if she experienced any changes.Withouta full day of rest serving to her hotel room, Amber said she awoke on Jan. 5. with grey skin, swollen extremities, and in excruciating pain. “I was so swollen it was like I didn’t have toes anymore,” she said. “I couldn’t walk.” A trip to the Park City ER quickly became a Medvac to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake, where, in the Intensive Care Unit, Amber became a clock race for seven separate teams of doctors. The tests unfurled to come when negative as her thoroughbred turned toxic with lactic wounding levels that soared as upper as 6.3 from the normal 0.0.-1.0 range. “A lactic wounding level of 4.5 is considered to be unbearable,” Amber said. “Basically my thoroughbred was straight acid.” As her soul declined from a Staph aureus infection, to toxic shock syndrome, to sepsis, to septic shock, and finally to kidney, liver, and lung failure, Amber said the doctors elected to put her into a medically induced coma. “They said my chances of surviving through the first night were well-nigh 10 percent,” she said. But survive she did. Amber spent a week in the slumber surpassing doctors were worldly-wise to identify the source as a highly warlike Staph infection that had settled into her spine and left eye. The infection had led to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, ARDS, which triggered her organ failure and caused her lungs to uncork filling with blood. With this transilience Amber’s fight transitioned to an upward climb. At first she responded only to painful stimuli, but when the doctors asked the semi-conscious Amber to show them how to do moguls, she began to move her feet. From that point she quickly made progress coming out of the coma. “When I first woke up I couldn’t use my phone considering I didn’t have the motor skills. But when I finally saw the messages I was crying,” she said. “It was overwhelming how much love I had.” Amber said she's expressly grateful for the support she and her family have received from the Castleton community. According to Castleton Men’s and Women’sTallSki Coach Chris Eder, the tall ski polity was tightly shaken by the former Spartan’s seemingly winless wrestle and was left only to ask, ‘What can we do?’ A true 21st century response, Eder said the group took to social media. “We reverted our CastletonTallSki Team Facebook profile picture to a photo of Amber and have been including her in all of our social media posts,” he said. “Many of our skiers have been posting photos of Amber to let her know that we are thinking of her and her family.” Eder said the team moreover opted to dedicate their season to Amber and found it an easy nomination to represent their former teammate with hair bows and Duct Tape, without her signature race day bows and notorious love of Duct Tape that’s confirmed by her custom license plate which reads: DUCTAPE. “Our men’s and women’s teams came together and decided that we would wear ribbons at each race in support of Amber,” Eder said. “Each member of the team has been wearing Duct Tape on their helmets that read ‘#Racing4Amber’.” Eder widow that as word spread virtually the mountain well-nigh Amber many athletes and coaches from other schools began asking the Castleton tall team for uneaten bows to show their support. According to Amber the hashtags, #Racing4Amber and #AmberStrong, went viral and the social media support she experienced was increasingly than she overly imagined. She plane began receiving videos on Facebook wishing her well from the US National Ski Team. “It’s wondrous how many people came together for me. I have the most wondrous friends in the world,” she said. Beyond the hashtags, Castleton women’s soccer alumna, Mallory Costello, created a GoFundMe page for Amber that exceed its goal of $10,000 and raised increasingly than $22,000 to help her family with hospital bills and hotel stays. Many others made the trek to Salt Lake to visit Amber and her family.Withouthis Jan. 13 race, senior men’s tall and All-American, Matt Couture, topside a plane to see his former teammate for a few days. While Amber was in the slumber former Spartan, Ben Hannah was vacationing in Utah and visited her family at the hospital. Despite a nine hour momentum through a snow and ice storm, men’s tall alumnus Patrick Burke moreover made the trip to repletion the Lees family. A former Spartan dual athlete on the women’s tall ski and soccer teams and now a Utah resident, Blaire Hooper visited the hospital every day to bring the family supplies and fresh clothes. “You don’t realize how many people you have in this world,” said Amber.Withouttwo and half weeks in the hospital, Amber and her family are now home in New Jersey, where she is still rival the infection with a five week IV antitoxin regiment and in-home physical therapy. As a result of forfeiture to her cranial nerve six, Amber is still experiencing double vision in her right eye, but is expected to make a full recovery. “This wits has definitely made me fathom all of the little things and the people in my life,” she said. “I’m just so happy to be walking.” While still in recovery in Salt Lake, Amber said her dad asked her what it was like to be at her own funeral. “I’ve been to the other side and back,” she said. “But as for stuff scared, I’m definitely not.” Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Print This Share Your News or Event! Want us to help spread your news or event? Tell us more, here! Submit Newsletter Archive Did you miss one of our monthly newsletters? Catch up, or largest yet sign up to get the next one! Browse the Archive Castleton Castleton University, Castleton, VT 05735 (800) 639-8521 Resources VSC Portal Contact Us Maps & Directions Employment Castleton Store © 2018 Castleton University. All rights reserved. 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