Episode 105: Naturalist Brittany Sumner on Life with Rare Muscle Disease Paramyotonia Congenita

Episode 105: Naturalist Brittany Sumner on Life with Rare Muscle Disease Paramyotonia Congenita


Born and raised in South Carolina, 27-year-old Brittany Sumner always felt like she was different than her peers — both physically and mentally. At an early age, she began falling over without explanation, finding herself unable to climb stairs, going cross-eyed, experiencing slurred speech, choking on food, and feeling almost constant fatigue. It took some time to find a specialist who truly saw her symptoms as something more, and was finally able to diagnose her with a rare condition called Paramyotonia congenita (PMC). While the diagnosis gave her a sense of relief, it also scared her. What if she couldn't do the things she loved so much? What if she couldn't get a job because of her muscle disorder? Fast forward to her adult life: she is a wildlife biologist, outdoor educator, and conservationist. While she’s currently unemployed because of COVID-19, before the pandemic started she was working as a naturalist — taking students on hikes, teaching them about ecology and the outdoors, and leading conservation and sustainability study-abroad trips for high school students. Her passion is the environment and teaching the next generation about the importance of protecting it. While she’s busy inspiring kids, her students inspire her to get out of bed each morning, too — especially when she is having a bad pain day. In her free time, she loves to kayak, garden, hike, read, and spend time with her new niece!



Brittany Sumner Paramyotonia congenita naturalist conservationist Uninvisible Pod chronic illness disability

Transcript coming soon!

In the meantime, tune into these other episodes about muscular conditions and rare disease:

43: Ilana Jacqueline

47: Devri Velazquez

79: Keisha Greaves

82: Lisa Sniderman (Aoede)

91: Sabrina Marie Vera


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