Stephanie (Butler) Buxhoeveden '09 CON

A member of the Villanova Nursing Alumni Association, Stephanie '09 CON presents on stage during her March 2015 TEDxHerndon talk, "Thriving in the Face of Adversity."

Stephanie (Butler) Buxhoeveden ’09 BSN, RN, CCRN, MSCN is an inspirational example of how a person can take devastating news and turn it into a way to create change and instill hope in others. In January 2013, Stephanie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), while studying to become a nurse anesthetist. MS is an immune-mediated disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system.

Where most people would see this as an end to their story, Stephanie saw it as just the beginning. Six months after diagnosis, she became an MS-certified nurse and began working at the same facility where she was also a patient. Today, after completing her master’s degree at Rutgers, she serves as a Nurse Practitioner at a large private practice in Virginia, specializing in the care of people with MS and other neurological diseases.

In her personal time, Stephanie is passionate about advocating for MS research and awareness. In March 2015, she gave a TED talk at TEDxHerndon called “Thriving in the Face of Adversity.”

"[The Ted Talk is] about turning personal hardships into opportunities to make a difference, and how I turned my diagnosis and my nursing experience into an opportunity to make an impact in the MS community," Stephanie explained.

Today, she serves as a District Activist Leader for the National MS Society, volunteers on the membership committee of iConquerMS, and serves as a consultant for Can Do MS. In addition, Stephanie writes articles about MS for magazines, online publications, and her own MS blog, Just Keep S’Myelin. The blog about MS not only contains helpful information about the disease but is also an inspiration for individuals with MS and those who know someone with the disease. 

In support of MS Awareness Month this March, Stephanie will participate in Walk MS, as well as attend her fourth National Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.—during which she has the opportunity to meet with senators and congressmen about the issues facing those with MS.

Stephanie is a role model and positive influence for those diagnosed with MS, and that same positivity is noted by others with whom she comes in contact. Stephanie’s mother is extremely proud of her, sharing in a letter to the College of Nursing, “It occurred to me that Stephanie is the definition of what Villanova strives to instill in their students. Acting compassionately and succeeding while serving others is at the core of my daughter’s personality.”