The National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI)  provides young people ages 18-24 years old in the bleeding disorders community with leadership opportunities to encourage personal growth, effect change, and positively influence others.

Meet some of the young people from the bleeding disorders community striving to become recognized leaders.

How to join the NYLI

Delila Arreola

Delila Arreola


Chicago, Illinois

I'm a senior at UIC double majoring in biological sciences and English on the pre-med track studying to become a hematologist! I enjoy playing volleyball, going on runs, reading, playing the guitar and piano, baking, and volunteering in various areas in my community!

Devin Smith

Devin Smith


Corvallis, Oregon

Hello! My name is Devin Smith and I have von Willebrand's Disease. I am currently attending Iowa State University pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. Ever since being diagnosed with VWD at the age of 2, I have been involved with the community. I am looking forward to getting to experience many important bleeding disorder events, such as BDC, from a new perspective as a representative of NHF and an adult rather than just an attendee. In my free time I enjoy hiking and biking.

Donovan Guerrero

Donovan Guerrero


, New Hampshire

Hello, my name is Donovan Guerrero and I am in my first year of the NYLI program. I live in New Hampshire. I work at at a supermarket called Market Basket. I am a grocery clerk, which means I stock shelves, face shelves, sack groceries, and help the customers when they need it. I go to Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. It is my first year there. I am pursuing a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. I am living with family in the outskirts of Boston while I am attending college, to make for a shorter commute to school. My goal is to start my own business someday that pertains to my field. I would like to work in industry for a few years after college to get a good foundation and understanding of what the engineering field is like. I would say I am a hard worker and I believe in putting in the work to get to where you want to go to. I am an involved student at school. Some clubs that I am a member of at school are the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the Anglers' Association. In these clubs we design robots, machine projects, and take fishing trips. During the next semester, I plan to pursue my Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification to help me when I down the line when I open my own business. I have been a part of the bleeding disorder community since I was around ten years old. I have severe hemophilia Type A with inhibitors. I am a community member and volunteer in my local hemophilia chapter, the New England Hemophilia Association (NEHA). I have been a camp counselor in the summer at NEHA's family camp for the past two years. I try to be an advocate for my community in whatever way I can. When I am not in work or school, I like to go fishing, hiking, camping, do woodworking, read, and hang out with the boys. I am humbled to be a part of this group and am looking forward to these next two years with NYLI.

Gabi Flores

Gabi Flores


St. Louis, Missouri

I am a student at the University of Colorado - Denver studying political science. I have a platelet disorder and have always been very involved with my home chapter in STL, but I have had the opportunity to start volunteering more with the Colorado chapter after moving out here this past year for school. One of my favorite things about this community is getting to meet people and expand my bleeder family. When I am not volunteering I love going hiking, watching soccer, spending time with my friends and family, and traveling! I am super excited to start my NYLI journey and to become a better advocate for those with chronic bleeding disorders.

Genesis Erickson

Genesis Erickson


Tampa, Florida

Genesis is a senior at the University of North Florida studying biomedical sciences and public health. She hopes to attend PA school after graduation and later work in the field of hematology. She was diagnosed at age 14 with VWD and recently with an unspecified platelet disorder. Since her diagnosis, she became involved with her local chapter, the Hemophilia Foundation of Greater Florida, where she found her love for serving the bleeding disorders community. Genesis enjoys exploring new places and learning new things! She feels blessed to be a part of the bleeding disorders community and the NYLI because of the people who have welcomed her with loving arms and been supportive and helpful through her journey. Through NYLI, she hopes to learn how to be a better educator and advocate for people with bleeding disorders.

Hery Acosta

Hery Acosta


Indianapolis, Indiana

I am a 19-year-old college student with Von WIllebrand type 2A. I have been advocating for bleeding disorders for years and I mainly focus on athletics.

Kyla Toney

Kyla Toney


North Bend, Oregon

Kyla is a student at Eastern Gateway Community College and is studying to get a degree in Healthcare Administration. After obtaining her degree in healthcare administration, she will attend university to obtain her bachelor's degree in Public Health. In the future, she hopes to work for a non-profit organization. Kyla became involved with the Oregon chapter after being diagnosed with type 1 Von Willebrand Disease in August of 2017 at the age of sixteen. Kyla is the first and only person in her family diagnosed with a bleeding disorder. Being involved with her local chapter helped her to educate her family on what it is like to live with a bleeding disorder. Community service has always played a big part in Kyla's life. She has volunteered much of her time to many non-profit organizations. Kyla realized advocating for the bleeding disorders community was a big passion of hers after attending Oregon's advocacy day. Kyla wants to use this opportunity to not only continue to advocate, but to also educate others on bleeding disorders. Kyla wants to encourage others to be involved with their local chapters.

Luke Luckey

Luke Luckey


Manchester, Michigan

Luke is a senior studying Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience at the University of Michigan. After graduation, he plans to go to medical school and become either a neurologist or psychiatrist. He was diagnosed with severe hemophilia A at birth. He is a part of his hemophilia chapter at Hemophilia Foundation of Michigan and actively volunteers for his bleeding disorders community by advocating for better health insurance for those impacted by bleeding disorders through annual Lansing Days. As a member of NYLI, he hopes to gain various professional skills that can help him make a long-term impact in the bleeding disorders community. Furthermore, through NYLI, he hopes to meet new people and make new friends. During his free time, he enjoys playing the violin, traveling to different places, and spending time with family and friends

Madeline Smith

Madeline Smith


Corvallis, Oregon

Madeline is a student at Oregon State University majoring in political science. She has von Willebrand Disease and has several family members with VWD and hemophilia. She volunteers often with her local chapter and enjoys attending advocacy events. She is a competitive Irish Dancer and likes biking and hiking in her free time.

Nitya Bhattarai

Nitya Bhattarai


Orange, Connecticut

Nitya Bhattarai is a third year student at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT where he is majoring in Allied Health Sciences on a track to go to Nursing school. Nitya has severe Hemophilia B and has been involved in the Connecticut and New England Chapters of the National Hemophilia Foundation for eight years, where he has volunteered and attended several camps throughout his life. His career goal is to work as a Pediatric Hematology Nurse, get his Master’s Degree in Public Health, and work within the bleeding disorder community. He is excited to learn and grow in the NYLI program.

Samuel Petty

Samuel Petty


Buena Vista, Virginia

I am Sam, a Senior at Southern Virginia University (SVU). I am majoring in Biochemistry and Business Management. My career plan is to work as a hematologist researching the rare bleeding disorders. I currently work as both a Chemistry Tutor and Resident Advisor at SVU. If I'm not at work, you can find me at the gym, studying, or volunteering. I like to work with Remote Area Medicine (RAM) or with my local chapter. I am excited to work with my colleagues in NYLI and at NHF.

Swedha Rajaram

Swedha Rajaram


Okemos, Michigan

Hello Everyone! My name is Swedha Rajaram. I am 20 yrs old and currently attending Michigan State University. I am majoring in Human Biology and have an interest to pursue a career in the medical world. I have recently joined the National Youth Leadership Institute through NHF. Through this program I plan to expand my involvement in the bleeding disorder community and integrate myself through research and volunteering. I am currently working as an analyst for a research study relating women and girls with bleeding disorders and the effect of telemedicine on diagnosis and treatment. My other interests involve swimming, painting, and traveling.

Tyler Jones

Tyler Jones


Evansville, Indiana

Hey there online world! I’m a 19 year old with Hemophilia A that recently teamed up with NHF via their National Youth Leadership Institute. With NHF’s help I’ve been able to expand my involvement with the bleeding disorder community outside of my home state of Indiana, and work with members of the community all over the country! I’m currently involved in the advocacy track, learning how to advocate for our community through politics, stakeholder meetings and more. If you would like to contact me please email me: tyler2.jones01@gmail.com or give me a call at +1 (812) 499-2354

Victoria Emory

Victoria Emory


Melbourne, Florida

Hello! I am a undergraduate student attending University of South Florida. I am studying Biomedical Sciences. My career goal is to work in the Hematology field hopefully doing research to help further treatments for those with bleeding disorders. I am heavily involved in my local chapters, The Bleeding Disorders Coalition of Florida, Florida Hemophilia Association and the Hemophilia Foundation of Greater Florida. Some of my favorite things to do is to travel and go to Disney. I love going to the beach and going on new adventures with my friends and family.