You Know You’re From...Stevens Point: Haley Elmhorst
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - Who would have thought there’s money in bunnies.
For 23-year-old Haley Elmhorst, rabbits are her way of life.
“I got a rabbit when I was 12,” she said.
It was then when Haley’s passion grew. To the point she started her own YouTube channel a year later.
“I wanted to be a movie star because that’s what I wanted when I was 13,” she said with a big laugh.
IF YOU HAVE A STORY IDEA FOR DALE, YOU CAN EMAIL HIM HERE.
Turns out, others shared her excitement, too. To the tune of 208,000 subscribers and growing. Her 509 videos have been viewed more than 31.5 million times. Her most popular one checks in at 2.6 million.
“These little girls who come up to me and just start crying and hug me,” Haley said. “I just don’t realize the effect that my videos do have on people until I see those people in person.”
With her YouTube channel growing in popularity, life was good. But sometime in 2016, while working at Hobby Lobby, something happened.
“I was blacking out about 30 or more times a shift.”
After a year, doctors finally diagnosed Haley with POTS-- Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. When she’s standing, her blood rushes to her feet affecting her breathing, blood pressure, circulation and heart rate.
“In my chest I have a needle and it goes into a device called a port-a-cath that’s implanted under my skin,” she said pointing to the device on her chest, “and there’s a catheter that runs directly into my heart.”
That, plus a wheelchair when she’s starting to feel bad keeps her off her feet and functioning.
“You’re laying in bed 20 hours a day,” Haley recalled. “You don’t see anyone, you’re watching Netflix all day. It’s not as great as it sounds.”
“I think about what she’s been through and what she goes through everyday, I’m proud of her strength,” said her dad, Andy Elmhorst.
Abby Boschke is the shipping coordinator for 101 Rabbits and Haley’s former roommate. “I’m happy that she got diagnosed and she knows what’s going on now. She’s getting the care she needs. I’m just really happy she got to where she is now.”
“Even though it’s not a rare diagnosis, it’s rarely diagnosed,” Haley said.
The good news is her quality of life is stable.
In less than a year, 101 Rabbits has gone from her basement to a retail store in mid-March.
“Haley’s fully supported with the business and it is profitable which is pretty astonishing,” Andy said, “considering we’re only 12 months into this.”
“Without him I would not be where I am today,” Haley said about her dad.
Haley’s the boss she never had.
“It’s really nice to have a boss who, you can message and say I’m having a really rough day today. And she understands,” said purchasing associate Jaci Jerome.
“I don’t think I could ever not be my own boss,” said Haley.
Bunny business that’s taken her to her “hoppy” place.
“Yes,” she said with her infectious laugh.
Haley also has minor Tourettes and EDS, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, which caused her to have chronic knee dislocations from when she was dancing.
She says if she wasn’t passionate about rabbits and helping people learn to care for them, she would’ve been done a long time ago.
101 Rabbits is located 2917 Post Road in Stevens Point. They’re open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1 p.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Copyright 2021 WSAW. All rights reserved.