Medela Recycles Ambassador Spotlight: Amber Johnson + Emily Vanek

September 14, 2015

Our Medela Recycles donations take us to Denver this month, and we have not just one, but two amazing ambassadors to help us spread the word about the program! Amber Borowski Johnson and Emily Vanek shared with us their experiences with breastfeeding, why they give back, and what Medela Recycles means to them. Read on to learn what inspires these mamas to help other moms in need.

We are so grateful for your support of Medela Recycles. What inspired you to join us as a Medela Recycles Ambassador?

Amber: I’m all about paying it forward, especially as it pertains to women’s and baby’s health. When I finished breastfeeding, I honestly had no idea what to do with my breast pump because I assumed no one would want it due to sanitary reasons…so it ended up in the dumpster. I love that Medela Recycles is focusing on how to recycle pumps properly and in an eco-friendly way.

Emily: As a mom of three boys, I’ve had three very different experiences with breastfeeding. I wasn’t able to breastfeed with my eldest due to health issues he had and the lack of breast pumps available. It became a special mission of mine to try very hard to breastfeed my second child, and I was successful with the help of a pump. My youngest was able to breastfeed for nine months as well, before health issues, food allergies and sensitivities were detected and we needed to transition to a different option. I support moms whichever way they choose to feed their infants but had a feeling of accomplishment and pride when I could offer my babies breast milk.

What about Medela Recycles speaks to you?

Amber: I don’t think you can walk into a NICU and not be greatly impacted by the lives of those precious babies. The idea of Medela Recycles partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Charities to provide the same high-quality equipment for these moms during this time is a beautiful way to help them care for their babies in a life-giving way.

Emily: Recycling the pumps so other moms who otherwise wouldn’t have access to breast pumps while staying in Ronald McDonald Houses is a wonderful idea and program. Without programs like this, I would have been unable to breastfeed my younger two children. It’s obviously something near and dear to me.

How does your role as a mother influence your work with Medela Recycles and RMHC?

Amber: Since becoming a mom, I am so much more empathetic to the struggles of other moms. Every day, women inspire me in their fight to provide what is best for their children. Medela Recycles’ partnership with RMHC is one example of a way to do good in the world by making another mom’s life easier as she provides for her baby. I’ve always been touched by RMHC’s mission and am looking forward to visiting RMHC Denver.

Emily: When you become a mother, you don’t just feel protective of your own kids, but all kids. I have a passion for helping other moms know they aren’t alone in this. Whether they are happy and healthy babies or kids with health concerns and special needs, moms everywhere need support and Medela Recycles and RMHC fit very well with my own passion and missions.

Who is your biggest philanthropic influence, or role model, who you feel is actively changing the world for the better?

Amber: I don’t really follow a lot of celebrities’ philanthropic efforts and am most inspired by individuals’ efforts to change the world. One of my favorite feeds on Instagram is a woman who works for HELP International, a nonprofit on a mission to transform communities and provide humanitarian aid. She’s currently in Nepal and I’ve been so inspired as I’ve watched her respond to disasters across the globe and share the stories of others in a personal way. One person can make a huge difference.

Emily: Temple Grandin. She’s an amazing woman and advocate for autism. I had the pleasure of meeting her and chatting for a while when we first got the diagnosis for my son. She helped put my mind at ease and I’ve followed her work ever since.

Working with Medela as a Recycles Ambassador, what sort of legacy do you want to leave behind?

Amber: I hope to inspire women to be educated about breastfeeding, pumping and recycling. Breastfeeding is a tender time for many moms – and it’s truly the end of an era when it ends. I hope that moms are inspired to pay it forward by giving back to moms and babies in need.

Emily: I’d love for parents to know that no matter how they choose to parent their children, what choices they make in their care, and lifestyle they live, it is their choice and to not let others make them feel badly for their decisions. As long as the kids are happy and healthy, well taken care of, and most importantly, loved, then we can all feel great about the future of our children and what legacy they themselves can create.


Amber is a Canadian-born mom of two, former Denver Post columnist, family travel writer, editor of Colorado’s popular social media community for moms, and 9News contributor. She is an expert on all things Denver, family and travel and is happily married to a man obsessed with growing The Great Pumpkin.

Emily is a mom to three very active boys. Her youngest is autistic so she is passionate about advocating for children and families with special needs. She is the owner and editor of, a site dedicated to helping parents feel normal in the crazy world of raising kids. Her work has been featured in many major news publications, both online and in print, as well as appearances on the local news discussing special needs toys for children on the spectrum.


Each pump recycled through the Medela Recycles program supports the donation of new hospital-grade breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies to Ronald McDonald House Charities. The goal is to provide moms with the same high-quality equipment they use at the hospital during their stay at a Ronald McDonald House. Learn how you can get involved and join the Medela Recycles movement.

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