Amara Strande grew up in Oakdale, Minnesota, with dreams of becoming a professional musician.
In 2017 at 15, she was diagnosed with an incredibly rare form of liver cancer and underwent over two dozen surgeries to keep the cancer at bay.
By 2022, there were no more treatment options.
Cancer rates were higher in Oakdale than the surrounding areas, particularly amongst children. Water testing in 2005 and 2006 showed extremely high levels of PFOS and PFOA, two types of PFAS chemicals.
Amara chose to spend many of her final days advocating in support of PFAS prevention legislation in Minnesota, testifying in front of multiple committees and fighting for a better and healthier future that she knew she would not be alive to see. Her strength, bravery, and tenacity inspired us all.
Amara died on April 14th, just three days before the first floor vote on PFAS prevention legislation and two days before what would have been her 21st birthday.
Clean Water Action sends our thoughts and prayers to Amara's father Michael Strande, her mother Reverend Dana Strande, her sister Nora Strande, and to all of her family and friends.
Today we grieve.
We grieve for Amara and send our love to the entire Strande family.
Amara fought her cancer bravely and while we at Clean Water Action Minnesota only knew her for a few months, we grew to love and adore her quickly and intensely. Her smile was contagious and her quick wit often left me giggling. She left even the most seasoned lawmakers captivated by her words as she explained the need to pass the PFAS Prevention Package.
She shared her personal story openly and with a raw truth that exposed the dangers PFAS pose. I told her more than once that she left me in awe. She’d smile and shrug - because she knew she was amazing and didn’t shy away from the truth of it.
Amara and her family HAVE changed the world. They were vulnerable and honest and that will impact change for years to come. We will keep fighting this fight. And we won’t stop until no other family loses their loved one to a preventable illness.
Not one more life taken too soon.
Amara, we got this. Thank you for being you.
We must come together to demand change and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. I urge all of you to take a stand against these toxic chemicals and demand change. Together we can make a difference and protect ourselves and future generations from the devastating effects of PFAS.