Aubrey’s Story

2021 Educational Enrichment Fund Scholar - Saginaw Valley State University

On April 30, 2013, my world came to a screeching halt, as I had my first tonic-clonic seizure. Before this, I was a carefree little girl, training 24 hours a week as a competitive gymnast. Nothing was in my way of pursuing my dream of becoming a collegiate gymnast. After April 30, my parents have recounted the story of my unexpected seizures, some lasting up to thirty minutes. My lips and feet turned blue, my body seized as they helplessly watched over me. Overcoming my self-imposed stigmas of epilepsy, while advocating for others with epilepsy, was something I never thought that I would feel so strongly about. Embracing my diagnosis of epilepsy was something that I struggled to cope with during the first years of my diagnosis. I wondered why I had epilepsy. What had I done wrong to be given such a scary diagnosis?

Thankfully, my family and I were able to attend events through the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan to connect and meet more families who had children with epilepsy like me. It was during one of their events that I found my courage and voice to share with the world that I have epilepsy. I am not only interested in advocating for my own disability, but I am also passionate about being an advocate for others. I started sharing my story about how epilepsy affects my life. I was then given the opportunity through the Epilepsy Foundation to represent Michigan in Washington, D.C. during two trips to speak to Legislators. After this amazing, life-changing opportunity, I now help others who have epilepsy. I have become a mentor to younger teens and children by volunteering at North Star Reach camp events and the Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan Annual Conference. I was recently selected to be an Epilepsy Advocacy Champion for the Epilepsy Foundation of America, and I am in the process of meeting with Michigan Legislators to try to get a bill passed for Michigan to have seizure-safe schools. This bill would ensure that all school employees would be required to have training in what to do in the event of a seizure. So far, we have a strong show of support from some key State Representatives, so I am hopeful that we can get this bill passed. I am so excited to be a part of this advantageous bill for students with epilepsy.

Currently, I am attending Saginaw Valley State University. I have just been accepted into the College of Education-Teacher Education program. I will begin my studies for teaching Elementary Education, and I have selected the grade band of Pre-K through third grade. I am also studying to become a special education teacher, with a focus on students with learning disabilities. I frequently share information about epilepsy and seizures with family, friends, and even strangers. Between my advocacy efforts and my goal to end the stigmas related to epilepsy, I am hopeful you will consider me for this scholarship.


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