At the tender age of 7, my life took an unexpected turn. I was diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis, a chronic illness that would shape the course of my existence. Little did I know that this diagnosis was just the beginning of a challenging yet transformative journey, as at the age of 12, I was also diagnosed with Juvenile Epilepsy. As a child, facing the reality of chronic illness forced me to “grow up” faster than my peers. The weight of uncertainty pressed upon me daily. I lived in constant fear, always anticipating when the next seizure would strike or where the nearest bathroom might be. This anxiety and depression silently crept into my life, making each day a struggle. Throughout my school years, I was an easy target for bullies. I struggled academically and, eventually, had to drop out. It seemed like life had dealt me an unfair hand, and I experienced some of the darkest moments of my life. From going cardiac due to seizures to witnessing my intestine prolapse from my body, I felt like I was enduring a never-ending nightmare. Despite all my setbacks, I refused to let my conditions define me. I decided that I would not merely survive but thrive. Today, at 25, I stand proud and resilient. I’ve gone 28 months without a grand-mal seizure. I’ve achieved a high school equivalent education and become an entrepreneur, constantly learning and growing in new trades. Most importantly, I’ve embraced parenthood with open arms, using my experiences to guide myself. My story is proof that even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges, we can rise above, grow stronger, and create a meaningful life. I hope that my journey serves as a beacon of hope for others facing chronic illnesses, reminding them that they too can find the strength within to overcome and thrive.