Kiara’s Story

2021 Educational Enrichment Fund Scholar - McMaster University

One night in April 2018 of grade 9 I came home late from musical rehearsal and experienced my first grand mal seizure. Two months later, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. I was angry and confused at the world as to why this was happening to me, eventually, I suppressed those feelings and moved on with my life. I began to experience grand mal seizures every few months but never let myself accept the emotions that came with being diagnosed with epilepsy. I mocked and joked at my condition because that was my way of coping. It was not until November of 2020, that one of my teachers proposed that I join a youth support group for those with epilepsy. I argued with my mom and laughed at the idea. She made me a deal and said if I did one session she would buy me something from my Amazon wishlist (a deal I couldn’t refuse). I joined my first session, then my second, third, fourth, and I continued to go back after the deal was long over. I listened to the people in my support group, and I began to identify with them, becoming enraged and hurt by the struggles that they faced. I realized how my diagnosis has changed me without even knowing it, making me more aware of how the disabled community struggles in silence.

I’m also very passionate about social justice issues, especially as a woman of color, advocating for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves. This year I decided to raise awareness about epilepsy. On March 26th, 2021 I led Purple Day at my school, an event that has never been held there before. There was a sea of purple within the school, teachers, and students showing support and bringing awareness about this disorder. A presentation was held and I was able to speak about my story. I realized how strong this experience has made me.

Although it is extremely difficult to live with epilepsy, it has given me the ability to identify with a community that feels unheard and marginalized. I want to further my knowledge and education, and continue to advocate for those living with epilepsy (myself included). This is why I feel I am a perfect candidate for this scholarship. This scholarship will give me the assistance and opportunity to receive an undergraduate degree in Humanities for the Justice Political Philosophy and Law program, a degree that relates to societal and political change. My vision is to contribute to positive reforms for those affected with epilepsy and other disabilities. After completing my undergraduate degree, I plan on applying and attending graduate school to become a lawyer to further my education and influence. Not only for those living with epilepsy but for the doctors and researchers as well. Although my diagnosis may seem unfortunate, it has given me a unique outlook on the world and has grown my perseverance, making me the woman I am today and always.


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