When I was diagnosed with epilepsy, I was devastated. But this, I kept private. I played it off like I was brave and strong and always changed the subject whenever it came up. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was scared and worried about my future. Why me? I have so many things going in my favor, so why me? Over the last two years of living with epilepsy, I think I’ve accepted it and come to find some meaning behind it. One of my biggest fears was that I would not be able to continue to do the one thing I love, play soccer and play in college.
After meeting with the hospital psychologist at two of my follow up appointments, I became more at peace with my diagnosis. I came to realize that I am pretty lucky having only a handful of seizures when some kids have hundreds of seizures a day. This is where the “why me” answer hit home. If I can be a role model for other children dealing with epilepsy and show them they can still go after their dreams, then that is what I wanted to do.
I never had to stop playing soccer. This year was my senior year of high school soccer, and I was picked to be captain of my team. We were the district champions for the first time in school history. I was awarded District All Tournament Team, All Region First Team, All Kentucky Honorable Mention, St. Elizabeth Game of the Month MVP, and Offensive Player of the Year. Had I let my epilepsy diagnosis hold me back, none of these awards would have been possible.
I knew I wanted to play soccer in college, but what I actually wanted to study was a mystery! In working with the hospital psychologist, taking a psychology class, and genuinely wanting to help others, I started to think that I might want to study Psychology and become a therapist. In school, I was nominated by a teacher to be in the Sources of Strength club. This is a club of students that go through training and are advocates to their peers in trying to prevent suicide, substance abuse, and other teen topics that kids struggle with day to day.
I hope to use a psychology degree to help others dealing with not only epilepsy, but any medical condition that may restrict them from activities. I believe I should be selected for this scholarship because I have overcome the diagnosis and stopped being afraid of what lies ahead and set some goals for myself that I have achieved. If one kid says, “hey, if he did it, why can’t I”, then I have been successful. This scholarship would definitely help me financially in reaching this amazing dream that I once thought epilepsy had taken from me.