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Madelyn’s Story

2020 Educational Enrichment Fund Scholar

 “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.”

On July 30, 2017, I woke up early to go see the sunrise with my friends at the beach, but my sunrise was black and I became a member of a club I never asked to be in. That’s the day I began my fight with epilepsy and my new normal began.

I was a straight-A student and life was pretty easy before July 30 but then my brain had other plans. All told, I suffered 15+ tonic-clonic  seizures and epilepsy stole my sophomore year of high school. I had to re-learn with my “new brain” and accept that the brain I once had was now gone. It was like a death. I went through a dark period of feeling like my life and my future were gone. Always lurking in the back of my mind was the fear of my next seizure, never knowing when one would strike. Both anxiety and depression were very present.

It was during one of those hard moments that I looked across my room and saw the Proverb 31:25 my mom had framed for me: She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future.  It was a Christmas gift she had given me 6 months before epilepsy came into my life.  Looking back, those words would become more than a wall decoration – they would become my mantra.  It was at that moment that I decided I would not allow epilepsy to run my life.

I spent many months in tutoring to regain what I had lost. I then became an advocate not only for myself but also in teaching others about epilepsy, SUDEP, and seizure first aid. If I was going to be truly “free” in my new normal, I needed a village to support me, love me and protect me. Educating others, for me, was taking my life back. I have not let epilepsy stop me and, as a matter of fact, it has made me stronger as an individual. Epilepsy has made me realize I am leader, I have a voice, I can handle anything that comes my way, and I should always look for the blessings.

I am pursuing a Rehabilitative Health Sciences B.S. with a Neurology/Neuroplasticity focus. There is no cure for my epilepsy, but it would make me ecstatic to help rehabilitate others and give them hope of living in their new normal. Receiving this scholarship will help me obtain my undergrad and get me one step closer to my goal of Doctorate. It will allow me to pay forward a blessing to others like I have received from the epilepsy community.  I am anxious to see what the future holds and am now laughing without fear of it.

Epilepsy came to fight that day, I came prepared for battle. Seize the day! 

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