Mariah was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was seven years old, so she has never really known life without epilepsy. She describes her epilepsy as a wild ride, with finally getting her seizures under control when she was twelve years old, only to a relapse when she was fifteen. But she is now two years seizure free!
A big concern for her parents and doctors when she was first diagnosed was her future ability to succeed in school, due to not being able to dial the medications in and the type of epilepsy. She and her family did not want that to happen, so she worked very hard all throughout her schooling to not only succeed in academically, but also to be successful without the help of an IEP or 504 plan. There were times when this was very hard, and there were a lot of tears and frustration that went into learning the material, but it made each victory that much sweeter.
Because of Mariah’s time in and out of the hospital throughout her life, she plans to be a pediatric nurse, specializing in Childhood Epilepsy. She volunteers at the children’s hospital, and while she loves each and every kid she helps, Mariah has a soft spot for kids treated for epilepsy and kids who are there for EEGs. She wants to help the kids undergoing what she did because she would be able to relate to them on a much deeper level. But, Mariah also wants to continue her journey as an advocate.
She currently works on “Advocacy Projects:” she is getting ready to launch one in March, where she will speak to five different elementary, middle, and high schools about my journey, awareness, and seizure safety. Her future plans include: creating YouTube videos about Epilepsy Awareness and writing and publishing a children’s book about childhood epilepsy. This scholarship will help Mariah’s career as an epilepsy nurse, as well as help her as an advocate!