Friday, January 1, 2016


It was actually February 17th, 2010 that I started as an Ambassador for The Anita Kaufmann Foundation. That time seems so long ago and also I remember it like it's yesterday. At the time, a wonderful woman named Michelle wrote to me, "You are full of so many ideas and we are so eager to help!" No truer words have ever been spoken (written).

When I started, my reasons were very personal. My then 3-year-old son was starting to ask very normal, but very intuitive questions about my Epilepsy. "Why do you take medicine so much? Will you ever have a seizure again? What do I do? Why do people not talk about Epilepsy?" The last one hurt. I realized it was kind of true. We talked about it a lot. I'm a talker. A sharer. But, it wasn't something as in the open as other conditions. And, I realized that I refused to bring my son up in a world that was ignorant to a condition his own mother had.

Being a teacher, my best and favorite platform for education was a classroom - a classroom with younger kids. The Anita Kaufmann Foundation helped me with this. They provided me materials - I added my own personal story which the students really grasped on to - a story of trial by fire and perseverance and my "lecture circuit" started. That first year I was in two schools. Last year, I spoke to roughly 1,000 students.
One of the earlier Purple Days circa 2011

Never one to be settled with initial success, my Mom kept coming up with more and more! She was actually the innovator of the "Purple Party". Held every year to raise awareness and celebrate the conclusion of the month of March (I essentially collapse afterwards) The "Amp Up Awareness" event brings together a large crowd of supporters to fundraise for AKFUS continued education and features my brother's band to really entertain the crowd. It's truly a highlight of the year.
Ready to "Amp Up Awareness"

Last year, The Foundation started one of my favorite events, the Purple Day Walk for Epilepsy and Brain Games
I laughed, I cried, I relished being around so many other Ambassadors and supporters who shared my story. I also LOVED meeting the fantastic women who are there to support my "new growing ideas" every day - Debbie and Ann Marie! When the announcement of this walk was made and the new purple shoelaces for 2015 were showcased - I knew I had to get in on the action...and Step Up for Epilepsy Awareness was born.
Walking the Purple Carpet at "The Walk"

And yesterday at 1:35pm I finished. 2,015 miles in 2015 all in the name of Epilepsy Awareness. I want to take a second to say thank you so much to all of my supporters. Thank you to the new friends from all over the globe who have been making their own strides and have shared their journeys. And, thank you to my family and walking partners for helping me cross that finish line. The steps were amazing and haaard. :) But, the connections made over this journey were the real reward.

The FINAL steps to miles 2,015

Want to walk with me? I will be at the Purple Day Walk for Epilepsy this year!
Join me! Share your the moment. Raise the awareness. Together we are unstoppable.

Happy 2016 - this is our year. :)

No comments: