Amanda DeRosa, a junior at the Performing Arts Academy in Lakehurst, NJ, will join The Family Resource Network as our first Student Ambassador for the Walk for a Brighter Tomorrow on Saturday, May 3rd. Amanda has been living with epilepsy for over 10 years and is passionate about educating others and bringing awareness to this disorder that affects over 2 million Americans.
Amanda sees having epilepsy as a gift because it has shown her a true purpose in life. “Having epilepsy has helped me grow up faster, achieve so much and make me realize you cannot take life for granted. Epilepsy has given me the courage to not be afraid to be who I am, push myself to the best of my ability, and never let anything stand in my way,” Amanda explained.
In a letter to The Family Resource Network, Amanda wrote the following:
I have had Epilepsy since I was seven years old. I have had a total of fifteen seizures. Six of those seizures occurred in the past year. When I was first diagnosed it was a lot to take in. However, since then it has helped me grow up and become a stronger individual. Epilepsy helped me go into the direction of performing and being confident in who I am and what I do. Each seizure I have had had pushed me to get more involved in supporting this cause.
Epilepsy is a disorder many people do not know about. People need to be educated on this disorder. I believe I am supposed to be that person who educates people. I always thought of epilepsy as a gift instead of a disability. People felt bad for me because I have to deal with it, and even though it may get tough at times, I consider myself extremely lucky. I felt this luck when I went to my first National Walk for Epilepsy. When I went to the walk, I saw a lot of people with not only Epilepsy, but other issues or disabilities on top of that.
Some people have seizures every day and do not get to live a normal life or others who cannot function properly because of it. I feel that I am supposed to be the voice for everyone dealing with epilepsy. I not only want to educate people on this disorder, but I also want to help others get the support they need and give them the feeling of accomplishment, including myself, that all the disorder and pain they go through is not for nothing. I want to make a difference for everyone dealing with Epilepsy. I always believed people are given something to do in their life and making a difference for people with epilepsy, educating people, and pushing through every obstacle that is thrown my way while being involved is mine. Epilepsy is a gift that I never take for granted. It has made me who I am today and I cannot be more grateful.
Amanda will be attending the walk with her team of volunteers and supporters. She has previously been involved with the Epilepsy Foundation of NJ (EFNJ) and has helped to promote past events. We are confident that this is only the beginning of our journey with Amanda to help her share her voice and determination!
The 10th Annual Walk for a Brighter Tomorrow will take place on Saturday, May 3rd on the Seaside Park boardwalk. You can join or donate to Amanda’s team or register your own team at www.walkforabrightertomorrow.org. The event will raise funds for The Family Resource Network and its affiliates to continue providing low-cost quality services to New Jersey families living with developmental disabilities and chronic illness. The Family Resource Network affiliates include: Autism Family Services of NJ, Caregivers of NJ, Epilepsy Foundation of NJ and Family Support Center of NJ.