“I have always lived what you might call a very typical and normal lifestyle. I come from a strong, supportive family and I value my friends and relatives immensely. However, at age fourteen, my happy go lucky lifestyle began to change. I had my first seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was forced to undergo numerous medical treatments and experiment with medications and dosages that would eventually control my seizures. Luckily my seizures only happened at night while in my sleep, but at times I would go to school the next day after having a seizure, with a pounding headache, a bit light headed and disoriented. It was a sad, tumultuous time in my life but it has shaped the person that I am today.
My epilepsy has impacted my life now more than ever. It has taught me to be perseverant and never let anything get in my way. I have learned to be resilient and let things roll off my shoulders. I am able to hold down two jobs while attending school, maintaining nearly straight A’s and attending to numerous extra-curricular activities. Most of all, I am living life to its fullest. I have challenged myself to go for things that I normally might not have attempted. I’m going big with all my strength and might.
I currently hold the title of Miss Jacksonville Teen USA. As part of my platform, I am fortunate enough to be able to give back to my community by administering my time to Wolfson Children’s Hospital in the epilepsy unit. It makes me happy to put a smile on the faces of children who are silently suffering, and who are assigned to the same unit in the same hospital that I was once admitted to. I am also an ambassador for the National Epilepsy Foundation and was recently the recipient of the Warrior Award.
Today, having overcome the struggles associated with my medical condition I am happier and more active than anyone would ever imagine. In fact, people often tell me that I am true to my name; Joy, and I am well known by my peers for my happy dance. I have set my goals high and have worked diligently to get accepted into my dream college; Florida State University where I will obtain my degree and continue my education towards becoming a Neurologist.
My passion includes giving back to my community by volunteering and I am involved in an array of extra-curricular activities including The National Honor Society, Senior Women, the Spanish club, class officer and a four year varsity cheer letterman. I plan to continue my philanthropic endeavors as a student attending FSU in the Tallahassee community.
I hope to one day reach my dream of graduating from college with a degree in neurology so that I can continue to administer to patients with epilepsy.”