Ottawa Area Student Wins Osler Epilepsy Scholarship

August 25, 2017
Sarah and her family
Sarah surrounded by her family as she accepts the Osler Epilepsy Scholarship.

Sarah tries not to think about the fact that she has epilepsy, despite the constant reminder of her Medic Alert bracelet that she wears around her wrist.

There are other reminders as well, such as the side effects of medication and the learning and memory difficulties that sometimes come with epilepsy. But Sarah has not let this stop her, and as a result of her drive and determination, she is a recipient of the 2017 Osler Epilepsy Scholarship

“I have not let my struggles of having a neurological disease get in the way of having a full life,” said Sarah.

Sarah is graduating as an honours student from Rideau High School and will continue her education at Algonquin College in the Developmental Services Worker program this fall.

Sarah is taking this program so that she can learn how to help others with special needs.

Sarah had her first seizure when she was thirteen months old, so she has experienced her whole life with epilepsy.

One of the ways that people with epilepsy can cope with and mitigate the effects of the disease is through physical activity. For Sarah, this comes in the form of dance and swimming.

“I have taken dance lessons since I was two years old and plan on continuing while I am in college,” said Sarah.

“When I dance, I am taken away from all of my problems and feel free.”

For the last few years, Sarah was a member of a synchronized swimming team and has never let the fear of having a seizure in the water get in her way.

Sarah with Cassidy Megan at Epilepsy Ottawa’s 2014 Purple Day celebration.

Sarah’s scholarship winning essay focused on Cassidy Megan, the founder of Purple Day, whom Sarah was actually able to meet at Epilepsy Ottawa’s 2014 Purple Day celebration.

“We got to chat and skate together on the Rink of Dreams – a very appropriate place, since she had a dream at a young age and fulfilled it,” said Sarah.

“Cassidy is an inspiration to me. She is exactly the same age as me, and has done so much to bring awareness to people around the world about epilepsy.”

Cassidy inspired Sarah to face her epilepsy head on and to help others with whatever challenges they may be facing.

Epilepsy Ottawa would like to congratulate Sarah on her scholarship and wishes her the best in her studies.