Meet Ashley - survivor, champion, Y member and guest blogger

17 October 2014

Imagine waking up every day unsure of the day before. When asked simple questions about yourself, you’re unable to answer. You’re unable to recognize faces of people you see almost every day. Short and long-term memories flash on and off. Your life includes constant medical testing, relying on others, and hindrances that leave you feeling empty and alone. 

I was a healthy 17-year-old when epilepsy became a part of my life. I was the victim of a hit-and-run car accident just before my high school graduation. One month later, I collapsed into my mother’s arms with my first seizure.

I tried college, but my epilepsy was so new to me that I came home lonely and frustrated. I was used to making friends at school and work, but suddenly I was unable to do either. I even underwent brain surgery, but still felt alone.

I needed something to lift my spirits. And that’s exactly what the YMCA did for me. They’re passionate about everything they do, never making me feel like the “runt” of the group in all of the different group exercise classes I took. The Y is a family environment, where the instructors and members alike remember your name and look out for each other. I became a lot more comfortable with my condition and managing it. I became a lot stronger.

Now I want to spread awareness to all about epilepsy. Did you know that one in 26 people will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime? It’s incredibly misunderstood. Children with epilepsy are often bullied at school. Adults isolate themselves for fear of having a seizure in public.

Please help me spread awareness about epilepsy. Join me for the Virginia Beach Epilepsy Awareness Stroll at Mount Trashmore, Shelter One, on November 2nd from 2-4pm. You'll learn about epilepsy and how to support those living with its challenges. There will also be raffles and prizes from local merchants. You can register for the stroll upon arrival and all donations go to provide services to Virginians living with epilepsy.

November is Epilepsy Awareness month. For more information, visit the Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia website here, or look around on our Facebook page, Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia Hampton Roads. With your help and support, not another moment will be lost to seizures.