August 14, 2012
My story starts when I was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy at the age of eight. Luckily for me my condition was so minor that even my closest friends were not aware that I had epilepsy; epilepsy in a way became my dark secret in life. I led a very normal active life. I began my college career with the intention of becoming a lawyer, but subsequently determined that my passion at that time lied in a career in law enforcement. I applied for a very competitive scholarship with the Tampa Police Department. After a year-long background screening process that involved numerous psychological, fitness, and academic testing I eagerly accepted TPD’s scholarship offer. I had graduated from the police academy third in my class academically. A week after getting sworn in, I received a phone call from the doctor informing me that he would not be able to approve me medically fit to receive the pension. Consequently I lost my job. My worst nightmare had come true in the worst possible way. The doctor said that my condition was a “disability” and the department said that they would not be able to make any accommodations for me. I had never been called disabled before or treated in such a way, and now I was losing my job over my so called “disability”. Looking back I now realize that this was a turning point in my life. Before, I never considered myself an epileptic, but I was now forced to realize that I was. I was angry and realized that I shouldn’t be ashamed to have epilepsy and that I needed to fight back not just for myself, but for others with epilepsy that either had or will eventually be discriminated against as I was. This experience had given me a new perspective on life and illuminated a new career path in law. This was when I became involved with the Epilepsy Services Foundation. For six years now I have volunteered and have committed myself to this Foundation, but this foundation has helped me more emotionally, psychologically, and philosophically than I can ever return. I will be graduating from Stetson University Of Law in December and will continue to volunteer, support, and promote those that have epilepsy. I'm a living example; I'm epileptic and yes I can!
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