Maddy doing what she loves - competitive cheerleading!

Fundraising and raising awareness!

For me my diagnosis came out of the blue just before my 16th birthday. I became a member of a club I never asked to be in. Early on, because my brain would totally shut down, I didn’t even know that I was having seizures. I couldn’t understand why my short term memory ceased to exist. I went from a straight A student with my best subject being math to writing letters and numbers backwards and not able to process simple equations. I had to re-learn with my “new brain” and accept that the brain that I once had, was now gone. It was kind of like a death, honestly. I went through a dark period of feeling my life, my future, was gone. I was constantly fearful of my next seizure always lurking in the back of mind and never knowing when one would strike. Anxiety and depression were very present during that time. It was during those hard moments that I looked across my room and saw the Psalm my mom had framed for me “She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future”. It was a Christmas gift she gave me 6 months before Epilepsy came into my life. Looking back, those words would become more than a wall decoration, they would become my mantra. It was at that moment that I decided I would not allow Epilepsy to run my life. I quickly became an advocate not only for myself but also in teaching others about Epilepsy and seizure first aid. If I was going to be truly “free” in my new normal I needed a village to support me, love me and protect me. Educating others for me was taking my life back.

Let’s just say I “may” have a “slight” addiction to Chick-Fil-A. Waffle fries... need I say more. I have been a competitive cheerleader since the age of 5 and have turned that passion into my first job as a competitive cheer coach at a local cheer gym. I have a very laid back personality and try not to worry about a problem until I have one. Laughter is my drug of choice and a day without it is simply a wasted day.

I have hopes of becoming a Physical Therapist with a Neurology focus. I’d love to be able to help other people who may have neurological issues like mine. Knowing there is no cure for my diagnosis it would make me so happy that I could actually rehabilitate someone else. I have an amazing support group of family and close friends; they are my lifeline and I am so very thankful for them. I am anxious to see what the future holds and am laughing without fear of it. Seize the day!!

Follow this link to see a news segment about Maddy and her journey!

Maddy Samuel

Ft. Mill, SC